Chinese Takeaway

The Metropolitan Museum of Art examines the influence of the East on fashion.

Roberto Cavalli’s fall 2005 collection

Ever since the silk routes opened up trade with the Roman Empire, the West has been enchanted with the East. China’s influence on fashion is the subject of “China: Through the Looking Glass,” an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (May 7 through August 16). Art-directed by the filmmaker Wong Kar Wai and organized by both the Met’s Costume Institute and Department of Asian Art, the show juxtaposes Chinese costumes and decorative arts with more than 100 pieces by Western designers. The striking pairings include a blue-and-white silk-satin evening dress from Roberto Cavalli’s fall 2005 collection and a Chinese jar from the early 15th century. The result is a “mythical, fictional, and fantastical” portrait of China, says Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute. “A China melded together with an almost hallucinatory logic.”