At last year’s Met Ball, “Moulin Rouge” director Baz Luhrmann took on the duties of directing the performance by redheaded siren Florence Welch and her band, the Machine.
“The thing that I thought was amazing, though, about that Met Ball performance,” Luhrmann told Welch afterward, during a conversation for Interview magazine, “was that it was a situation that could have been very intimidating, but you made us all forget our fears for a few brief moments and feel free and exultant. Do you recall that moment?”
“No,” Florence responded, “because I think I was so busy fighting through my own fear and conquering the absolute terror I was feeling.”
If there were any engagement to make one of the world’s most prominent new singers quiver, it would be the Met Ball — a.k.a. the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala. It is, perhaps, the marquee event of the New York City social calendar. And as of today, it’s only a week away.
Luhrmann is back again this year, but instead of just directing the evening’s music portion — which will feature the Harlem rapper Azealia Banks — he’s a consultant for the entire event, lending his well-documented imagination to the sets and décor that will grace the Met’s already-lovely facade, and to the Costume Institute’s major exhibition of 2012, which will be celebrated that night.
The exhibition, “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” will showcase the masterworks of two legendary designers from different times. The “impossible” in the title refers to the fact that, due to Schiaparelli’s death in 1973, there will be no sit-down between the two fashion giants.
Nonsense, Luhrmann says. The Australian auteur has decided to create a short film that will depict the two of them talking. Miuccia Prada will play herself, and Elsa Schiaparelli will be played by Judy Davis.
“I suppose that like most non-fashionistas I was aware only that Schiaparelli was a terribly influential designer,” Luhrmann told the Wall Street Journal. “I wondered about that funny shoe hat and had a vague impression of her as the designer who worked with (surrealist Salvador) Dali.”
But Luhrmann consulted with Anna Wintour — “a friend since the Moulin Rouge days” — and the other event chairs, and was able to channel the whimsy and fantasy that defined Schiaparelli. The film will premiere at the Met Ball and will accompany the exhibition, which is on view from May 10 through August 19. If you weren't invited, you can livestream the red carpet arrivals at home.
As for what the exhibition, and the ball, will look like, Luhrmann and his team are keeping mum. But given that one of the co-chairs, Carey Mulligan, stars as Daisy Buchanan in his upcoming adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” perhaps we should expect some West Egg-style theatrics? Hope you know how to Charleston, old sport.