“Life without labor is guilt; labor without art is brutality.” John Ruskin
Director Andrew Rossi focuses on the annual New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, fashion extravaganza held on the first Monday in May; Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Met curator Andrew Bolton orchestrate this unique fundraiser. We experience the creation of the massively successful 2015, “China: Through the Looking Glass”. The stellar blend of vintage East and the imaginative contemporary vision of fashion virtuosos throughout the globe, is stunningly insightful and fantastically energetic.
Lusciously filmed “The First Monday in May”, questions fashion’s role in the art world; the Met’s venue lends legitimacy to the debate. Politics simmer at the core of the documentary; Bolton treads gingerly with the Chinese principals (China, a totalitarian country) in regards to the positioning of “Mao’s” portrait in the exhibition; iconic film stars Anna May Wong (“Shanghai Express”) and Maggie Cheung (“In the Mood for Love”) are nostalgically, reverently featured.
Anna Wintour, stratospherically “coutured”, has been portrayed as the “dragon lady” of haute couture; her strength lies in an intransigent, disciplined aesthetic; immaculate, prescient taste, astute intelligence and a profound lust for perfection; as editor-and-chief of “Vogue” magazine (since 2013 artistic director of “Conde Nast”) she is the Queen of Fashion Forecasting. Her guileless honesty and mettle pulsate in “The First Monday in May”; in a scene featuring her gorgeous daughter, Bea Shaffer, being fitted for the opening night Gala, Anna watches adoringly, clothed in jeans and a shirt, as Bea stars in her Alexander McQueen cherry blossom gown.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same”. Thomas Merton’s words describe the crux, vision, and giftedness of creative clothiers; Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol redefined the nature of the artistic process; the artistry in “The First Monday in May” partnering with the Met’s archival collection, recognizes that the labor and ingenuity exhibited by many fashion designers allows them into the rarefied sphere of inventive, artistic sovereigns.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!