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Only if you appreciate these NYC landmark people and place. Only if you love the crazy world of fashion and celebrity. The documentary really drug on in parts, but it ended well with snippets from the Met Gala event.
- The First Monday in May is an evening to adore -
I'd been waiting for the The First Monday in May since the first Monday in May and holy Rihanna was it worth the wait.
Before you watch this movie, I beg you to watch The September Issue first. Trust me, it adds dimension and depth to the story behind Vogue's iconic leader Anna Wintour who plays one of the central roles in The First Monday in May.
I first began to appreciate fashion as an art form in the movie The Devil Wears Prada, which was based on Wintour's former personal assistant Lauren Weisberger's novel of the same name. Do you remember that scene when Miranda Presley talks about Andy's lumpy blue sweater? "That blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room, from a pile of stuff."
There was such conviction in Presley's voice when she talked about fashion. It's the same conviction many artists have when they speak passionately about their work.
In an intimate and captivating moment, Wintour is asked about Weisberger's novel and subsequent movie. It's stunning to see Wintour catch her breath and smile graciously. She offers that she should thank Weisberger for elevating fashion to a respected global industry and artform.
And with that, The First Monday in May is an elegantly threaded discussion of fashion's place in the art domain. It's about a village of fashion lovers coming together to create the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass for the 2014 Met Gala Ball at MoMa in New York while also being a who's who in the celebrity world.
There are several stars in this documentary including the costume institute curator Andrew Balton, Anna Wintour, Rihanna and Anna Wintour's assistant Sylvana Durrett.
Durrett was fascinating to me. She was pretty, young, intelligent and surprisingly confident when talking to Anna. When fashion disasters struck, she placated the news to the world's scariest boss without too much fear, and I loved that. Durrent is not the focus of the film and yet her presence has really stayed with me. Why? Maybe it was because she was the most relatable person in the film. She's not the "pretty, young" thing. I can't relate to that. Instead she was so incredibly real. She was the antithesis of the intimidating standards of beauty and fame represented by Wintour and Rihanna at the Met Gala.
The Met Gala's exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass is something that dreams are made of. The film meditates on its beauty time and again by hanging on stunning frames of mannequins draped in breathtaking garments. The curator, Andrew Balton, raises the political stakes of fashion as art by placing Chinese-inspired fashion among the relics of The Met's Chinese art collection. There is angst. There are stern words. Curators and critics alike fear for the wrath that could come as Chinese audiences take offense to mixing revered works with mere "costumes".
The First Monday in May is breathtaking. It's something that has to be seen to be believed.
As a woman who appreciates the elegance of exquisite fabrics that hang just so, this film delivers on beauty, style and perfection. As an audience, we laughed and sighed in appreciation together. There was a buzz in the air as the lights lifted. We were inspired. We were enchanted. We felt like satiated flies on the walls of Anna Wintour's very closed door. And we glided away feeling like we had, for a moment, taken part in one of the most glorious nights on the fashion calendar.
This review was first published on Narrative Muse, http://www.narrativemuse.co/movies/the-first-monday-in-may, and was written Jules Raynes. Narrative Muse curates the best books and movies by and about women and non-binary folk on our website http://narrativemuse.co and our social media channels.
Perfectly pleasant docudiary of the 2015 exhibit, but it either needed to be more gossipy or more persuasive to be a good film.
not bad for a fashion docu, it will make you appreciate The Met even more (not that there aren't plenty of reasons already) and most likely put you in the mood for coffee, since 90% of Anna Wintour's shots are (how elsee but) featuring a Starbucks cup.
The number of Starbucks product placements suggests that Anna Wintour sold her soul to the corner coffee shop.
I have produced videos with fashion experts, which is all fine and good, but this movie is unique because it centers on the celebrated event taking place annually at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Rossi dives into the debate about whether fashion should be viewed as art, which I find very intriguing because I know nothing about fashion.
"The First Monday in May" may be beautiful to look at, but it's unfocused and both the creation of the gala and the dialogue about what constitutes as art is lost in a sea of vapid, self-obsessed celebrities. In similar fashion docs, such as "Dior and I" and "Iris," I felt like I was watching the creation of something beautiful. Here, I felt like I was watching something beautiful unravel.
A fascinating expose of MoMA, Vogue and the "importance" of fashion, celebrity, art and culture.
A less than pretty backstory of the annual Met Gala, which raises millions for the Metropolitan Museum and is led by the Met and by Vogue magazine via its New York editor, Anna Wintour. This one was themed around haute couture fashions inspired by western movie images of pre-communist China. There are plenty of derogatory attitudes filmed, including the stunning idea that there is no modern culture in China, and some breathtaking lack of elementary history or politics, let alone diplomacy. There are insults, in front of a live camera, towards key Chinese partners, or as soon as backs are turned. The key phrase on the Gala night is "two cultures" at which, if the shoe were on the other foot and the Chinese had done a similarly limited show, Americans would have taken offence. Elsewhere, the film covers inadequately the controversy around Galliano, who is interviewed. In a sexist pun, Anna Wintour gets dubbed "dragon lady", a caricature of powerful Chinese women, when her management decisions seem reasonable enough. The red carpet could resemble a pseudo-Chinese fancy dress parade. If you are against modern China, or you can simply ignore behaviour that wouldn't be tolerated at your job, in your class, or among your friends, then you might approach this piece as a celeb mag on wheels. You see the Gala exhibition; you see inside the St Laurent vault in Paris where the Mondrian is pulled out, and inside Wintour's home; Gaultier and Lagerfeld are interviewed; top Met officials insist that the eclectic exhibits not turn the Museum into an amusement park, or just wallpaper for the dresses. And there are wall-to-wall celebs throughout. Was the film intended as an exposé? It seems not. You really are supposed to be in awe. But perhaps its value lies in the fact that it didn't fully ken what it was revealing.
surprisingly engaging documentary about the Met's annual red carpet fashion event, this time drawing on western and eastern renditions of Chinese fashion juxtaposed against historic artifacts and custom decor. Nostalgic tingles just to be able to walk through these Met galleries, all dolled up for this season.