By  on May 6, 2012

NEW YORK — That Miuccia Prada is one of the most influential designers is hardly a fashion secret, but the Costume Institute’s “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” which opens its doors to the public on Thursday, brings a new dimension to the notion.

With the designer’s help (and that of film director Baz Luhrmann), the Costume Institute is making the impossible possible: a meeting between the two strong Italian women. Videos of Prada herself and Elsa Schiaparelli, played by Australian actress Judy Davis — sitting at the heads of an ornate black table with a glass of Prosecco each and in lively conversation — are used as a backdrop in the exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. They don’t just bring to life a fictitious version of Schiaparelli, who died in 1973. They also insert Prada (the person) directly into the exhibition’s narrative — quite a feat considering her reticence to discuss fashion, because, as she put it in the opening clip, it’s either “ridiculous or supertechnical.”

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