The First Monday in May

Documentary film

Documenting one of the most exclusive parties in the world side-by-side with an exhibition that drew more than three-quarters of a million visitors during its four-month run, The First Monday in May is a captivating portrait of the private side of a pair of high-profile public events.

Curator Andrew Bolton and his team's concept for the show includes a glowing “bamboo forest” made of dozens of Plexiglas poles, blue and white porcelains sitting next to formal dresses inspired by age-old patterns, antique vases mingled with pieces by Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and early 20th-century couturier Paul Poiret, and Mao jackets juxtaposed with Warhol portraits.

and his team's concept for the show includes a glowing “bamboo forest” made of dozens of Plexiglas poles, blue and white porcelains sitting next to formal dresses inspired by age-old patterns, antique vases mingled with pieces by Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and early 20th-century couturier Paul Poiret, and Mao jackets juxtaposed with Warhol portraits.

The blockbuster exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions provides inspiration for the 's annual collision of haute couture and celebrity, where Hollywood stars including Kate Hudson, George Clooney, , Jennifer Lawrence, Gong Li, and Lady Gaga rub shoulders with Alicia Keyes, Kim Kardashian, , Justin Bieber, and contemporary pop icon Rihanna, who brings down the house with a stunning live performance.

In his latest film, The First Monday in May, acclaimed documentarian Andrew Rossi captures an unprecedented look behind the scenes of the 2015 Met Gala, and the spectacular exhibition it honors, The Costume Institute's blockbuster exhibition, “: Through the Looking Glass.” Rossi follows exhibition curator Andrew Bolton and Gala co-chair Anna Wintour during the crucial eight months before the show's debut, as they travel from New York to Paris to to build support for their audacious endeavor.

The First Monday in May began production in July of 2014, after Rossi was invited to meet with Vogue's Director of Special Projects Sylvana Ward Durrett, and then with Wintour herself, about directing a film that would document the exhibit and the Gala. “They were fans of one of my earlier films, Page One,” he notes. “I threw my hat in the ring as someone who might want to work on this film. After meeting with Met Director Tom Campbell and Andrew Bolton, they called me back and we started shooting. I filmed a preliminary meeting between Anna Wintour, Andrew Bolton and the exhibition's artistic director, filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai, and it just sort of took off from there.

As Bolton's bold concept for the show begins to take shape, he proposes an unconventional setting that will reconfigure The Met's Asian galleries and use selections from the museum's own Chinese collection to provide context for the show, a suggestion that sets off a politically charged debate with curators of the museum's Department of Asian Art.

“Orientalism,” or the outsider's view of Eastern culture, is also central to Bolton's creation, reinforced by stereotypical depictions of China in American movies of the 1920s '30s and '40s. Throughout the exhibition, spectral projections of clips from classic film including The Last Emperor, Raise the Red Lantern and Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love remind museumgoers that the West's vision of the ancient empire as a fantasy world peopled by “Dragon Ladies” and “Lotus Blossoms” ignores the complexities of a sophisticated and often misunderstood culture.

Rossi follows Bolton to Paris, where he visits the hermetically sealed vaults of the Saint Laurent archives to view the designer's China-inspired 1977 Fall/Winter collection and talks to Maison Margiela's creative director John Galliano about the culture's influence on his work. Traveling on to Beijing, Bolton and Wintour contend with modern China's sensitive self image and assure journalists, politicians, businesspeople and other potential supporters that the exhibition will be more than “just dragons and Ming vases,” as one interviewer says.

Also in Beijing, they visit the atelier of leading Chinese designer Guo Pei, who lends several extraordinary pieces to the show. Guo concentrates on reclaiming and updating the honored traditional crafts of China in her work, describing one garment she creates as “a wedding dress for my country.”

At the museum, the heavy lifting begins weeks before the exhibition debuts, with elaborate garments painstakingly unpacked and inspected, galleries reconfigured. Just prior to the gala, legions of youthful Vogue staffers are deployed to rehearse for the big night. When the first guests enter through a tunnel lined with cinematic references, Rossi follows Michael Kors and his muse for the evening, Kate Hudson, through the experience.

We wanted to give viewers the opportunity to see the show through the eyes of the attendees at the Gala,” he says. “Condé Nast was crucial in terms of being able to get access to the gala itself and coordinating filming with Michael and Kate, who were sort of our guides through the exhibition.

Share this article: The First Monday in May

Facebook
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Twitter
Email

MORE TOPICS

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror is a comedy fantasy film based on ‘’Snow White’’ by the Brothers Grimm. It is directed by Tarsem Singh and stars Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, and Sean Bean.The film, which had previously been known as Untitled Snow White Project, was officially titled Mirror Mirror on November 4, 2011

Fast Five

Fast Five (Known as Fast & Furious 5 and Fast & Furious 5: Rio Heist outside the US) is the street racing action film directed by Justin Lin. It is the fifth film in The Fast and the Furious film series and the fourth installment in terms of chronology preceding The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

In the Heart of the Sea

With acclaimed director Ron Howard at the helm, the legend of the Essex, her courageous crew, and that mythic white whale comes to the big screen for the first time in the epic adventure “In the Heart of the Sea.”

Taye Diggs narrated the ESPN Films documentary The Fab Five about University of Michigan basketball players Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson.

Taye Diggs

Scott Leo “Taye” Diggs (born January 2, 1971) is an American theatre, film and television actor. His nickname, Taye, comes from the playful pronunciation of Scotty as “Scottay”. Taye Diggs was born in Newark, New Jersey but grew up in Rochester, New York

Locke

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Knight and driven by an unforgettable performance by Tom Hardy, Locke is a thrillingly unique cinematic experience of a man fighting to salvage all that is important to him.