The First Monday in May | Movie Review
Another week, another brilliant fashion and design movie. THE FIRST MONDAY IN MAY is a fashionista’s porno, it is a superbly made documentary that looks at the pinnacle of fashion events, the night of nights for the who of who’s – THE MET GALA. It means little to me besides drooling over gorgeous people, but for our fashionista and lover all things design and fashion, Kernel Dara, it “is my Super Bowl, Grand Final or my Grand Prix.” Now you can see why I asked her to review this one :). THE FIRST MONDAY IN MAY is out now at most art-house cinemas in Australia from the fab folks at Madman Films, it is rated M and runs for 90 glamorous minutes.
BY DARA SHASHOUA
Let me preface this review of THE FIRST MONDAY IN MAY with – I love fashion. I love wearing it, looking at it and looking at how other people interpret it.
And The Met Gala is my Super Bowl, Grand Final or my Grand Prix.
When I first found that they were making THE FIRST MONDAY IN MAY, a documentary about the Gala I may or may not have jumped up and down in glee. Inside the Met Gala? Can’t be true. But it is.
And, my dear friends it was glorious.
What a feast for the eyes! THE FIRST MONDAY IN MAY is not just about the party, it’s also about the exhibition that went along with it. It was also about the two quiet stars of the documentary – Andrew Bolton – an absolute visionary and curator of the Costume Institute, and Anna Wintour – one of my idols who certainly needs no introduction.
The theme for the 2015 Gala was “China: Through the Looking Glass,” the exhibition was the largest undertaken by the Costume Institute and it was over two floors at the Met as it was intermingled throughout the established Chinese art works as well. The access gained by filmmaker Andrew Rossi beautifully captures the most important fashion event and party of the year, which is chaired by Anna Wintour. It also feeds the fascination between high fashion and celebrity as each designer dresses a number of their muses. I think that is also shows the audience exactly how much work, and in this case, political discussion and preparation goes into the exhibition.
For me, the favourite part of the film was the interviews with Andrew Bolton and Anna Wintour. Anna is so notoriously guarded around the press but in this film we see inside her home, her working process and, as a business owner, I admire the hell out of her. Through this documentary I have also found a new person to admire – Andrew Bolton. He is sublime, he lives and breathes the Costume Institute. Incidentally, the exhibition has become the highest attendance recorded of any of the Costume Institute Exhibition ever. Andrew is the Grace Coddington of THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE, the quiet achiever behind Miss Wintour but also the creative genius behind it all. Even up to the minutes before the exhibition opens he is still placing small parts of fabric until it is just perfect.
There were so many interviews – it was very interesting to see John Galliano back in front of the camera after his disgrace a number of years ago (drunken outburst that led to his dismissal from Christian Dior). The couture that was selected from his archives were simply phenomenal, such a shame about his fall from grace. Perhaps this may be a new turning point for him, he is insanely talented. Other interviewees included Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Baz Luhrmann and Chinese filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai. Andrew Bolton also took us into the YSL archives, I thought that I may have died and went to heaven watching it.
A doco about The Met Gala would not be complete without the red carpet arrivals, and it did not disappoint. We saw the incredible arrivals of SJP, Kate Hudson with Michael Kors, Anne Hathaway and the lady of the night, Rihanna – she looked like a princess in her Guo Pei creation.
The documentary does bring to light an important question – should fashion be viewed as art?
My response – Damn Straight it should be. The outfits included in the exhibition took my breath away, and the ateliers who make these designs are creative geniuses, they translate the designer’s vision into (mostly) wearable art.
If you love fashion or celebrity then see this film, it’s sublime. I will leave you with this quote by Coco Chanel;
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.
Fashion is in the sky, in the street.
Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”