by Jeremy Danté

first-monday-in-may-lgthe collision of art and commerce, the debate of high art versus high fashion. the study and skill of combining aspects of culture in a high/low sensibility to break barriers has been mastered by anna wintour throughout her legendary tenure at vogue. the first monday in may focuses on the metropolitan museum’s annual costume gala, and explores the ideas and origins of the museum’s past affairs and how it has evolved. more specifically, the film zeroes in on the most recent gala, themed “china: through the looking glass”. director, andrew rossi carefully etched the perfect balance of ideas, planning and process; to give us a true look at what goes into the met gala from cradle to grave. throughout the documentary, the usual vogue crew is in attendance. leader of the pack anna wintour, again, takes center stage. appropriately so, baring in mind the ‘anna wintour costume center‘ was christened with her name in 2014 by michelle obama. the presence of wintour is one that many vogue fans and fashion spectators have come to accept, with any regard to american fashion. much like, the september issue, the real star of the documentary goes to andrew bolton, who is the curator responsible for the alexander mcqueen: savage beauty (2011) exhibition. the film takes you through the history of the met, from it’s high art reference point, and circles down to present day; intricately and delicately de-compartmentalizing the power behind wintour. highlighted is her understanding of power, and influence- thus, celebrity. perhaps the museum’s most prominent and influential figure since diana vreeland; wintour boasts strength in number and is largely to credit for re-branding the met and ushering in a new era for the house of countless art pieces and artifacts in the multi-million dollar range. addressed are the varying issues surrounding awareness and sensitivity of culture, the importance of balance and the existing tensions between high art and high fashion. speaking to the theme of tradition, shown is the chinese art board of directors arguing for modernization; as bolton, wintour and costume institute head, harold koda find themselves having to defend their intent to highlight the historical past and inspiration of china in forms of fashion, and costume. not a documentary you want to miss, if you are a fan of both art or fashion. while many fashion documentaries exist on the scene and in the archives; none are quite as special as this. regarded for it’s use of range, and true recognition of culture through evolution, the documentary was exceptionally well done. from rihanna to galliano this has range and is a must see.

the first monday is may’ is now playing in select cinemas
visit the documentary official website for showtimes