Curious conversations

Abbott Miller created an exhibition catalogue that captures the unique affinities between two of the most iconic Italian designers of the past century.

From the Series

A new catalogue designed by Abbott Miller aims to capture the work of the two Italian designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada.

An exhibition at The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presents the exhibition Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, which examines the affinities between the two iconic designers that worked in different eras.

Miller’s catalogue presents more than 200 archival and newly photographed images of the two designers’ work. A surprise inside the catalogue is the “book within a book” that features an "impossible conversation" between the two women. The two shared an interest in Surrealism and surprise, and as such the catalogue too takes on the form of an unusual object that presents a playful dialogue of images alongside commentary between the two designers. Incidentally, Schiaparelli and Prada never met.

Miller wanted to reflect the inventiveness of the two designers in the catalogue, as well as their active interest in art. The catalogue functions both as a traditional picture book, with dialogue in between, while on another level the book functions as a “book within a book” with larger images presenting the conversations between the two women, comprising quotes from each on different subjects related to fashion and style.  

The Surrealist theme can also be observed from the outside, with the cover of the book showing a Prada pattern of Surrealist lips and a smaller image that functions as the cover of the “book within a book”.