At the top of her game in the 1930s, the late Elsa Schiaparelli famously collaborated with artists including Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dalí (you may know her “shoe hat”) until the war disrupted her business and left her floundering, forcing her to close her salon in 1954. Now the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute presents the new fashion exhibition Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, which brings the surrealist-inspired designer back from the grave to talk shop with the modern-day visionary Miuccia Prada. In videos created by Baz Luhrmann, the women have fictional discussions and find plenty of common ground: Besides their Italian heritage and feminism, they both shunned traditional notions of beauty to become style icons. Seven themed galleries (with titles such as “Hard Chic” and “Ugly Chic”) will show 100 designs and 40 accessories side by side—from diverse takes on the sari to experimentations with synthetic fabrics—to celebrate their similarities as well as their differences.

Mondays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: May 10. Continues through Aug. 19, 2012