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It’s become a time-honoured tradition, that on the first Monday of May, the luxurious Met Gala takes place, however, due to the world’s recent state, this exclusive event had to be postponed until October. Just days after realising a video preview of the spring exhibition, the Met’s costume institute now reveals “About time: fashion and duration” in more intimate detail.
While the Met is still closed, the organization decided to share its curated collection of contemporary and historic garments which traces a century and a half of fashion. Scheduled to open to the public on October 29, 2020, the presented work dates as far back as 1870, in honour of the museum’s 150th anniversary.
Presented entirely with black garments, the Met Gala‘s “About time: fashion and duration” emphasizes the evolving silhouettes and use of secondary detailing. With the collection of pieces ranging from 1870 to the present, curators aim to connect the concept of “duration” with debates about diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, and other ethical issues that will surely express a continuing impact throughout the next decade of luxury fashion. Employing Henri Bergson’s concept of la durée (duration), it will explore how clothes generate temporal associations that conflate past, present, and future. Virginia Woolf will serve as the “ghost narrator” of the exhibition.
A timeline of 120 garments will unfold in two adjacent galleries fabricated as enormous clock faces and organized around the principle of sixty minutes of fashion. Each “minute” will feature a pair of garments—the primary work representing the linear nature of fashion and the secondary work its cyclical character. Each pair will be connected through shape, motif, material, pattern, technique, or decoration. For example, a black silk faille princess-line dress from the late 1870s will be paired with an Alexander McQueen “bumster” skirt from 1995.
All of the primary garments will be black, to emphasize their evolving silhouettes, and the secondary will be either black or white, to underscore their mutually reinforcing associations. The exhibition will conclude with a small selection of garments from 2020 that links the concept of duration to debates about diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, traceability, transparency, longevity, collaboration, and other ethical issues germane to the next decade of fashion. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.
Still yet to be seen is the theatrical design of the gallery space, which is scheduled to be unveiled this fall.
“Fashion is indelibly connected to time. It not only reflects and represents the spirit of the times, but it also changes and develops with the times, serving as an especially sensitive and accurate timepiece. Through a series of chronologies, the exhibition will use the concept of duration to analyze the temporal twists and turns of fashion history.” – Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu curator in charge of the Met‘s costume institute
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