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May 28, 2024

Image from The MET website

All we know about the MET Gala 2024 and Costume Institute Exhibition

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has released exciting new details about the Costume Institute’s Spring 2024 Exhibition and corresponding Gala. Much like each year, The Costume Institute Benefit, popularly known as The Met Gala, will take place on May 6th to celebrate the opening of the exhibit, providing the department with its primary source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, operations, and capital improvements. On this day, Anna Wintour along with four other celebrities, Bad Bunny, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Lopez, and Zendaya, will co-chair the event. The dress code for the evening will be “The Garden of Time,” and Shou Chew, Chief Executive Officer of TikTok, and Jonathan Anderson, Creative Director of LOEWE, will serve as honorary chairs.

The theme this year ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’ will revive the sensory capacities of approximately 250 garments and accessories that will be connected visually through nature, which also serves as a metaphor for the transience of fashion. The exhibition is set to run from May 10th – September 2nd and the decorative Great Hall centrepiece unveiled during the gala will remain on view to the public on Tuesday, May 7. Members will have the opportunity to preview the exhibit on May 7th and 9th.

Image from The MET website

Max Hollein, the Museum’s Marina Kellen French Director and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The Met’s innovative spring 2024 Costume Institute exhibition will push the boundaries of our imagination and invite us to experience the multi-sensory facets of a garment—those facets that deteriorate and become lost after entering a museum collection as an object. Sleeping Beauties will heighten our engagement with these masterpieces of fashion by evoking what it was like to feel, move, hear, smell, and interact with them when they could be worn, ultimately offering a deeper appreciation of the integrity, beauty, and artistic brilliance of the works on display.”

The upcoming exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art promises an immersive experience, reinvigorating historical garments from The Met’s collection and engaging visitors’ senses through innovative technologies through technologies right from artificial intelligence and computer-generated imagery, to traditional formats of x-rays, video animation, light projection, and soundscapes.. Spanning four centuries, approximately 250 garments and accessories will be on display, interconnected by themes of nature, symbolising the cyclical and ephemeral nature of fashion. Among the highlights of the exhibition are the “sleeping beauties” – delicate garments too fragile to be dressed on mannequins, showcased in glass cases for close examination.

Through a variety of encounters, visitors will be transported into the sensory world of these masterpieces. They’ll have the opportunity to smell the aromatic histories of hats adorned with floral motifs, feel the textures of embroidered garments embossed on gallery walls, and experience the illusion of the “hobble skirt” restricting women’s movements in the early 20th century.

The exhibition is organised into three sections – earth, air, and water – each presenting a different theme inspired by nature. Historical fashions will be juxtaposed with contemporary counterparts, creating an immersive environment that appeals to sight, smell, touch, and hearing. For example, one gallery will resemble a garden, featuring hats blooming with flowers and surrounded by scent-filled atmospheres to challenge visitors’ olfactory senses.

Designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hattie Carnegie, and Elsa Schiaparelli will be showcased, alongside contemporary pieces like a coat by Jonathan Anderson for LOEWE, planted with living grass that will gradually wither during the exhibition. Visitors will also encounter innovative techniques such as the Pepper’s ghost illusion, bringing to life a 1913–14 evening dress by Jeanne Hallée, transforming a woman in the design into an insect.

Rare duplicates in the collection, like Charles James’s “Butterfly” ball gown, will be displayed to demonstrate the evolution of fashion and the impact of time on garments. Visitors can interact with select pieces, feeling the form and floral decoration of a “Mini Miss Dior” dress through a 3-D printed maquette, or experiencing the aurality of a metal ensemble from Marni’s spring/summer 2024 collection.

Overall, the exhibition aims to reawaken the sensory qualities of historical garments and contemporary fashions, providing visitors with a deeper understanding and appreciation of fashion’s vibrancy and dynamism. Through cutting-edge technologies and a focus on sensory engagement, the show invites visitors to reconnect with these artworks as they were originally intended – full of life and vitality.

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