It is undoubtedly the most anticipated event on the fashion calendar. While fashion weeks come and go and awards seasons pass by in a fluster, the first Monday in May is purely reserved for the most glitzy of all red carpets. Coinciding with the Met Gala, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has officially unveiled the Costume Institute’s spring 2020 exhibition and in-hand comes the celebrity spectacle of the year.
Dubbed ‘About Time: Fashion and Duration’, the exhibition will chronicle fashion from 1870 to the present in conjunction with The Met’s 150th anniversary. “Employing philosopher Henri Bergson’s concept of la durée—time that flows, accumulates, and is indivisible—the show will explore how clothes generate temporal associations that conflate the past, present, and future,” the announcement read on Instagram. Additionally, the theme will also explore the writings of Virginia Woolf, who will serve as the “ghost narrator” of the exhibition.
Set to feature 160 examples of women’s fashion, the exhibition will hero predominately black ensembles to illustrate the progressive timescale of modernity and reveal a focus on the progressive although fleeting rhythm of fashion. Unlike past exhibitions of a similar nature, ‘About Time’ won’t simply explore the defining silhouettes but be presented as a ceaseless continuum as to reveal a more comprehensive scope. To accompany these black pieces, the timeline will be artfully disrupted with counter-chronologies composed of predominantly white ensembles that pre-date or post-date those in black.
“For example, a black silk faille princess-line dress from the late 1870s will be paired with an Alexander McQueen “Bumster” skirt from 1995, and a black silk velvet bustle ensemble from the mid-1880s will be juxtaposed with a Comme des Garçons “Body Meets Dress – Dress Meets Body” dress from 1997.”
The exhibition will conclude with a section on the future of fashion, linking the concept of duration to debates about longevity and sustainability. An apt and timely inclusion to the current societal climate.
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