In an announcement that resonated with fashion enthusiasts and Disney aficionados alike, The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art has revealed the theme for its upcoming spring exhibition and consequently the Met Gala 2024: Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.Despite the fairytale connotation, the theme has little to do with the ill-fated princess Aurora. Instead, ‘beauties’ alludes to approximately 50 historically significant garments, spanning 400 years from the Met’s collection. Interestingly, these pieces are too delicate to ever be worn again.

Nature as a Metaphor

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Within this theme, nature serves as a metaphor for the fleeting nature of fashion. The spotlight is on the cyclical processes of birth and renewal, with boundary-pushing archival designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Hubert de Givenchy taking centre stage. These garments will undergo a re-birth through special illusion techniques, video animation, light projection, soundscaping, AI, CGI, and other technologies, allowing visitors to experience how these historical pieces felt, sounded, and even smelled. Works by contemporary designers like Phillip Lim, Stella McCartney, and Conner Ives will also grace the exhibition.

Reviving Sensory Capacities

Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge at The Costume Institute, emphasized the transformative impact of clothing becoming ‘artwork’ once in the museum’s collection. The exhibition aims to breathe new life into these motionless artefacts, reviving their sensory capacities through a diverse array of technologies, offering visitors a unique sensory experience with rare historical garments and contemporary fashions.

Fashion Extravaganza

Anticipation is high for the Met Gala 2024, with expectations that attendees will don exquisite archival gowns or embrace sustainability-driven couture. Biomaterials and nature-themed elements are predicted to dominate the red carpet, with nods to iconic designs like Lee McQueen’s Jellyfish and Sarabande dresses, Schiaparelli’s whimsical crustacean and bug accents, and avant-garde selections from Iris Van Herpen’s collections, including Sensory Seas and Roots Of Rebirth. The stage is set for a fashion spectacle that merges history with innovation.