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About Time: the MET Gala Goes Online With Fashion and Duration Exhibition

About Time: the MET Gala Goes Online With Fashion and Duration Exhibition

About Time

Throughout the years, we as an audience have gotten used to the annual Met Gala being a visual report of A-list celebrities and their accoutrements, only to forget that the event is supposed to be the opening to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its Costume Institute Exhibition. 

We already reported on the top looks from the 2019 Gala and its “camp” theme, and with the Gala being cancelled last year, the “About Time: Fashion and Duration” event managed to sneak its way through the pandemic. The event, sponsored by Louis Vuitton sold out of online exhibition tickets.

Source: Vogue

The theme for 2020 revolved around the concept of “time,” inspired by Henri Bergson’s concept of la durée (duration) but may also be linked to the Met celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2020, which is also incredibly fitting to the thing we’ve all been thinking about and trying to kill the most during the pandemic. 

The event’s theme isn’t even the most intriguing part; the whole Gala is said to be “ghost narrated” by Virginia Woolf with excerpts from her 1928 novel Orlando. All of the quotes are related to the idea of time and are read by actresses like Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, and even the legendary (friend in my head) Meryl Streep. For those interested, there is even a compiled reading list of Woolf’s written pieces. 

Featuring a long list of international designers, the Costume Institute arranged 60 costume pairings where the left would represent the linear nature of fashion, while the right one honours trends and cycles through original patterns, materials, and shapes. This was especially done to represent 150 years of shifts and parallels in fashion. The Gala turned into a real-life exhibition with pieces dating as far back as 1895. Almost all of the garments on display are black for the colour’s ability to highlight any type of silhouette. Similarly to a painting at the Louvre, it would be hard or almost impossible to capture all elements and the complexity of the clothing through photographs.

Iris Van Herpen dress (2013 haute couture) paired with a Charles James ball gown (1951)
Source: © Nicholas Alan Cope

And what’s the show’s grand finale, you ask? An incredibly beautiful and dreamy display of a Viktor & Rolf’s spring 2020 couture collection white dress made with upcycled fabric to hint at a potentially more sustainable future for the fashion industry. The dress and its color generate a noticeable contrast with the rest of the garments in the exhibition.

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If you’re interested in the gift shop options, designers like Balmain, Erdem and even Off-White all designed face practical and decorative face masks. Despite the big names, they’re apparently affordable as well. In addition, a 400 page-long catalogue is available for purchase online including 240 pages of black-and-white photographs. 

Virtual tours are available by request. Watch a preview of the exhibition below:
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