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Celebrities will not be donning pajamas at the 2024 Met Gala.
Vogue recently revealed the theme for The Costume Institute’s 2024 exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the corresponding motif for the Met Gala: “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” This announcement sparked confusion among many online, who speculated that the red carpet would feature designer pajamas and the museum steps would be graced with princesses, assuming the theme was based on the Disney film. However, these assumptions are incorrect.
If the topic does not involve nightwear or medieval warriors, what is the significance of “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion”?
To begin, let us explore the purpose of the exhibit.
The upcoming display guarantees to showcase 250 pieces from the Costume Institute’s permanent collection, with some items dating back 400 years to the Elizabethan era. As stated by Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, the exhibit is centered around 50 historic garments that are delicate and too fragile to be worn again – they are known as the “sleeping beauties” of the exhibit. The main inspiration for this exhibit was an original ball gown made of silk satin in 1877 by Charles Frederick Worth. Each fragile piece, some of which have changed over time, will be reimagined and presented in innovative casings to revive the garments.
Although each piece appears to be still, their inherent movement can still be observed. To enhance this effect, elements such as CGI, soundscaping, light projection, Pepper’s ghost illusion, and video animation will be utilized to bring these pieces out of their shells.
Just as a 17th century bodice is said to be contextualised next to a modern acquisition, each archival treasure will be juxtaposed with more current designs from lauded creatives like Stella McCartney, Phillip Lim, Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Christian Dior, all mimicing the same structural concept of its counterpart.
Through careful curation, the organic essence of each textile piece will be categorised under three “zones” or sections – land, sea, and sky. By doing this, the idea is to highlight views of the natural world, how perception of these areas has changed, and how they’ve been configured in fashion. In other words, we’ll get to see the evolution of nature and how it’s been developed by industry inventors.
Some of Alexander McQueen’s most significant works, such as the razor-clam shell dress from the 2001 “Voss” spring/summer collection and the enchanting butterfly dress from Sarah Burton’s debut collection for the fashion house in 2011, will be highlighted.
Overall, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” intends to dig up tangible pieces of history, some of which were put to rest years ago, to motivate conversation about natural elements and emotion, as well as pay homage to the intimacy between a garment and its wearer with the transformative power of current technology.
Based on the aim of the exhibit, we can expect to see the A-listers attending the Met Gala – the annual Costume Institute benefit held on the first Monday in May – in custom-made or revived period pieces that channel all or one of the sections.
Designers frequently work together with famous individuals to create new versions of previous fashion show styles. However, this time they will probably be envisioning classic buildings made of natural fabrics and resources. The outfits should incorporate a historical element, reflecting on the development of fashion while also considering discussions and emotions about the environment and scenery. We may witness many artists drawing inspiration from the Elizabethan era, experimenting with lengthy and voluminous silhouettes. But one thing is certain every year at the Met Gala: celebrities dressing without any intention of following the theme. So, it’s possible that someone may arrive wearing a matching pajama set.