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Celebrities will not be wearing pajamas at the 2024 Met Gala.
Vogue recently unveiled the theme for The Costume Institute’s 2024 exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the theme for the accompanying Met Gala: “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” This announcement sparked confusion among many online, with some speculating that the red carpet would be filled with designer pajamas and princesses in reference to the Disney film. However, neither of these predictions are accurate.
If the topic does not pertain to nightwear or medieval warriors, what is the significance of “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion”?
Firstly, let’s explore the purpose of the exhibition.
The upcoming exhibition will feature 250 items from the Costume Institute’s permanent collection, spanning 400 years back to the Elizabethan era. Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge, explains that the focus of the exhibition will be on 50 historical garments, including some that are too delicate to be worn again and are referred to as the “sleeping beauties” of the exhibit. The centerpiece of the exhibition is an original 1877 silk satin ball gown designed by Charles Frederick Worth. Each fragile piece, some of which are no longer in their original state, will be creatively displayed in order to revive their beauty.
While the inherent movement of each piece is apparent even in a state of stillness, CGI, soundscaping, light projection, the illusion technique Pepper’s ghost, and video animation will be installed to propel these pieces out of their shelling.
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.
By thoughtfully selecting and organizing, each fabric item will be classified into three distinct “zones” – land, sea, and sky. The goal is to showcase perspectives on the natural world, the shifting perception of these environments, and their incorporation into fashion. In essence, we will witness the progression of nature and its transformation by innovators in the industry.
Prominent designs by Alexander McQueen, such as the razor-clam shell dress from the 2001 spring/summer collection “Voss” and the captivating butterfly dress from Sarah Burton’s inaugural collection at the fashion house in 2011, will be showcased.
The goal of “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” is to uncover physical remnants of the past, some of which have been forgotten for years. This exhibition aims to spark discussions about nature and emotions, while also honoring the special connection between clothing and the person wearing it through the use of modern 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 partner with famous individuals to create new versions of previous catwalk styles, but this occasion will probably involve envisioning conventional forms made from natural textiles and substances. The ensembles should incorporate a historical element, reflecting on the progression of fashion alongside discussions and emotions surrounding climate and geography. We may witness many creators drawing inspiration from the Elizabethan era, experimenting with lengthy and voluminous silhouettes. However, one thing that can be counted on at the annual Met Gala is celebrities dressing without any intention of adhering to the theme. Therefore, it is possible that someone may arrive in a matching pajama set.