Prepare for a fairytale-inspired fashion extravaganza as the theme for the upcoming Met Gala has been unveiled: “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” Scheduled for May 6, this celebrity-studded event will herald the launch of the Met’s spring exhibit, showcasing treasured garments from the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Curated by Andrew Bolton, the exhibit aims to breathe life into the museum’s extensive collection of 33,000 pieces, with approximately 250 selected items spanning four centuries. Many of these garments, too fragile to hang upright, will be displayed in glass cases, reminiscent of the slumbering princess. Bolton’s vision goes beyond visual appreciation, intending to engage museum-goers through multiple senses, including smell and sound.
“Fashion is such a living art form,” Bolton explained. The exhibit seeks to “reawaken the sensorial aspect” of clothing, introducing elements like scents, possibly connected to the wearer’s perfume, and accompanying sounds. For instance, a dress by Alexander McQueen adorned with razor clam shells will emit the rattling sound of these shells.
The thematic organization of the exhibit will revolve around land, sea, and sky, rather than specific masterworks. Among the oldest items on display is a tiny 17th-century Elizabethan-era bodice adorned with nature-themed embroidery. Delicate garments, like a silk satin ballgown by Charles Frederick Worth, will be presented on tables due to their fragility.
The immersive experience may include eerie elements, such as a black tulle dress covered with embroidered blackbirds, accompanied by a Hitchcockian swarm of birds on the ceiling. Bolton acknowledges the potentially frightening nature of certain displays, urging caution for those afraid of birds.
As the Met Gala draws near, the celebrity co-hosts are yet to be announced. The event promises to be a spectacular blend of fashion, art, and nature-inspired creativity, with guests expected to embrace the theme of “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” The exhibit will run from May 10 to September 2, 2024.