Met Gala 2024 Announces Theme, Sleeping Beauties Of Fashion

Met Gala 2024 unveils its theme entitled Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion. The Metropolitan Museum of Art alongside the Met Gala gets ready to breathe life into delicate wearables.

The Met Gala 2024 gets ready for its event next year through unveiling its theme, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.

An exhibit with the same name as the theme accompanies next year’s gala. The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the exhibit on its website and is to be held from May 10 to Sept. 2, 2024.

The Met Gala 2024 theme and exhibit plans to touch base on fashion history, nature, technology and the senses.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that the Met’s spring exhibit will include treasured garments from the collection at the museum’s Costume Institute

Curator Andrew Bolton oversees all of Met’s blockbuster fashion exhibits. Bolton said he was looking for a way to literally breathe life into a collection of 33,000 pieces. 

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Exhibit will “breathe new life” in garments

The Met’s Costume Institute’s spring 2024 exhibit Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion aims to “reactivate the sensory capacities of masterworks.”

It utilized cutting-edge tools, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and computer-generated imagery to make this possible.

The Tulipes Hollandaises evening cloak, a piece shown on The Met’s site
The Tulipes Hollandaises evening cloak, a piece shown on The Met’s site/Photo via The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website

Bolton chose about 250 garments and accessories from 33,000 pieces. The exhibit pursues breathing new life into garments through immersive activations. These convey senses that can no longer interact with the body. 

Exhibit collection to span four centuries

Bolton said that a clothing’s status changes whenever it enters the museum’s collection. He expressed that the garments were once part of a person’s life. They turned into a motionless artwork that can never be felt or worn. 

“By appealing to the widest possible range of human senses, the show aims to reconnect with the works on display as they were originally intended — with vibrancy, with dynamism, and ultimately with life,” Bolton said.

The “Junon” dress from the House of Dior’s Fall-Winter 1949 collection
The “Junon” dress from the House of Dior’s Fall-Winter 1949 collection/Photo via Pinterest @maisonlima

CNN reported the exhibition pieces unites their connection to the world through “rebirth and renewal.”

The exhibit features a 400-year span of rich history from 17th century English Elizabethan-era bodice to 21st century accessions. It includes pieces from designers Phillip Lim, Stella McCartney, Connor Ives, Madeleine Vionnet, the House of Worth, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen among others.

A ballgown from the House of Worth
A ballgown from the House of Worth/Photo via the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s official website

Fragile pieces display as “sleeping beauties”

So, where does the term “Sleeping Beauties” come in?

AP reported that garments too fragile to be put on mannequins will display as titular “sleeping beauties.” The Costume Institute said that the pieces are to appear in glass coffin-like displays with microscopes to observe flaws up close. 

An illusory projection technique used in theater called “Pepper’s ghost” will show viewers what the garments looked like at their best state.

Bolton mentioned that nature is a broader metaphor for fashion. “The fragility and ephemerality of fashion, but also the circular nature of fashion, the ideas of regeneration and rebirth,” he said. “So the through-line is the natural world.”

The Met Gala 2024 happens every first Monday of May and opens the spring exhibitions. The Costume Institute’s website says it is the main main source of annual funding for the department’s exhibitions, acquisitions, and capital improvements.

Banner photo via The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website.

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