The annual fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute in New York is one of the most talked-about shows in the art calendar, while the launch party – a.k.a. the Met Gala – is one of the most glamorous red carpet events of the year. The theme of the upcoming exhibition, opening in May 2020, was just revealed and it is set to make the Met Gala more of a talking point than ever before.
On Thursday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the Costume Institute's spring 2020 exhibition will be About Time: Fashion and Duration, on view from 7th May through to 7th September 2020 (preceded on May 4 by The Costume Institute Benefit). To celebrate the museum's 150-anniversary, the exhibition will trace more than a century and a half of fashion, beginning from 1870 to the present day. The idea is inspired by philosopher Henri Bergson's concept “of la durée — time that flows accumulates, and is indivisible,” according to a press release. Virginia Woolf, via Michael Cunningham who wrote The Hours, will “ghost narrate” the exhibit.
Vogue notes Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, found inspiration in the 1992 Sally Potter film Orlando, which was based on the time-traveling Virginia Woolf novel of the same name. “There’s a wonderful scene,” he recounts to Vogue, “in which Tilda Swinton enters the maze in an 18th-century woman’s robe à la Francaise, and as she runs through it, her clothes change to mid-19th-century dress, and she reemerges in 1850s England. That’s where the original idea came from.”
He continued: “What I like about Woolf’s version of time is the idea of a continuum,” Bolton says. “There’s no beginning, middle, or end. It’s one big fat middle. I always felt the same about fashion. Fashion is the present.”
The Met Gala, happening that first Monday in May, will be co-hosted by Nicolas Ghesquière, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, and of course, Anna Wintour. Rihanna skipped the festivities last year but we hope for a royal sighting as she often makes time (and our hearts) stop when she shuts down the red carpet.