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a rendering of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion”
Photograph: courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Gala theme has been announced for 2024

Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” will inspire fashions.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

The Met Gala, set for May 6, 2024, will be themed after the forthcoming Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.”

The Costume Institute Benefit, aka The Met Gala, is one of the most iconic events to happen in the city, bringing celebrities and big names (from a carefully curated guest list) to the red carpet in imaginative and fashion-forward outfits.

Really, it’s a benefit that provides the Met’s Costume Institute with its primary source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, operations, and capital improvements.

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Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” which is on at The Met from May 10 - September 2, 2024, will showcase 250 garments and accessories from four centuries that will be surrounded by natural iconography through the use of cutting-edge tools, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and computer-generated imagery to traditional formats of x-rays, video animation, light projection, and soundscapes. 

The Met says it will “serve as a metaphor for the fragility and ephemerality of fashion and a vehicle to examine the cyclical themes of rebirth and renewal.”

We imagine gala-goers will show up in designs inspired by nature and rebirth.

Upon entering the exhibition, you’ll see a sequence of self-contained galleries that each explore a theme inspired by the natural world. In these spaces, you’ll see historical fashions next to their contemporary counterparts in an immersive environment using the senses: sight, smell, touch, and hearing. One wall will be covered with vegetation and embroidered insects found on an Elizabethan bodice; the floors of another will be animated with snakes that frame the neckline of an early 20th-century sequined dress; and the ceiling of another will be projection-mapped with a Hitchcockian swarm of blackbirds that encircle a black tulle evening dress designed by Madeleine Vionnet just before the outbreak of World War II, the Met states.

There will also be a series of “sleeping beauties,” or garments that are so fragile they can’t be put on mannequins. Instead, they’ll be showcased in glass “coffins” like Snow White. Some of them will be brought back to life by an illusion technique.

“When an item of clothing enters our collection, its status is changed irrevocably,” said Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge at The Costume Institute. “What was once a vital part of a person’s lived experience is now a motionless ‘artwork’ that can no longer be worn or heard, touched, or smelled.

“The exhibition endeavors to reanimate these artworks by re-awakening their sensory capacities through a diverse range of technologies, affording visitors sensorial ‘access’ to rare historical garments and rarefied contemporary fashions,” he added. “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.”

The exhibit opens May 10 at The Met Fifth Avenue inside the Tisch Galleries.

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