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Met Gala 2020 Theme Is Revealed… and It’s Inspired by Virginia Woolf

The theme of the Met’s Costume Institute’s spring exhibition – and corresponding Met Gala – has been announced

NOVEMBER 07, 2019 in

The annual Met Gala – which takes place on the first Monday in May and is often described as the ‘Oscars of fashion’ – sees the worlds of fashion and celebrity collide at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in celebration of the Costume Institute’s spring exhibition. Guests are encouraged to dress according to a theme, which relates to that exhibition – last year the exhibition was titled Camp: Notes on Fashion and represented an exploration of ‘camp’ in fashion, framed around Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp.

The 2020 exhibition, as revealed this morning, is titled About Time: Fashion and Duration and promises to present “a disruptive timeline of fashion history”, encompassing over a century and a half of fashion – from 1870 to the present day. Coinciding with the Met’s 150th anniversary, the exhibition will draw inspiration from philosopher Henri Bergson’s concept of la durée (“time that flows, accumulates, and is indivisible”) and will explore how clothing can conflate past, present and future. Writer Virginia Woolf will serve as the exhibition’s ‘ghost narrator’, while author Michael Cunningham – whose novel The Hours was based on Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway – will write a new short story for the exhibition’s catalogue.

“Fashion is indelibly connected to time. It not only reflects and represents the spirit of the times, but it also changes and develops with the times, serving as an especially sensitive and accurate timepiece,” says Andrew Bolton, curator in charge of The Costume Institute. “Through a series of chronologies, the exhibition will use the concept of duration to analyse the temporal twists and turns of fashion.”

The Met Gala will take place on Monday May 4, 2020, co-chaired this year by Nicolas Ghesquière, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, and Anna Wintour, with support for the exhibition coming from Louis Vuitton. The exhibition itself, held in the Met Fifth Avenue’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, will run from May 7 to September 7, 2020.

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