The Met Just Revealed the Theme for Its 2020 Costume Exhibit

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

And it’s very…timely.

A lot of things make New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art one of the world’s best and must-visit museums and its annual Costume Institute exhibit is definitely one of them.

Who can forget the extraordinary Savage Beauty exhibition in 2011 that celebrated the late Alexander McQueen and that was so successful that it had people line up for four hours to see it (the museum also famously stayed open until midnight for the first time in its history)? And how about the groundbreaking Heavenly Bodies exhibition in 2018, that examined fashion’s engagement with Catholicism? It attracted over 1.6 million people and became the museum’s most visited exhibition ever. So could the 2020 show beat this record?

This morning, the museum announced that its spring 2020 exhibition will be called About Time: Fashion and Duration. The theme was influenced by the fact that the museum is celebrating its 150th anniversary next year.

“Presented in The Met Fifth Avenue’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, it will trace more than a century and a half of fashion, from 1870 to the present, along a disruptive timeline...” the museum announced.

“Employing philosopher Henri Bergson’s concept of "la durée"—time that flows, accumulates, and is indivisible—the exhibition will explore how clothes generate temporal associations that conflate the past, present, and future,” the museum stated.

To make things even more special, Virginia Woolf, through her writings, will serve as the “ghost narrator” of the exhibition.
The museum also announced that About Time: Fashion and Duration will “feature approximately 160 examples of women’s fashion dating from 1870—the year of The Met’s founding and the start of a decade that witnessed the development of a standardized time system—to the present.” Longevity and sustainability will also be part of the conversation, as the exhibit will conclude with a section on the future of fashion.

The exhibition will be on display from May 7 until September 7, 2020.