If you paid attention to Instagram earlier this week, you probably noticed celebrities posting throwback photos from previous Met Galas, which usually happen on the first Monday each May. But the star-studded event—which was canceled this year due to COVID-19—is more than just a fabulous affair. It marks the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s annual spring exhibition. And while the exhibit was postponed, the curators created a virtual one to give fashionistas a peek.
Called About Time: Fashion and Duration, the exhibit is based on the ideas of French 20th-century philosopher Henri Bergson about time as duration.
“The exhibition will trace a century and a half of fashion—from 1870 to the present—along a disruptive timeline, on the occasion of The Met's 150th anniversary,” read the video description. “Employing Henri Bergson's concept of la durée (duration), it will explore how clothes generate temporal associations that conflate past, present, and future. Virginia Woolf will serve as the 'ghost narrator' of the exhibition.”
Throughout the 12-minute YouTube video, viewers are taken on a virtual tour showing designs—one historical and one contemporary—next to each other to show their similarities. Examples include an 1895 Mrs. Arnold and a Comme Des Garçons creation from 2004 as well as a 1902 Morin Blossier dress and Nicolas Ghesquiere design for Louis Vuitton from 2018.
Throughout, you’ll see illustrations of a clock and the pieces with information about the date they were created, by whom they were designed and quotes from famous authors about time. The timeline starts in the 1870s—the year the museum was founded—and goes through to modern-day.
This exhibition would have opened on May 7 as part of the famous museum's 150th-anniversary celebrations. While the new open date has yet to be revealed, patrons can expect to see a showcase of 160 items on display on a set designed by Es Devlin.