o far, 2020 has been a highly successful and elaborate year for fashion. For reference, look no further than all the major celebrity galas this year has brought us, such as ones at the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Grammys, and the NAACP’s, just to name a few. However, the fashion season is far from ending just yet—and it’s only a matter of time before “fashion’s biggest night out” makes its way to the red carpet (although last year’s color was pink, so don’t take my word for it!)
I’m talking about the Met Gala (aka the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala,) a fundraising event for the Met Costume Institute’s year-long museum exhibit.
To understand the importance of this event within pop culture and contemporary fashion, I’ll provide you with a shortlist of the top must-know facts about this extravagant event:
The Met Gala is hosted at the New York Metropolitan Museum.
This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the Met Gala.
Every guest is exclusively approved by none other than Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine.
The gala’s theme is the same as the Costume Institute’s exhibit, which means that the invited celebrities, alongside their stylists and fashion designers, must interpret the theme and dress accordingly. (Past topics have included: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”, “Punk: Chaos to Couture”, and the latest, “Camp: Notes on Fashion”.)
World-renowned fashion designers and brands (such as Zac Posen, Prabal Gurung, Versace, and Gucci) produce one of a kind haute couture garments specifically designed to clothe a single celebrity.
….That being said, let’s dive headfirst into our expectations for this year’s gala theme!
Earlier this year, the Costume Institute’s head curator, Andrew Bolton, announced the 2020 Met Gala theme as “About Time: Fashion and Duration”. Additionally, he stated that this thematic concept is all about the “reimagination of fashion as a fragmented, heterogeneous, and discontinuous” phenomenon.
Before curating his yet-to-be-unveiled exhibit, Bolton drew some major inspo from Virginia Woolf, a modernist English writer from the 20th century. Specifically speaking, he was enthralled by Woolf’s take on time-travel, and how it can be applied to fashion. Just take a look at the famous Tilda Swinton scene from the 1992 Orlando film (which is based on Woolf’s novel), and you’ll see why it’s such an enchanting concept to represent through fashion.
Max Hollein, the Met Gala’s director, stated on a recent Vogue interview that this exhibition “will consider the ephemeral nature of fashion, employing flashbacks and fast-forwards to reveal how it can be both linear and cyclical.” These tips can only evoke the timelessness of fashion itself, so it’d be by no means surprising to see contemporary iterations of centuries-old fashion motifs. If we focus solely on Virginia Woolf’s influence on the gala’s theme, we can understand how French Rococo with all its pastels, frills and powdered wigs, or English Victorian with its bustle skirts and corsets can add themselves to the glamorous get-together.
On the other hand, we don’t necessarily have to travel such a long way back in time. The likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler, and Emanuel Ungaro began to emerge during the mid-20th century; it’s also understandable if contemporary designers decided to juxtapose their designs with the classic couture made famous by the ones previously mentioned.
After analyzing and attempting to predict this year’s theme, as well as its possible interpretations in fashion, we can all agree on one thing: the 2020 Met Gala is bound to go big on costumes, transport us to different periods in time, and push our imagination to the most extravagant of alternate histories. Are you ready for the ride? Because I sure am!