Met Reveals 2020 Costume Exhibit Gala & Theme — and It’s Timely

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced its Costume Institute exhibit and gala theme today — and it’s a timely one.

As the Met celebrates its 150th anniversary, it’s taking a look at fashion from the museum’s inception in 1870 to the present, with an exhibit called “About Time: Fashion and Duration.”

Styles will be traced along a disruptive timeline, embracing philosopher Henri Bergson’s notion of “la durée,” meaning “time that flows and accumulates, indivisibly.” The writings of Virginia Woolf will inform the exhibit, with the writer serving as “ghost narrator.”

“This exhibition will consider the ephemeral nature of fashion, employing flashbacks and fast-forwards to reveal how it can be both linear and cyclical,” said Max Hollein, the Met’s director, in a press release. “As such, the show will present a nuanced continuum of fashion over the Museum’s 150-year history.”

Around 160 items will be featured in the exhibit, with most coming from the Costume Institute’s own collection. Displays will mix pieces across time periods — for instance, an Alexander McQueen skirt from 1995 will be teamed with a silk dress from the 1870s.

The Met Gala will be held Monday, May 4, with co-chairs Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emma Stone, Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

Vogue and Louis Vuitton are co-sponsoring the exhibition, and Andrew Bolton will be its curator. The exhibit will be displayed from May 7 through Sept. 7.

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