Next year on the first Monday of May, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will celebrate “Sleeping Beauties” at its always anticipated, star-studded Met Gala, a benefit for the Costume Institute.
The theme is tied to the institute’s spring 2024 exhibition, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” which is not about fairy tales, but about using technology and conservation to revitalize old garments.
Expect high fashion, yes—some 250 of the collection’s garments and accessories, to be precise—but also augmented reality, artificial intelligence, computer-generated imagery, x-rays, video animation, and light projection. There will even be soundscapes, recreating the subtle rustling of fabrics while being worn.
“The Met’s innovative spring 2024 Costume Institute exhibition will push the boundaries of our imagination and invite us to experience the multisensory facets of a garment, many of which get lost when entering a museum collection as an object,” Met director Max Hollein said in a statement. “‘Sleeping Beauties’ will heighten our engagement with these masterpieces of fashion by evoking how they feel, move, sound, smell, and interact when being worn, ultimately offering a deeper appreciation of the integrity, beauty, and artistic brilliance of the works on display.”
Of course, continuing to use historically significant clothing can be a controversial proposition, as the Met learned all too well when Kim Kardashian arrived at the institution’s 2022 gala clad in the infamous nude gown in which Marilyn Monroe serenaded President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in 1962.
Kardashian’s red carpet arrival made headlines, but also outraged many in the fashion conservator and curatorial community, even prompting a condemnation from the International Council of Museums, which created a new a new clothing preservation committee in response to the uproar. (The reality star is believed to have damaged the delicate dress, although the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in Orlando, which owns the piece, has denied it.)
The upcoming show, therefore, won’t be about wearing these old looks—indeed some are so fragile they can’t even be placed on a mannequin form. (Those are the titular “Sleeping Beauties,” and will be displayed in glass coffins.)
“When an item of clothing enters our collection, its status is changed irrevocably. What was once a vital part of a person’s lived experience is now a motionless ‘artwork’ that can no longer be worn or heard, touched, or smelled,” Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton said. “The exhibition endeavors to reanimate these artworks by re-awakening their sensory capacities through a diverse range of technologies, affording visitors sensorial ‘access’ to rare historical garments and rarefied contemporary fashions.”
The annual fashion exhibition is a reliable blockbuster for the Met—so much so that last month, the museum announced plans to turn its Great Hall gift shop into a new gallery space for the Costume Institute. That $50 million project is slated to be completed in 2026.
The Met has yet to announce the hosts for the exhibition’s accompany ball, but the show is being sponsored by TikTok and luxury fashion house Loewe, which is led by designer Jonathan Anderson.
See more images from the upcoming show below.
“Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000, 5th Avenue, New York, New York, May 10–September 2, 2024.
More Trending Stories:
News Icon Barbara Walters’s $8 Million Estate Hits the Block at Bonhams, With Her ‘Audacious’ Jewelry Taking Center Stage
There’s Much More to Caravaggio’s ‘The Cardsharps’ Than Vice. Here Are Three Facts That Offer a New Perspective on His Early Masterpiece
Here’s Your Guide to the Priciest and Most Sought-After Artworks for Sale During New York’s $2 Billion Fall Auction Season
Revealed: The Major Mystery Consignors of New York’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Fall Auction Season
A Secret Room in a 16th-Century Italian Chapel, Where Michelangelo Hid—and Drew—for Months, Opens to the Public
Christie’s Pulled Two Works by a Prominent Middle Eastern Artist From Sale After a Complaint
A Nautical Chart Sold at Auction for $239,000 Is Revealed as the 4th Oldest of Its Kind and Is Now Tagged at $7.5 Million
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.