David Bailey, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
2020 marks the beginning of a new decade and thus, existential dread about where time goes and what it even is? Next year’s Met Gala plans to capitalize on that feeling—and explore it through couture fashion—with its theme: “About Time: Fashion and Duration.”
The New York Times spoke to Andrew Bolton, curator in charge of the Costume Institute of the Met, about what to expect from the event’s 150th anniversary—and who will be co-chairing the proceedings. Below, everything to know about the 2020 Met Gala.
What is the Met 2020 Gala theme?
It’s time! Compared to 2019’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” and 2018’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” a meditation on the passage of time is more abstract. But, Bolton argues that the theme will lend itself to a Met Gala built for the ages.
“Fashion is indelibly connected to time,” Bolton told the outlet. “It not only reflects and represents the spirit of the times, but it also changes and develops with the times.” The Times notes that the theme comes at a time of “tension between the desire for sustainability and a garment that lasts and the desire for planned obsolescence and a new garment that drives us back into a store” in the fashion industry.
Who are the Met Gala 2020 co-chairs?
The show will be chaired by Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière, Vuitton ambassador Emma Stone, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The one and only Meryl Streep will also co-chair, making this her first-ever Met Gala appearance. (Streep walking alongside Vogue’s Anna Wintour? Be still my Devil Wears Prada-loving heart.)
When is the next Met Gala?
The Met Gala is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on the first Monday in May each year. So save the date (and your Instagram scrolling) for May 4, 2020. Good luck to the celebrities and models trying to nail such a broad theme this year.
What will be displayed at the Met’s exhibition?
Per tradition, a show at the Met will follow the gala on May 7. This year, it “will feature 160 pieces of women’s fashion from the last 150 years, and beyond,” per The New York Times. Tracing back to 1870, 70 percent of the exhibit will be sourced from what the museum currently has, while 30 percent will be gifted for the 150th anniversary.
The theme is inspired by Virginia Woolf novels and French philosopher Henri Bergson’s theories on time. As such, a clock will greet Met visitors upon arrival, while excerpts from Woolf’s novels will adorn the walls as a “ghost narration,” Bolton told The Times.
In a statement, Met Director Max Hollein said, “This exhibition will consider the ephemeral nature of fashion, employing flashbacks and fast-forwards to reveal how it can be both linear and cyclical. As such, the show will present a nuanced continuum of fashion over the Museum’s 150-year history.”
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham of The Hours, which was inspired by Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, will write a short story for the exhibition. Designed by Es Devlin, the mind behind Beyoncé’s “Formation” tour sets (!), the show will house designers including John Galliano, Helmut Lang, and Georgina Godley, to name a few. Per a press release, it will also contain time-bending crossovers such as a black silk faille princess-line dress from the late 1870s paired with an Alexander McQueen “Bumster” skirt from 1995.
The Costume Institute’s exhibition will run until September 7, 2020.