Fashion & Duration on the red carpet in May 2020

It's "About Time" someone explained next year's Met Gala theme

Expect to see stars wearing pieces inspired by multiple eras at the 2020 Met Gala.

This year’s Met Gala theme has successfully blown me away, just as it does every year I follow the iconic event.

Last year, I spent what felt like endless months waiting to see how celebrities would interpret the “camp” theme on the Met Gala’s red carpet. Lady Gaga, Billy Porter, and Lena Waithe stole the show in their eccentric and iconic ensembles, and I wasn’t disappointed. So when the theme and co-chairs were announced for the year’s most grandiose fundraiser, I felt my spirit lifted out of its pre-exams funk and magically whisked away to New York City.

The Met Gala, held on the first Monday of every May at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is an annual fundraising gala for the Museum’s Costume Institute, a collection of costumes and ensembles. This fundraiser is special, not only because it marks the opening of a new exhibit in the Institute, but also because the Met Gala encourages its guests to dress according to the annual exhibit’s theme by pairing them with fashion designers to create or adapt a piece for the event.

Essentially, it’s a night where your favourite celebrities wear crazy couture and try to upstage one another. What’s not to obsess over?

This year’s fanfare is no different. Last week, the Met Gala’s host committee announced that the theme for the May 2020 event will be “About Time: Fashion and Duration” and will be co-chaired by Nicolas Ghesquière of Louis Vuitton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, and, as always, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

As a writer for Vogue explained on the iconic fashion magazine’s website, the exhibition and, as a result, the Gala’s theme, traces the history of fashion starting in 1870, but not chronologically.

Now, this is going to get a little conceptual, just like fashion, so bear with me. The exhibit is inspired both by Virginia Woolf’s body of writing and a concept from philosopher Henri Bergson called “la durée,” explained by Vogue as a conception of time “that flows, accumulates, and is indivisible.”

Essentially, the exhibit asks visitors to view time and fashion as both linear and cyclical. Fashion is marked by trends, but it’s also timeless.

When it comes time for guests and their designers to interpret this theme, red-carpet watchers can expect to see pieces from different eras worn together, historically inspired outfits, and, like every year, a handful of plain black suits and gowns worn by the celebs who just don’t getit.

The co-chairs are cause for excitement, too. I have visions of Lin-Manuel Miranda in some kind of steampunk-inspired getup, strutting on the red carpet alongside a flapper Emma Stone and a suit-sporting Meryl Streep (can’t a girl dream?). This spectrum of voices on the committee for the gala will definitely spell out some surprises for viewers come May.

Whether your interests centre around fashion, history, celebrities, or all three, the 2020 Met Gala will be sure to fulfill all your fantasies.

If you want to become a true fashion aficionado by the time the red carpet is rolled out, research is key—this isn’t a passive watching experience like the Oscars’ pre-show. Look up the visionaries inspiring and creating the exhibit like Alexander McQueen, Es Devlin, and Andrew Bolton. Read works by Virginia Woolf, Henri Bergson, and Michael Cunningham, too. If you want to go the extra mile, the 1992 Sally Potter film Orlando, in which Tilda Swinton goes through a majestic costume-changing montage, is definitely essential viewing material.

Read this article, research the theme, and do some light reading before May rolls around—before you know it, you’ll be almost as knowledgeable about “la durée” as the fashion designers creating looks for the red carpet.


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