Taking cues from Virginia Woolf's "Orlando", invitees will be asked to craft costumes responding to "About Time: Fashion and Duration."
Few Met Gala themes have been inspired as 2019’s “Notes on Camp.” Inspired by the Susan Sontag essay of the name, it urged guests to decode the meaning between one of the most important features of queer aesthetics: “camp”. There were those that entered into the spirit by embracing maximalist fashion, those like Kanye who shunned the theme entirely, and a whole host of celebs (naming and shaming Karlie Kloss here) who…didn’t quite get it.
The 2020 Met Gala will revolve around something a whole lot more abstract: time. Specifically, guests will heed the theme “About Time: Fashion and Duration” in homage to modernist writer Virginia Woolf’s time-travelling, gender fluid novel Orlando. Over at the Costume Institute, the Met spring exhibition will showcase 150 years of designs pulled from their archive, displayed in ways that interrupt a traditional, linear understanding of time. Speaking to Vogue, the Costume Institute’s curator Andrew Bolton described the event as a “reimagining of fashion history that’s fragmented, discontinuous, and heterogeneous.”
Beyond the fact that Woolf is a pretty problematic figure if you scratch beneath the surface, the theme feels very now. 2020 will not only mark the beginning of a new decade, but also emerges amidst a new understanding of history as more and more individuals attempt to recuperate the lost or overlooked voices of the past. Simultaneously, it feels like we live in an age that is more punishingly regulated by time than ever before; whether it’s our timeline refreshing every few seconds, the omnipresence of the digital clock on all of our digital devices, or the knowledge that climate change means we don’t have all too much time left.
The nature of time (which is, when you think of it, a social construct) is one of the biggest existential questions that humans face and has been a topic of thought for everyone from Zen Buddhist philosopher Dōgen to Thomas of Aquinas.
The most recent individual to weigh in on the conundrums of time? Gemma Collins. Check out an abridged version of her musings below.
7 November 2019