It’s “About Time” is the recently announced theme of the 2020 Met Gala. The true question is, time for what? Time for action? Time for change? What is time? So many questions, so little time.
Enough with the philosophical quandary. Let’s fast track this time-machine. It is now the first Monday in May 2020, New York. Celebrities, designers and luminaries far and wide are adorned with elaborate show-stopping outfits. Chaos and mania ensue. The paparazzi, the fans, the media are voyeuristically gawking.
Then, Anna Wintour emerges. Thousands of voices silence in unison as Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar’s “Time” radiates from the speakers and fashion history’s pivotal moments are flashed before our very eyes in shape-shifting costumes. A whole new meaning to time is encapsulated. A fantasy of timelessness. An iconic moment.
The truth is, no one really has any clue what to expect at next year’s 2020 Met Gala theme of “About Time: Fashion and Duration.”
In an interview with Vogue, Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, describes the 2020 Met Gala theme as:
“a reimagining of fashion history that’s fragmented, discontinuous and heterogenous.”
The theme was certainly not drawn from thin air. It was thought-provokingly curated, formulated and crafted to gift the world with an enriched concept. According to Bolton, Virginia Woolf’s novel “Orlando” alongside Sally Potter’s 1992 film Orlando were sources of inspiration for the Met Gala 2020 theme.
Woolf will be acting as a “ghost narrator” for the show, alongside Henri Bergson, the French-Jewish philosopher providing the show’s framework. Bergson famously coined the term “la durée”- the concept of time duration, accumulated time that flows and is indivisible.
In a sense, Woolf’s concept of time being a “continuum” (according to Andrew Bolton) is inextricably connected to fashion. Fashion, like time, is non-linear. It is present and forever evolving and adapting. Bolton’s bold Met Gala concept will certainly draw attention to fashion and its paradoxical relationship with time.
What can either be deemed trendy or comparatively outdated will be perceived as a laggard concept following Met Gala 2020. Bolton’s forward-thinking and innovative mission is to challenge conventional tendencies of separating fashion into eras. Rather Bolton views fashion as not only linear, but cyclical. The paradoxical concept of fashion’s timelessness and ephemerality will be explored at the Met Gala 2020.
According to Bolton in Vogue, the show will be subdivided into two main sections:
“It’s a very rational, regulated chronology of fashion from 1870 to 2020, the timescale of modernity. The second grouping presents what the curator describes as counter-chronologies.”
The cochairs for the Met Gala 2020 are confirmed to be Nicolas Ghesquière, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, and Anna Wintour.
This temporal theme is surely scheduled to be a time-stopper. Eccentric themes, costumes and ideas are a guaranteed melting pot for entertaining enlightenment. The role of fashion’s future in sustainability and eco-fashion is another hopeful angle for the Met Gala 2020.
As we approach a new decade 2020, existentialist thoughts continue to circulate the world’s psyche. In the world of fashion, can we continue to be innovative whilst simultaneously parading sustainability? Can fashion be non-linear, yet timeless? Will garments endure or will planned obsolescence continue to drive hedonistic profit?
At the wake of a new decade, it’s time the world continues to support mindful consumption.
Whilst we eagerly await May 2020, let’s reminisce the highlights from Met Gala’s 2019 theme “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”
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