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The Met’s Costume Institute Exhibition, “About Time: Fashion and Duration,” Opens Thursday


The Met’s Costume Institute Exhibition, “About Time: Fashion and Duration,” Opens Thursday

The new display celebrates timeless fashion.

The 2020 Met Gala may have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the exhibition that inspired it is still a go. “About Time: Fashion and Duration” opens this Thursday, October 29, at the Costume Institute of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. This year’s take on the annual display reflects on 150 years of fashion, dating back to 1870, to celebrate the Met’s 150th anniversary. “Employing Henri Bergson’s concept of la durée (duration), it will explore how clothes generate temporal associations that conflate past, present, and future. Virginia Woolf will serve as the ‘ghost narrator’ of the exhibition,” an official description reads.

Sticking to the theme of chronology, there will be two adjacent galleries fashioned as giant clock faces. At each “minute” on the clock, there will be a pair of looks to demonstrate how certain trends and silhouettes have returned. “For example, a black silk faille princess-line dress from the late 1870s will be paired with an Alexander McQueen ‘Bumster’ skirt from 1995,” according to The Met. Every look is in black to show the evolution of silhouettes, except at the end, when a white Viktor & Rolf dress represents the future of fashion.

The exhibit was made possible by Louis Vuitton, and features pieces by artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière, such as a dress and ensemble from the Spring/Summer 2018 collection. A 2011 look from his predecessor, Marc Jacobs, also appears.

To comply with health and safety guidelines during the pandemic, visitors will need to reserve timed tickets to view the exhibition. There won’t be an extra charge if you already bought general admission tickets, but you still need to select a time slot. Only 25 percent of capacity will be allowed in at a time. Tickets go on sale two weeks in advance, so if they’re currently sold out online, try checking again at a later date.

“About Time” opens to the public at noon on Thursday, and closes Sunday, February 7, 2021. Whether you plan to go in person or wish to admire from afar, take a sneak peek of the exhibition ahead.

Left to right: 1895 Mrs. Arnold dinner dress, 2004 Comme des Garçons ensemble, 1895 American raincoat, 2020 JW Anderson coat, 1892 American suit, 1989 Martin Margiela ensemble.
Left: Christian Dior 1947 “Bar suit.” Right: Junya Watanabe 2011 ensemble.
From left to right: 1945 Madame Gres evening dress, 2005 Yohji Yamamoto ensemble, 1943 Pleydell & Smith and Bertha Black Lewry dinner suit, 2000 Martin Margiela jacket, 1938 Elsa Schiaparelli evening jacket, 1978 Yves Saint Laurent “Broken Mirrors” ensemble.
More paired ensembles are displayed against a stunning mirrored backdrop.
Among those in this reflective room are a 2003 Azzedine Alaïa dress, a 1973 Halston dress with an Elsa Peretti belt, and a 1976 Yves Saint Laurent haute couture ensemble.
Left to right: 2009 Raf Simons for Jil Sander dress, 1925 Madeleine Vionnet evening dress, 2007 Prada dress, 1964 Cristóbal Balenciaga dress, 2006 Undercover ensemble, 1949 Christian Dior evening dress, 2005 Viktor & Rolf ensemble, 1939 Madeleine Vionnet evening dress.
Far right: a 2012 Iris van Herpen dress and 1951 Charles James ball gown.
The entryway to the “About Time” exhibition.