It seems like it was just yesterday that Doja Cat turned heads with a silvery, beaded Oscar de la Renta gown with cat ears and a cat-face prosthetic at this year’s Met Gala, paying tribute to Karl Lagerfeld’s beloved cat, Choupette. And yet, as 2024 draws nearer, it’s already time to start thinking about next year’s iteration of fashion’s biggest night. On November 8, The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has just announced that the theme of the 2024 exhibit will be “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.”
While the phrase “Sleeping Beauties” may evoke images of Disney princesses, next year’s exhibit won’t be revolving around fairytales. Rather, it’ll focus on the emotion, creativity and craftsmanship behind some of the most historic pieces in the Met’s fashion archive, spanning over 400 years of history. Around 250 rarely-seen pieces from designers including Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent, among others, will be on view, along with 50 historically significant garments that are too delicate to ever be worn again.
The looks will be displayed throughout three “zones” – Land, Sea, and Sky – that pay tribute to the natural world and highlight the industry’s contemporary focus on sustainability, circular designs and natural materials. On top of that, the exhibit intends to challenge the typical still-life type presentation style of most costume museums – reimagining each piece and bringing it to life using AI, CGI, video animations, projections and soundscapes that stimulate the senses.
“This innovative show will push the boundaries of our imagination and invite us to experience many facets of a work, to learn more about its history, and, ultimately, to gain a deeper appreciation of its beauty,” Max Hollein, the Met’s CEO told Vogue. Meanwhile, the Met teased the exhibit’s cutting-edge curation and technology on Instagram, stating: “When garments enter The Met collection, they can no longer be worn on the human body. So how can we understand the movement and energy of these masterpieces of fashion?”
Now, the dress code hasn’t formally been set but the challenge lies in how celebrities will interpret a more abstract and nuanced theme on the red carpet of the Met Gala, especially when it revolves around garments that are no longer worn. Regardless of their approach, it’s essential that if they delve into the archives to revive iconic “sleeping beauty” gowns, they handle these pieces with the same level of care and reverence as the exhibit itself.
While we wait to see what the A-listers bring to the 2024 Met Gala on May 6, the “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” exhibit will be open to the public from May 10 to September 2, 2024.