The Met Unveils The Costume Institute’s Spring 2024 Exhibition

by | May 14, 2024 | Art

Isaac Mirazhi (Photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

CFDA: The Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled today The Costume Institute’s spring 2024 exhibition, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion. On view now through September 2nd, 2024, the exhibition features 220 garments and accessories that are connected visually through nature, which also serves as a metaphor for the transience of fashion.

This time around, the exhibition takes a refreshing and unconventional approach by creating sensorial experiences beyond just sight. You can smell and you can touch. Not the clothes, per se, but visitors can smell aromatic histories of hats bearing floral motifs and touch walls of galleries embossed with the embroidery of select garments.

From all 220 garments spanning four centuries on view, 10 CFDA members have designs featured in this year’s exhibition.

In the “Van Gogh’s Flowers” exhibition section, Kate and Laura Mulleavy gained inspiration through the renowned artists’ paintings of sunflowers. The Rodarte dress features digitally printed images which evoke Van Gogh’s dimensional brushwork with their own subversive take on the classic artwork.

On the other hand, an Isaac Mizrahi dress from his spring-summer 1992 collection under the “Poppies” section makes explicit associations with blood and death.

Charles James (Photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The late Charles James appears in several sections, most notably under “Butterflies,” with a ball gown comprising a narrow, body-hugging chrysalis sheath of pleated brown silk chiffon over a cream silk satin ground, and an exuberant “winged” bustle skirt of nylon tulle in layers of brown, rust, and lavender that effect a butterfly’s multilayered coloration.

Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada celebrated the unique relationship between female monarch butterflies and milkweed—the only plant on which female monarch butterflies can lay their eggs and from which their caterpillars can feed. The dress from her spring-summer 2023 “Got Milkweed?” show took place at the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s Naval Cemetery Landscape, designated a Monarch Waystation by the organization Monarch Watch due to the amount of milkweed varieties planted in the meadow.

Left to right: Thom Browne, Altuzarra, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Norman Norell (Photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

American fashion representation was felt in full force in “The Mermaid,” the closing section of the exhibition. Fantastical ocean sirens have long been a source of inspiration as powerful enchantresses, and the sequined dress by Norman Norell epitomizes the long lines and elegance of a mermaid fin. Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors both reprised Norell’s design, and the shimmering surfaces across all three dresses depict sequins suspended in water.

Joseph Altuzarra plays with auditory sensorial experiences by exploring the mermaid’s sonic allure with an Altuzarra dress embroidered with metal paillettes, which in movement, resound like gentle waves.

CFDA Chairman Thom Browne proposes a demi-couture gold jacket and dress combination with a more direct interpretation of a mermaid, featuring a seashell bikini-like top.

Phillip Lim “Algae Sequin” dress (Photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Eco-conscious Phillip Lim experiments with plastic alternatives to sequins in his “Algae Sequin” dress, produced in collaboration with Charlotte McCurdy, featuring bioplastic paillettes derived from algae which recall seaweed tendrils, producing the same glamorous effect while being carbon negative.

The Costume Institute’s spring exhibitions always serve as major inspiration for the Met Gala’s dress code, and we’ll stay tuned for all the American fashion interpretations of tonight’s dress code, “The Garden of Time.”

 Aldo Araujo



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