This past weekend I had the true treat of a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and saw the Costume Institute’s 2020 special exhibition About Time: Fashion and Duration.
The exhibition, originally supposed to debut at the beginning of the summer, picked the concept of time in honor of the Met’s 150 year anniversary. The exhibition plays with the concept of time by creating a timeline of fashion with pieces from the Costume Institute collection starting from 1870 to present day.
A timeline moves through two rooms and each garment is on display with a counter-piece. The oldest garments in the collection were paired with a newer “interpretation” of the same silhouette, detail, or concept.
It was also fun to see how designers were represented on the timeline, like Elsa Shiaparellia who appeared first as a “newer” garment paired with an 1870 garment, and then later appeared as the older garment paired with 1978 Yves Saint Laurent jacket. Picture above, an original Coco Chanel suit from 1963 is paired with a 1994 Chanel suit designed under Karl Lagerfeld.
As we reached the end of the timeline, newer couture pieces were paired with a historic piece. New technologies were paired with classic silhouettes demonstrating that the exaggerated pieces we see on the runaway are often rooted in very old ideas.
The Costume Institute exhibit runs through February 7th. One note: due to COVID-19 restrictions, both the museum and the exhibition require an advanced ticket (as does the Met’s Making the Met: 1870-2020 exhibition). Be sure to reserve both tickets in advance for in order to gain admission.