“A disruptive timeline of fashion history from 1870 to the present.”
As part of The Met’s 150th anniversary celebration, the Costume Institute’s spring 2020 exhibition will trace more than a century and a half of fashion—from 1870 to the present—along a disruptive timeline. 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.
A timeline of 120 fashions will unfold in two adjacent galleries fabricated as enormous clock faces and organized around the principle of sixty minutes of fashion. Each “minute” will feature a pair of garments—the primary work representing the linear nature of fashion and the secondary work its cyclical character. Each pair will be connected through shape, motif, material, pattern, technique, or decoration.
The exhibition will conclude with a section on the future of fashion, linking the concept of duration to debates about longevity and sustainability. The exhibition is made possible by Louis Vuitton.