About Time: Fashion and Duration
Exhibition at The Met Fifth Avenue, New York, US
29.10.2020 – 07.02.2021

About Time: Fashion and Duration<br>Exhibition at The Met Fifth Avenue, New York, US <br>29.10.2020 – 07.02.2021

Interruption. Ensembe, Comme des Garcons (Japanese, founded 1969), fall/winter 2004-5
Gift of Comme des Garcon, 2020.
Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

The Costume Institute's exhibition “about Time: Fashion and Duration” traces a century and a half of fashion—from 1870 to the present—along a disruptive timeline, on the occasion of The Met's 150th anniversary. Employing Henri Bergson's concept of la durée (duration), it explores how clothes generate temporal associations that conflate past, present, and future. Virginia Woolf serves as the "ghost narrator" of the exhibition.

The timeline unfolds in two adjacent galleries fabricated as enormous clock faces and organized around the principle of 60 minutes of fashion. Each "minute" features a pair of garments, with the primary work representing the linear nature of fashion and the secondary work its cyclical character. To illustrate Bergson’s concept of duration—of the past co-existing with the present—the works in each pair are connected through shape, motif, material, pattern, technique, or decoration. For example, a black silk faille princess-line dress from the late 1870s is paired with an Alexander McQueen "Bumster" skirt from 1995. A black silk satin dress with enormous leg-o’-mutton sleeves from the mid-1890s is juxtaposed with a Comme des Garçons deconstructed ensemble from 2004.

All of the garments are black to emphasize changes in silhouette, except at the conclusion of the show, where a white dress from Viktor & Rolf’s spring/summer 2020 haute couture collection, made from upcycled swatches in a patchwork design, serves as a symbol for the future of fashion with its emphasis on community, collaboration, and sustainability.

More information:

Press release:

A comprehensive catalog was published for the exhibition:

There is also an extensive online preparation of the exhibition with guides and videos:

Exhibition guide: https://metabouttime.cargo.site/

Extended Exhibition Preview video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NV2gFW-eH4&feature=youtu.be

Exhibition Tour—About Time: Fashion and Duration with Andrew Bolton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7B-xr346JU

Gallery View, Clock Two
Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gallery View, Clock One
Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Timeline: Dress, Iris Van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984), fall/winter 2012-13 haute couture;
Gift of Iris Van Herpen, in honor of Harold Koda, 2016 (2016.185).
Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

Interruption. Ball Gown, Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906-1978), 1951;
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009;
Gift of Mr. and Mis. Robert Coulson, 1964 (2009.300.1311).
Image courtesy of the Metropolotan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope


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