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  • Writer's pictureMaria Yoon

#FashionForward: Exploring the Latest Trends and Innovations in the World of Fashion. Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, 2024

Updated: May 20

Birds influenced hat designs domed shapes like molecular galleries.


This year's Met's Sleeping Beauties exhibition, curated by Andrew Bolton in collaboration with renowned image maker Nick Knight, founder of SHOWstudio, is an extraordinary showcase of art, design, and sensory exploration. Bolton's expertise in curating and Knight's artistic vision come together to create a visually stunning presentation that engages attendees in a multisensory experience. This unique collaboration brings together their distinct perspectives, resulting in a truly captivating and immersive exhibition.

Touch and Smell
Rose's sensory room had red as its inspiration and signature color for various couture houses.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is the section dedicated to the usage of taxidermy, particularly focusing on birds, which was prevalent during the early 1900s. This thought-provoking segment sheds light on the unfortunate consequences of fashion sacrificing endangered bird species. The centerpiece of this room is a captivating display that highlights the children's fairytale of the nightingale and the red rose necklace, inspired by Oscar Wilde's poem. This whimsical piece has the potential to both enchant and haunt young minds, sparking their imagination and fascination with the natural world.

In addition to the visual and auditory experiences, the exhibition incorporates the sense of touch and smell. Rose's sensory room takes inspiration from the color red, which is a signature hue for various couture houses. To enhance the sensory experience, artist Sissel Tolaas, known for her work with Demna at Balenciaga, has developed scents that accompany specific installations. These scents create a multi-dimensional atmosphere, further immersing visitors in the exhibition's ambiance.

The core exhibit spans 400 years of fashion history, featuring designs from different eras and renowned designers such as Phillip Lim, Stella McCartney, and Connor Ives. From a 17th-century English Elizabethan-era bodice to modern acquisitions, the exhibition showcases the evolution of fashion and its relationship with the natural world.

Flower Garden Hats
Garden room and floral smell with the natural dye influence

Designs by iconic fashion creators like Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Hubert de Givenchy are also prominently featured, highlighting their significant contributions to the industry.

Among the various exhibits, the exquisite hand-painted floral dresses stand out as a personal favorite. These stunning garments seamlessly blend influences from Asia and the West, showcasing a remarkable fusion of artistic techniques and cultural inspirations. The intricate designs and vibrant color palettes captivate the audience, leaving them in awe of the craftsmanship and creativity behind these pieces. The exhibition also pays tribute to renowned designer Ana Maria Gaitwaite, whose innovative approach to floral designs for silk fabrics in the 18th Century elevated the artistry and visual appeal of waistcoats. Gaitwaite's meticulous attention to detail and mastery of floral watercolors transformed these garments into true masterpieces.

A noteworthy aspect of the exhibition is the inclusion of flower garden hats, which create a garden-like atmosphere and evoke natural scents.

Socialite Natalie Potter
Wedding Dress, 1930

The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor TikTok, whose commitment to the arts and culture community is commendable. Running from May 10 to September 2, 2024, the exhibition provides ample time for visitors to explore and engage with the artworks and installations. The grand opening will follow the prestigious Met Gala, which takes place on May 6. The Met Gala serves as the primary source of funding for The Costume Institute's activities, making it a crucial event for supporting the museum's initiatives. Join us on this extraordinary journey of art, design, and sensory exploration as we invite art enthusiasts and visitors to immerse themselves in this unparalleled exhibition. Experience the beauty, history, and creativity that lie at the intersection of fashion and the natural world.


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