Met Gala officially announces its 2024 theme: ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’

The theme for the 2023 Met Gala honoured late designer Karl Lagerfeld

Meredith Clark
New York
Friday 10 November 2023 17:19 GMT
Related: Met Gala 2023: Best looks from the red carpet

The theme for the 2024 Met Gala has finally been revealed.

On Wednesday 8 November, Vogue announced that the upcoming theme for the annual fashion fundraiser will be “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion”.

The Met Gala - held each year in New York City on the first Monday in May - is a star-studded fashion extravaganza that supports the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. According to Vogue, the exhibit will be centred around 50 historically significant pieces, some of which are far too fragile ever to be worn again. These are the “Sleeping Beauties”.

Nearly 250 items will also be drawn from the Costume Institute’s permanent collection, featuring designs from Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Givenchy to span 400 years of fashion history.

“This innovative show will push the boundaries of our imagination and invite us to experience many facets of a work, to learn more about its history, and, ultimately, to gain a deeper appreciation of its beauty,” said Max Hollein, the Met’s Marina Kellen French director and CEO.

One of the most fragile pieces of the collection includes an Elizabethan bodice and a silk satin ball gown from 1877 by the American couturier, Charles Frederick Worth. In fact, these items served as the theme’s original inspiration. Although they’re too old to fulfill their original function, the bodice and satin ball gown will be present throughout the exhibit through display technology.

An illusion technique known as Pepper’s ghost will be key to the “Sleeping Beauties” collection, which involves placing a large piece of glass at an angle so that it reflects an object off-stage, making it appear like a ghostly figure on-stage. The Met will also use video animation, light projection, soundscaping, artificial intelligence, and CGI to “weave a contextual fabric of understanding around each piece”.

“Fashion is one of the most emotional artistic forms because of its connection to the body,” said Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “It is imbued with memory and emotions, and we relate to it very much via our senses. One thing I hope this show will activate is that sensorial appreciation of fashion.”

The exhibition will be designed around three main zones: land, sea, and sky. Each “zone” will symbolise the natural materials used within it to create garments. “It is very much an ode to nature and the emotional poetics of fashion,” Bolton added. By emphasising the natural world and how its been used in fashion throughout time, sustainability will remain a key focus throughout the exhibit.

The theme for last year’s Met Gala was in honour of the late legendary designer, Karl Lagerfeld. “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” aimed to examine Lagerfeld’s legacy by bringing together 150 creations from his time as creative director of Fendi, Chloe, and Chanel. However, the theme sparked considerable backlash due to Lagerfeld’s controversial history of making fatphobic, homophobic, and derogatory comments towards women.

The Met Gala is the annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. As a result, the price to attend the event can cost as high as $50,000 per person. While the dress code and co-chairs for the 2024 Met Gala have yet to be announced, one thing is for certain: Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief, will once again serve as co-chair and will have final say over the celebrity guest list.

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