Lucas Ferretti/ Flickr
Lucas Ferretti/ Flickr

Met in the making: claims and conspiracies surrounding 2024’s Met Gala ’Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion ’

The time has come once again for our beloved A-list celebrities to set their ideas in motion to spark trends and lasting conversations for the upcoming 2024 Met Gala-themed ‘Sleeping Beauties’. The prestigious Met Gala will unveil the Costume Institute Exhibition on the first Monday in May, as has been customary for the past 30 years, in the highly acclaimed Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan’s beloved Central Park.

The 2024 Met Gala will serve as a metaphor for fashion, its fragility, and its ephemerality

Coordinated and controlled by Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour, the event has acquired a distinguished reputation for celebrating unparalleled creativity within the realm of fashion. In the past, themes have drawn from religion, such as 2018’s ’Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ and last year’s ’Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’, inspired by the German designer best known for his modern revival of the legendary French fashion house Chanel. 2024’s conceptual vision has high hopes of reaching the same level of distinction as its predecessors. At first glance, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ screams Disney princess fantasy, a fitting motif considering the live-action recreations of  Snow White and Princess and the Frog are set to premiere in 2024. However, there is more depth behind the deceptively simple title. Andrew Bolton, head curator of the exhibition, expressed that the beauties dormant in our midst focus more on “nature, which will serve as a metaphor for fashion and for its fragility and its ephemerality,” including an exploration of the past and the renaissance of socially outdated clothing and the extinct materials with which they are manufactured. Brand stylist Gabriela Langone told Insider that she interpreted the impending Gala to represent “a full circle of fashion“, breathing life into historically grand garments. Therefore, despite Zendaya’s show-stopping Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo-inspired ballgown being spectacular, is the exaggerated awe anticipated at 2024’s Met Gala a chillingly spectacular awakening of our senses?

The critical issue on the minds of fashion enthusiasts undoubtedly revolves around the designers set to feature. With an abundance of time until the Gala, several featured designers have already been confirmed, notably Phillip Lim, Stella McCartney, and Conner Ives: a series of statement fashion brands leading the modern era. The confirmation of long-standing marvels is equally prevalent, including fan favourites such as Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior. Influential designers such as Gabriel Hearst, famous for her classy collections that channel the brand’s core value of sustainability, could also be in line for the show.

The Met Gala encourages freedom of speech that spans across all sectors of social injustice

Lest we forget the former breath-taking moments that the occasion has been host to, such as the Dior number pulled off by Princess Diana, which deconstructed the royal stereotype and dazzled dozens across the globe. Defying the strictly conservative-styled regal fashion image, the princess attended the Met Gala in a navy-blue slip dress, establishing her footprint in fashion. A decade earlier, phenomenal music artist Madonna iconically dressed ‘Like a Virgin’, using style as a voice for sexual emancipation by shrewdly juxtaposing it with religious connotation. Vivienne Westwood, an advocate of political fashion and renowned designer herself, famously stated: “I just use fashion as an excuse to talk about politics. Because I’m a fashion designer, it gives me a voice, which is good”. The Met Gala has been and will continue to be a platform that encourages freedom of speech that spans across all sectors of social injustice.

Yet the controversial nature of the event has already permeated this year’s theme, as many have taken to social media to question the underlying motives of the idea centred around the sensitive preservation of history within the fashion industry. The conversation gained momentum with the discussion of Kim Kardashian’s contentious ‘destruction’ of Marilyn Monroe’s former dress because the fit was allegedly damaged due to clamps and missing rhinestones. The underlying message behind  Sleeping Beauties can be interpreted as a potential dig at the viral celebrity’s actions. A tweet called the theme “ironic”, pointing out that the “‘theme is about fragile historic garments but Kim Kardashian wore and destroyed the Marilyn Monroe dress to the Met two years ago, the call is coming from inside the house”’. Whether a subtle stab at Kardashian’s past choice or simply a mere coincidence, the gasps and jaw-drops ahead of 2024’s Met Gala have already begun, embodying the nature of one of fashion’s most favoured displays.


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