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Anna Wintour's Subtle Shade? Decoding the Upcoming Met Gala’s Theme Choice

by Veryan Zimber

The Met Gala, arguably one of the most prestigious events of the fashion calendar, regularly dubbed 'The Oscars of Fashion,' released its theme for this year: 'Sleeping Beauties: Reawakened Fashion.'

Each theme over the years has had many interpretations by those who attend, and 2024's theme is no exception.

My immediate thought went to Disney, as there are several films that feature a 'Sleeping Beauty,' which opens up endless opportunities for creations based on perhaps Aurora’s dress or maybe Snow White inspired pieces. It wouldn’t be the first time we have seen garments inspired by Disney on those famous steps; in 2019, Zendaya wore the iconic 'Cinderella' dress which lit up and was nothing short of magical.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a loungewear take on this theme, maybe dressed up pyjamas, after all, pyjama shirts and lace slip dresses became a staple part of outfits in the last few years.

There are definitely celebrities who year after year choose the darkest corners of association with the concept, like Jared Leto adorning a full cat costume as a nod to Karl Lagerfeld’s Burmese cat Choupette, which definitely set the internet ablaze with very mixed opinions. There is always such a broad display of inventive ideas, creating some of the most elaborate outfits, and we can only hope that next year will be no different.

The backbone of the 2024 exhibition is 250 pieces from the Costume Institute's vault, which span 400 years of fashion history, some so delicate they cannot ever be worn again.

Instead, the displays will have modern technologies to help elevate the garments, to once again be seen in all their glory, how they once were.

For some pieces, an illusion technique called Peppers Ghost will be used, along with light projection, soundscaping, AI, and CGI to create a full sensorial experience. Structuring the pieces around three sections: Land, Sea, and Sky, which opens up possibilities to take a sustainable fashion standpoint or outfits influenced by nature; either way, it opens up even more opportunities.

Initially, the reaction to the theme choice was that it could be Anna Wintour’s way of jibing at Kim Kardashian. As her appearance at this year's gala, she wore a nude effect dress covered in rhinestones, originally made for and worn by Marilyn Monroe.

There was much controversy over this dress being worn due to the delicacy of the garment but also in a very different environment from when it was created. The material it is made from, marquisette, a French silk, also known as French souffle fabric, is so delicate that merely touching the fabric can damage it, not to mention the fact that it is highly flammable.

Since the outing of this dress, there has been a dispute as to whether Kardashian damaged it, but this has never been clearly confirmed.

With history being at the center of the museum's annual fundraiser for 2024, highlighting the importance of preservation and how taking care of these historical pieces after centuries allows us to understand and treasure where fashion began, how it influences the future, and, in a lot of ways, become brand new again.

Edited by Emily Duff

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