Past and present have always coexisted, it is a fact. They intersect in the styles, trends, discoveries of the years that form our history and existence. Past and present are like a key, to make us understand how much we have always been connected in the creativity and inventiveness of human discoveries and habits.
In fashion, this tangibility is very visible. The fashion houses constantly carry out an intense search between the past and the present, trying to interpret the future. It seems a bit like a magical ritual, but the future is the interpretation of all the layers that have brought us to today.
On its 150th anniversary, the MET celebrates fashion by making the temporal connection that composes it even more evident.
Historical leaders, from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, are combined with contemporary creations of today. The result is visual poetry, but also deep considerations, in a world that before the Pandemic was perhaps running too fast towards the search for the unseen and the exceptional.
About Time and Fashion re-educate us to reconsider history as a precious source, from which we are not afraid to escape but draw from it.
The exhibition was staged by curator Andrew Bolton, head of the Wendy Yu section of the Costume Institute, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Due to the Lockdown, it had to wait to be inaugurated until today: in fact, on 29 October it will be officially open to the public.
Bolton carried out his research along with two timelines in the period between 1870 and 2020. The first line refers to the sentiment of time developed by the poet Charles Baudelaire, focusing on the fleeting rhythm that separates today from yesterday. The second refers to the writings of the French philosopher Henri Bergson, for whom time is an uninterrupted flow in which thoughts, feelings and memories exist together.
The set-up is divided as between the dials of a clock that marks the time and brings the hands back and forth, in a chronology of 60 minutes.
And indeed there are 60 works, always skilfully combined with the model of historical inspiration, between eras ranging from 1800 to the present day, for visual or conceptual or tactile similarities.
The waiting period at the inauguration was full of non-negligible historical events: certainly, Covid-19 is the main protagonist, but events like Black Lives Matter have shaken souls worldwide, on the rethinking of the next regardless of any skin color or origin.
For this reason, Bolton has decided to make some changes and additions to the selection on display, exhibiting more designer models from populations considered to be minor in history.
The exhibition ends with a white dress, which he chose from the Viktor & Rolf s/s 2020 haute couture collection. The dress is made with pieces of recycled fabric in a patchwork ensemble: an appropriate metaphor to emphasize burning issues for the future of fashion such as inclusivity and its sustainability, to remind us that everything returns, that nothing is destroyed, if when you create you think about history in the round, including the future.