Loungewear is officially in vogue. Maybe.
Unveiled today, the 2024 Met Gala theme is “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” My instincts told me the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art drew inspiration from Kim Kardashian’s booming loungewear empire (SKIMS), Justin Bieber’s viral gray sweat set or maybe the underwear-as-outerwear trend. But the 2024 theme actually has nothing to do with loungewear trends or the Disney princess. It’s deeper than that.
“Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” will use “the natural world as a uniting visual metaphor for the transience of fashion” and “the show will explore cyclical themes of rebirth and renewal, breathing new life into these storied objects through creative and immersive activations designed to convey the smells, sounds, textures, and motions of garments that can no longer directly interact with the body,” the Met said in a press release.
While the dress code has not been released, the de facto fashion show aims to highlight immersive garments, the renewal process and historical pieces as well as fashion pieces that have been laid to rest.
“Punctuating the exhibition will be a series of ‘sleeping beauties’ — garments that can no longer be dressed on mannequins due to their extreme fragility — that will be displayed in glass ‘coffins’ allowing visitors to analyze their various states of deterioration as if under a microscope,” per a Met press release.
There will be roughly 250 rare items from the Costume Institute on display, spanning four centuries of fashion history, per Vogue. Extremely fragile pieces will be creatively displayed through video animation, CGI, artificial intelligence and light projection.
“The Met’s innovative spring 2024 Costume Institute exhibition will push the boundaries of our imagination and invite us to experience the multisensory facets of a garment, many of which get lost when entering a museum collection as an object,” Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French director and CEO, per a Met press release.
“‘Sleeping Beauties’ will heighten our engagement with these masterpieces of fashion by evoking how they feel, move, sound, smell and interact when being worn, ultimately offering a deeper appreciation of the integrity, beauty and artistic brilliance of the works on display.”
A look at recent Met Gala themes
Fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert launched the first Met Gala in 1948, per Vogue. In nearly nine decades, the gala has evolved into the social event — nicknamed “the Oscars of the East Coast” — we know today.
Let’s take a look at the five most recent Met Gala themes.
2023: “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”
Despite garnering controversy, last year’s Met Gala honored the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. Famous for breathing life back into the Chanel brand and rerouting the future of fashion, Lagerfeld is often hailed as a genius. He was also a self-proclaimed “big mouth” — notorious for his controversial commentary about “ugly” and fat phobia.
Controversy did not ward off galagoers. It was an eventful Met Gala: Jared Leto dressed as Lagerfeld’s legendary cat, Karlie Kloss used the spotlight to announce her pregnancy, and Anna Wintour and Billy Nighy hard-launched their relationship, as reported by the Deseret News.
2022: “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”
If there is anything worth noting about the 2022 Met Gala, it’s Blake Lively’s Versace gown. Paying homage to the Statue of Liberty, Lively’s gown dramatically transformed from a beaded bronze with a large bow and unraveled to reveal a long, green train, per Harper’s Bazaar.
2021: “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Met Gala was pushed to September — it is traditionally held in May. Sports stars to musicians filled the red carpet with unique interpretations on American fashion. Perhaps most notable was Billie Eilish, who paid homage to Marylin Monroe in a stunning Oscar de la Renta gown, per The New York Times.
2020: “About Time: Fashion and Duration”
In honor of the Met’s 150th anniversary, the gala explored fashion ranging from 1970 (the year the museum opened) to 2020, pulling inspiration from Virginia Woolf and French philosopher Henri Bergson, per The New York Times.
But it was the gala that never was. Scheduled at the height of the pandemic, the gala was initially postponed and later canceled.
“The Met has endured much in its 150 years and today continues as a beacon of hope for the future. This museum is also a profound reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the power of art to offer comfort, inspiration, and community,” Daniel H. Weiss, president of the museum, said at the time of the gala’s cancellation, per Vogue.
2019: “Camp: Notes on Fashion”
The 2019 gala theme gave stars an excuse to pull out the wackiest, over-the-top looks the (pink) carpet saw in decades. Ezra Miller transformed into an optical illusion. Jared Leto carried a wax replica of his own head. Katy Perry dressed as a chandelier. Cara Delevingne donned a crown made of dentures and bananas. And Lady Gaga’s dress required a crew of escorts.
When is the 2024 Met Gala?
As per tradition, the 2024 Met Gala will be held on the first Monday in May — May 6 — at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, per Vogue.
To watch coverage of the Met Gala red carpet from home, livestreams are typically available online from Vogue, Rolling Stone and E!. Coverage historically begins at 4 p.m. MDT.