Written by Maria Fernanda Varney 

An overview, predictions, and relevance to the change in consumer values

After much needed respite following fashion month and the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike, actors and actresses are restoring the red carpet. A literal parade of promotion and mass-release of media ensues, previously postponed. And what better way to stand out than method dressing? Think of Hunter Schafer and stylist Dara Allen curating looks for the ‘Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ premieres and press junkets. Amidst this celebrity revival, how apt is it that the Metropolitan Museum of Art, affectionately known as the MET, has announced the theme for 2024 “Sleeping beauties: reawakening fashion”. Fuelling the latest ‘reawakening’ after prolonged silence of the entrainment industry. This article will cover the longstanding tradition of the gala, what the theme entails and predictions for fashion’s biggest night.

Hunter Schafer Promotional Looks. Left to right Marni SS24, Alexander McQueen Pre-fall 23, Schiaparelli FW23, Prada SS09.

What is the MET Gala?

For those unaware the MET Gala is an annual fundraiser for the upkeep and continuation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fashion’s biggest night of the year always occurs on the first Monday of May, to pay homage to the opening of the first costume exhibit in 1946. Since it’s inception, the gala has gained social traction – with the attendance of celebrities and it’s growing coverage, it has transcended into a cultural milestone… for fashion anyway.

It is a known fact that “the MET gala has more media coverage than the Superbowl”- NY Times

Seats are bought to attend the gala either by designers or celebrities themselves, this is how the money is raised. Attendees must be culturally relevant and approved by Anna Wintour, the editor and chief of Vogue, who co-chairs the event. Four other celebrities are invited as co-chairs by Wintour herself and they assist in curating the guest list, working on the decorations and the set menu for the event. EVERYTHING MUST BE ON THEME. The theme of the MET exhibition is also extended dress code of the red carpet for those in attendance.


The costume institute curator Andrew Bolton has explained that the exhibition is comprised of 250 archived pieces pulled from the MET’S permanent collection. The pieces are too fragile to be worn on the body today, they cannot withstand environmental impacts such as intense lighting, tension and body sweat. Due to the delicate nature of the pieces the public are not usually afforded the luxury of beholding such archival works, but the MET is leaning into their history as an epicentre of the arts not only through the breadth and age of the works but also through the financial ability to display the collection in a sustainable and innovative way. It is outlined that there will be the use of glass coffins, suspension, sound, considered lighting, recreations, AI and CGI to produce an immersive experience. The treasured pieces are being “reawakened” and reenjoyed, hence the title. By showcasing the archival pieces, the MET is bringing sustainability to the forefront of its platform. Broadening the conversation on reuse and recognising the shift in consumer demands regarding sustainability and transparency of the supply chain.

Curation for the exhibit by Andrew Bolton, MET Website.

Emanuela Prandelli, LVMH Associate Professor of Fashion & Luxury Management, highlights how millennials and gen Z are disrupting traditional sales models, redefining how fashion is consumed. Exclusive use of vintage and archived pieces are being championed as there is added value of the stories the pieces are imbued with as well as being socially accepted means to avoid unnecessary waste, a new model for rethinking ownership.

Claims of damage: Close-up of Kim wearing Marilyn Monroe’s dress.

Controversy has sparked that the theme is in response to the previous MET gala “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”, where Kim Kardashian wore an archived Bob Mackie dress that was infamously worn by Marilyn Monroe when singing happy birthday to late American president John F Kennedy. Resounding backlash was received that by wearing such a fragile and aged garment that the dress was permanently disfigured, especially along the zipper. Discourse was sparked about the treatment and preservation of pre-existing garments.

Three main considerations: Sustainability, Fragility/Temporality, Natural imagery.


Prediction 0.5: Someone references or parodies Kim

Kardashian and the Marilyn Monroe Dress.

As the Marilyn dress has already sparked up so much controversy and relevance to this theme, I would not be surprised if Kim herself references it herself. If not her then someone else will seize the opportunity to start conversations.

Prediction 1: Archival pieces worn.

Wearing archival pieces has been popular for the past 5 MET galas now, and this is an opportune moment for it to become widespread.

Archival Chanel Met Gala looks. Left to Dua Lipa in Chanel FW92, Naomi Campbell in Chanel SS10 , Lily-Rose Depp in Chanel SS92.

Prediction 2: Modern Reinterpretations and or custom pieces based off archive.

For those deterred by the events of last year, wearing a recreation or custom piece will help avoid blame and backlash.

Re-imagining of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Cone bra. Left to right  JPG RTW84, JPG SS22 ,JPG Custom1990, JPG SS92.

Prediction 3: Someone takes the theme at surface value ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

References to sleep wear and or the fairy-tale of the same name, someone always takes the literal approach (Jared Leto at 2023 MET “Karl Lagerfeld: A line of beauty”), whether or not it truly aligns with the messaging of the exhibition.

Taking the theme literally. Left to right Viktor and Rolf AW05, Studio SCPS (custom), Viktor and Rolf AW05, Zac Foster 2021, Mark Jacobs 2015.

Prediction 4:  Intricate and delicate looking garments.

The intricacies communicate the idea of fragility such as the works of Iris Van Herpen.

Iris Van Herpen Works. Left to right  IVH FW18,IVH HC22.

Prediction 5: Temporary  pieces.

Clothing that is only worn once, often part of a performance piece. Lady gaga doesn’t shy away from performing at the MET 2019 “Camp: Notes on fashion”.

Pieces temporary in Nature. Left to right Alexander McQueen SS99, Frank Fernandez 2010 (custom), Coperni SS23.

Spare some thought for your own personal predictions for what will be gracing the red carpet. Will they reuse an old carpet? Prepare your own bingo card to cross off during the night, ideal for competitive housemates and your drink of choice. You can include specific designers, ideas and celebrities in attendance.

Example Below:

Edited By: Bola Johnson


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