Exhibition

Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion

10 May 2024 – 2 Sep 2024

Regular hours

Friday
10:00 – 21:00
Saturday
10:00 – 21:00
Sunday
10:00 – 17:00
Monday
10:00 – 17:00
Tuesday
10:00 – 17:00
Thursday
10:00 – 17:00

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About

The Costume Institute’s spring 2024 exhibition, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, reactivates the sensory capacities of masterworks in the Museum’s collection through first-hand research, conservation analysis, and diverse technologies—from cutting-edge tools of artificial intelligence and computer-generated imagery to traditional formats of x-rays, video animation, light projection, and soundscapes.

When an item of clothing enters the Costume Institute collection, its status is changed forever. What was once a vital part of a person’s life is now a motionless ‘artwork’ that can no longer be worn or heard, touched, or smelled. This exhibition reanimates these objects, helping us experience them as they were originally intended—with vibrancy, dynamism, and life.

The exhibition features approximately 220 garments and accessories spanning four centuries, all visually connected through themes of nature, which also serves as a metaphor for the transience of fashion. Visitors will be invited to smell the aromatic histories of hats bearing floral motifs; to touch the walls of galleries that will be embossed with the embroidery of select garments; and to experience—via the illusion technique known as Pepper’s ghost—how the “hobble skirt” restricted women’s stride in the early 20th century. Punctuating the galleries will be a series of “sleeping beauties”—garments that can no longer be dressed on mannequins due to their extreme fragility.

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