Actress Kate Hudson and singer Lady Gaga arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) in 2016. Picture: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Actress Kate Hudson and singer Lady Gaga arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) in 2016. Picture: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The return of the Met Gala

By Buhle Mbonambi Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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FASHIONISTAS wailed loudly when the the Covid-19 pandemic stole from them the most important fashion event of every year, the Met Gala.

Hosted every first Monday in May, the annual gathering of fashion, business, politics, Hollywood and tech, had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Many had already given up hope about being at Met Gala this year until Vogue and the Metropolitan Museum of Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute announced that it will be staged in September 2021.

The two-part exhibition will be presented over 2021 and 2022 in two areas of the Met.

Vogue reports that the first exhibition will be themed: “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” and will open in the Anna Wintour Costume Center on September 18, 2021.

It will remain on display when next year’s exhibition, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”, opens on May 5, 2022.

Both shows will end on September 5, 2022.

The theme will focus on American fashion and how much it has changed since 1998’s “American Ingenuity”.

There has been many changes when it comes to American fashion and also the psyche of Americans has changed, thanks to the political ructions and social justice movements that have been happening since then.

The exhibition will break down the timeline of American fashion by presenting narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of those spaces, a statement released by the museum states.

“Over the past year, because of the pandemic, the connections to our homes have become more emotional, as have those to our clothes,” Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu curator in charge of The Costume Institute, said on the choice of theme.

“For American fashion, this has meant an increased emphasis on sentiment over practicality.”

We all know the big American designers like Halston, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Tom Ford, Oscar de la Renta, Dapper Dan and Ralph Lauren will likely feature in the exhibition. However, there’s a new crop of designers who have upended the fashion scene in New York and have breathed new life into what is American fashion.

It would be a misfire if the exhibition does not dedicate a huge chunk of it’s real estate to the contributions of black designers and designers of colour who are not only leading the fashion innovations, but have made inroads in a very difficult industry to be accepted in.

These are designers of colour who are the toast of American fashion that we expect to feature in the exhibition.

LaQuan Smith

This Oct. 10, 2019, photo shows fashion designer LaQuan Smith posing for a portrait in New York. Some see the self-trained Smith as a pioneer in pushing the fashion culture forward. The self-trained designer was rejected by both the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Parsons School of Design. He says he owes his success to staying true to himself and listening to his gut. Moet & Chandon named Smith one of its “Nectar of the Culture” ambassadors on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A designer for the grown and sexy, LaQuan has been one of the designers to watch for sometime now. His brand can form in your face sexy, to edgy couture style that would work on the streets of Seoul.

Kerby Jean-Raymond

Pyer Moss is one of the most loved American brands right now and that’s mostly due to how intentional Kerby Jean-Raymond is about it being a black brand. Moss doesn’t shy away from his inspiration and has infused his identity into his work.

Laura Kim

She worked alongside Oscar de la Renta for 12 years as design director, where she met Fernando Garcia and together they launched one of the hottest brands right now, Monse. They are also creative directors at Oscar de la Renta, where they have revived and modernised the brand.

Andre Walker

Even with more than three decades in the industry, Andre Walker is not a commonly known name to fashion outsiders. But those in the know (and that includes the US’s best designers) have been inspired by his take on fashion – making the most of fabric and making garments on the go and yet they look elegantly chic.

Carly Cushnie

Cushnie was a victim of the pandemic, with the brand having to shutdown, however, it’s archive is impressive. A favourite of Michelle Obama (a dress that should be in the exhibition), Cushnie is all about celebrating the feminine form and boasts empowering silhouettes in her designs.

Telfar Clemens

Telfar currently has the most in-demand line of bags, probably second to Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags. But there’s more to him than just being the designer of It Bag. His conceptual designs have made him a favourite of fashion’s most discerning eyes.

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