Sleeping Beauty would wake up for these gowns

The Associated Press

But there’s no way Sleeping Beauty — either before or after her nap — ever had quite the fabulous wardrobe that’s been assembled at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” the spring Costume Institute exhibit that debuts at Monday’s Met Gala, is not technically about THAT Sleeping Beauty.
Another key difference: This show will be a multisensory experience, involving not just sight but smell, sound and touch.
Curators have also captured sounds of fabrics in an echo-free chamber, and used 3D scans to replicate embroidery patterns for touching.
Despite the scale, “I really wanted to make this intimate and participatory,” Bolton said during a weekend tour through the show.
Bolton explains that Norwegian “smell artist” Sissel Tolaas brought an apparatus that extracted molecules from 57 garments.
For sound, real swallow calls were recorded, and also the “humming” sound from the 1963 movie itself was captured to create tension.
“Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” will open to the public Friday and run through Sept. 2.


Admittedly, she was a princess of the king or queen. However, Sleeping Beauty could never have had a wardrobe quite as amazing as what is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, either before or after her slumber.

Technically speaking, the spring Costume Institute exhibit “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” which makes its debut at the Met Gala on Monday, is not about THAT Sleeping Beauty. In reality, the title alludes to the glass coffins that house sixteen aging garments that are now so delicate that they cannot be displayed upright. Curator Andrew Bolton jokes, “let’s be more upbeat and call them cases.”. Like Aurora herself, these delicate creatures have been sleeping in the museum’s climate-controlled archives.

However, Bolton refers to the nature-themed “Sleeping Beauties” as one of the institute’s most ambitious exhibitions to date (his earlier hits include “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” and “China: Through the Looking Glass”). There are 220 items on display in this show, of which these “beauties” make up a small portion. Because every object on exhibit is a part of the museum’s own collection, it holds particular significance for Bolton as well.

Scent, sound, touch, and sight will all be involved in this show, which is another significant distinction. Scents from clothing were extracted and analyzed by a “smell artist,” who created scents that visitors could now sniff from plastic tubes. The show is divided into themes of earth, air, and water. In addition, curators have employed 3D scans to replicate embroidery patterns for touch and recorded the sounds of fabrics in an echo-free room.

“I really wanted to make this intimate and participatory,” Bolton remarked during a weekend tour of the production, despite its size. You can even text a question to a mannequin dressed in a gown, and she will respond with a ChatGPT-enabled message.

A few highlights:.


The show opens with a ballgown made of satin and chiffon from the late 19th century. The elaborate embroidery, which features golden beads, sequins, and metallic threads, mimics sunbeams emanating from clouds. Bolton claims that there is nothing that can be done to stop the deterioration of the vertical threads, which means that the “cloud dress” designed by the renowned English designer Charles Frederick Worth is doomed.”. With the possible exception of digitally recreating it: a nearby screen features an animated “Pepper’s ghost” illusion, which took nine months to perfect, showing the gown dancing at a ball. The gown was given by the family of Caroline Schermerhorn Astor, who was portrayed by Donna Murphy in HBO’s “The Gilded Age.”.

The noises of razor crashes and “scroop.”.

Three dresses from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries explore the concept of “blurred blossoms,” which is the effect that gives a dress the appearance of an Impressionist painting or a watercolor. Nevertheless, you can also hear “scroop” in this gallery—a mashup of the words “scrape” and “whoop”—which is the sound of rustling silk taffeta. An echo-free room at Binghamton University was used to record the audio. The sound of razor clam shells clattering is captured in a different gallery, perfectly complementing McQueen’s striking “razor clam” dress, which is covered in bleached and dried shells.


Impressionist painters had a great influence on Christian Dior, and this is best shown by the exquisite floral embroidery on the well-known Miss Dior dress—a miniature version of the original. It resembles a stylish, strapless bouquet of flowers, and if you can’t wait to touch it, there’s a tiny, white, 3D printed plastic replica. Additionally, you can run your hands over wallpaper designed to resemble the form and shape of the flowers in the 2013 Raf Simons version of the black dress, which features leather flowers.

Regarding embroidery.

Yves Saint Laurent honored Van Gogh’s well-known painting of irises from a century earlier in 1988 by creating a shimmering jacket renowned for its embroidery. The garment, which required 600 hours of labor from artisans using 250 meters of ribbon, 200,000 beads, and 250,000 paillettes (spangles) in 22 colors, is laid out flat in the museum to provide a closer look.


It should come as no surprise to find rooms dedicated to roses in a show about nature. And you’re welcome to smell them, through fragrances contained in plastic tubes — not just the smell of roses, but also the smell of the clothes and the people who wore them. Bolton explains that Sissel Tolaas, a Norwegian “smell artist,” brought a device that could extract molecules from 57 different types of clothing. The evening gowns by Lanvin and Saint Laurent for Dior produced molecules similar to those found in hay and almonds, tobacco and cockroaches, and even “a mild sex attractant for moths and cockroaches.”. “.

The smell of a woman.

Yes, it was an Al Pacino film, but this place is a gallery honoring Millicent Rogers, the art collector, socialite, and heiress who was renowned for her sense of style and ability to fuse haute couture with local garb. However, this gallery focuses on her fragrance, dissecting molecules from her clothing, such as a 1938 Schiaparelli evening gown made of blue silk crepe, to identify not only her perfumes but also her habits and way of life, “including what she ate, drank, and smoked.”. “.

This coat is alive, but only temporarily.

One of the main attractions in the “Garden Life” section is a grass coat with oat, rye, and wheatgrass planted in the wool itself like soil. The show’s sponsor, Loewe, created a stunning and green design that is currently on display thanks to the work of gala honorary chair Jonathan Anderson. However, because this version cannot be watered, it is dying. A new version in a different stage of life will take its place approximately one week after opening. There are also numerous flowery hats from the Met’s extensive collection here. They have also been tested for smell, and the results predictably included hairspray among other smells like chewing gum and cigarettes.


Bolton has stated that in addition to nature, he wants to portray a range of emotions, including fear. which is exactly how you might feel when you get to the section about flying objects—like the wings of insects and beetles, for example. Additionally, birds. This orange wool jacket worn by McQueen, who is said to have loved Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” is printed with black swallows. The animation on the ceiling is what makes it so eerie: a few black birds at first, then more, until there are so many that the room takes on an unsettling black hue. “14,000 digital swallows” make up the animation, which was made in consultation with wildlife experts and ends with 4,000 simulated feathers. Real swallow calls were used for the sound effects, and to add tension, the “humming” sound from the 1963 film was also recorded.

The public exhibition “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” will open on Friday and run through September. 2.


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