Inside the Met

S1 E3 | CLIP

The Costume Institute Prepares for “About Time”

Watch as designers, curators and more walk us through the preparations for The Met’s highly-anticipated Costume Institute show “About Time.”

AIRED: May 28, 2021 | 0:02:35

- [Narrator] The Costume Institute doesn't do dowdy.

Their annual exhibition is always an extravaganza.

Fashionably on time,

the department is preparing

their anniversary year blockbuster show.

- These are the biggest exhibitions that we do at The Met

without a doubt.

Broadway theater is probably the closest

to this kind of level of production.

- [Narrator] About Time needs to draw crowds

and make a big statement.

The Met's still got it.

- It's a massive undertaking.

Of course, this was conceived of before everything happened

and actually completely built and it had to sit

in the production company warehouse

for three months until we could bring them in.

- [Narrator] This is the type of show visitors expect

from The Met,

from a time before COVID

when the place was awash with cash.

(cameras snapping)

Much of the money came from the 2019 Met Ball,

the gala event that every year funds

the museum's Costume Institute.

Gotham's glossiest social events brings out the stars

for the ultimate photo opportunity.

Designers dress them in couture

that echoes the themes of the annual exhibition.

But in 2020, COVID has taken the ball away.

The Costume Institute's head curator

will miss the money

but also the glow the event provides.

- The show gets so much attention

through the attention the gala gets,

it's such an extraordinary moment.

The show really basks in its reflected glory.

And it's a time for the community

to come and celebrate fashion.

So that's been sad.

- [Narrator] Bolton's About Time,

a meditation for The Met's anniversary year.

Lead designer Patrick Herron

has made the passage of time central

to the setting.

- There are two different clocks.

Clock one, clock two.

We're currently in clock two.

- So it's 120 garments in 60 pairings.

- The show looks at fashion and temporality.

We wanted to highlight master works

from our collection

and we had this concept of The Met's 150 years.

So we're producing two timelines.

The lower rung is a very linear chronology of fashion

but the second timeline behind,

pieces that relate through the silhouette

or material or motif or decoration.

So through these pairings,

rather than having time as a succession of events,

it's this coexistence of the past and the present.