Temporal Conflation: Time and Duration

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C O N F L AT I O N &



C O N F L AT I O N &


FAIR USE DISCLAIMER This publication was created by the High Fashion Twitter Met Gala (‘HF Met Gala’). It is for non-profitable and educational purposes only. It is a commentary on the Costume Institute's 2020 Met Gala Exhibition "About Time: Fashion and Duration," organized by Andrew Bolton and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accordingly, it evokes the "fair use" protections under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. This volume also contains a selection of image submissions from HF Met Gala participants that were posted online during the event. These participants have granted the HF Met Gala permission to publish their submissions for non-profitable purposes.



Event Invitation Event Foreword Introduction

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Andrew Bolton's Met Gala Theme Inspiration Past, Present & Future ― La Durée Orlando: A Biography By Virginia Woolf Gender Fluidity in Fashion Race Representation in the Fashion Industry

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Fashion in Time


Runway Analyses Vivienne Westwood Spring 1994 Ready to Wear Valentino Fall 2016 Haute Couture Guo Pei Spring 2018 Haute Couture Alexander McQueen Spring 2005 Ready to Wear Thom Browne Spring 2020 Menswear

56 58 62 66 70 74

The Future of Fashion


The High Fashion Twitter Met Gala 2020 Photoset Creation Brand Challenge Illustration Expression Wardrobe Styling Open Creativity

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Bibliography Participants Citations

162 167


This book is dedicated to the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis. Thank you for your bravery, commitment, and tenacity. You are saving lives and protecting others. The long hours, the rough days, the risks you endure do not go unnoticed. We appreciate you, we look up to you, we thank you. To the essential workers who are often underappreciated and overlooked; to the employees and volunteers at non-profit organizations devoted to assisting those at risk or in need; and to everyone staying at home and encouraging their loved ones to do the same, thank you. We will get through this with your leadership. Lastly, to high fashion twitter. Thank you for your support and encouragement; thank you for creating and innovating; thank you for inspiring. This is for you.






As times change and technology develops, the fashion industry, too, must change and develop alongside them. Whether temporarily or permanently, our present times and unprecedented circumstances prompt us to change which fashion events exist and how they take place. Social media has enabled us to connect with fashion enthusiasts from around the world; Twitter, more specifically, is a platform that allows for open critique, for discussion, and most importantly, for community. Fashion devotees within high fashion twitter strive to promote inclusivity, critical analysis, creativity, and diversity. On the first Monday in May, the high fashion twitter community is known to voice these analyses and celebrate the Met Gala. One of the biggest and most well known nights in fashion, the Met Gala is known for sophistication, extravagance and grandeur. However, the Met Gala is equally as notorious for its exclusivity, creating a barrier between the pure art of fashion that the high fashion twitter community celebrates and the reality that is presented on the red carpet. Created by and for the high fashion twitter community, the High Fashion Twitter Met Gala is an annual online companion event to the much celebrated Met Gala itself. As a completely online event without budgets, limits, or person-to-person politics, the HFTMG challenges the community of fashion devotees on high fashion twitter to express their unique interpretations of the theme and push beyond the confines of their creativity. Essentially, it sets the stage for a higher form of escapism - one where the celebration of the art of fashion reigns supreme beyond the limits of real life and the perception of impracticality. A unique brand identity was created to reflect the core concepts of not the event itself, but of the high fashion Twitter community; a balance between freshness and timelessness, the modern and the classic. Hosted for 24 hours on May 4th, 2020, the first annual High Fashion Twitter Met Gala was divided into five categories - photoset creation, brand challenge, wardrobe styling, illustration expression, and open creativity - to allow for each participants’ individuality and creativity to flourish. The stage was set, and the community delivered.



“The idea of the future, pregnant with an infinity of possibilities, is thus more fruitful than the future itself, and this is why we find more charm in hope than in possession, in dreams than in reality.” ― Henri Bergson, Time and Free Will


Time: A flexible, enigmatic, and incomprehensible concept, yet it is one that defines our lives so stringently. Both cyclical and linear, fragmented and integrated, fashion pushes on as a constant reflection of the ages in which we live. But the comfortable rule book of tradition has been thrown out and the world now stagnates at the crossroads of change - will history spark the flame that lights the path towards the future? With our lives now forced to a standstill, how might our relationship with time change? How might fashion evolve to accommodate it? Is the surge of 1970’s aesthetics reflective of the fiercely optimistic desire for freedom and rebellion, or a wry reclamation of bygone bourgeoisie aesthetics in a world with an ever-growing wealth gap? Might the return and reinterpretation of the power suit herald the coming of a new political ideal, one where a softer silhouette means only a stronger layer of armor? Does the rebirth of crochet and extravagant detailing signal the step away from fast-fashion back towards a world where carefully crafted heirloom garments reign supreme? Through the lens of this disrupted world, Temporal Conflation - as hosted by the High Fashion Twitter Met Gala and inspired by Andrew Bolton’s 2020 Met Gala exhibit About Time: Fashion and Duration - explores the relationship between time and fashion, from past to present. Beginning with Henri Bergson’s philosophy of duration, la durée, and contextualized through the defining works of Virginia Woolf, the following catalogue follows the twisting line of time as it relates to the art of fashion. Iconic silhouettes are created and interpreted; techniques are developed and pushed to their limits; and through comparison arises a suggestion towards a new mode of fashion — a sustainable and ethical axiom for the modern age.



“It’s a reimagining of fashion history that’s fragmented, discontinuous, and heterogenous” ― Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute


In November 2019, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that this year’s exhibition would be based on the theme About Time: Fashion and Duration, showcasing a century-and-a-half of fashion history & presented along a “disruptive” timeline. Max Hollein, director of The Met, said: “This exhibition will consider the ephemeral nature of fashion, employing flashbacks and fast-forwards to reveal how it can be both linear and cyclical.” About Time: Fashion and Duration focuses on the relationship that fashion has with time. Within the context of this year’s theme, fashion is understood as both linear and disruptive. We often see fashion as a reflection of the time period to which it belongs, as well as one of the most instantly recognizable and well-remembered aspects of that time period. Despite this, the lines between periods of fashion are slowly blurring - we can see this happening on runways, red carpets, and through popular trends, which are being recycled faster than ever, and never stick for long. From this, the High Fashion Twitter Met Gala organizers came up with the concept “Temporal Conflation:” this year’s dress code. It describes the juxtaposition between time periods, referring to how shape, materials, pattern techniques and decorations can be connected despite era differences.



“An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length; on the other hand, an hour may be accurately represented on the timepiece of the mind by one second.” ― Virginia Woolf, Orlando


PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE — LA DURÉE “Time…is nothing but the ghost of space haunting the reflective consciousness.” — Henri Bergson. Time and Free Will. had been defined in the Theory of Relativity. Rather, Bergson contended, relativity introduced a new form of philosophy which had been adopted into the scientific conversation around Einstein’s theory. Bergson posited that time cannot be defined as a purely scientific and unemotional form of thinking; to do so would simplify the human experience, not just with time but as a whole, as time is so inseparably linked with how we perceive the world. Time exists within a subjective realm, how are we to bring this into a tangible and understandable form?

What is time? Quite the question and one which has sent many a philosopher and physicist into existential spirals - one could spend their entire lives trying to define a concept so nebulous it doesn’t really seem to have a starting point of attack. Time exists as such a purely abstract concept that simply the idea of pinning it down to some sort of tangible notion lies far outside the realm of normal dinner conversation, or light Sunday afternoon reading. So where should we begin? Perhaps we should start with something more familiar: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. In what has come to be a foundational piece of modern physics, German theoretical physicist Albert Einstein proposes that time is relative in comparison with the speed of light, the only true constant measurement in the universe. To Einstein, time exists in the realm of science and one’s own consciousness - philosophy plays no part within it. But, if you may remember, it was not for his Theory of Relativity that Einstein won his Nobel Prize. Despite relativity having catapulted the young physicist to fame, there was one major challenger - the French philosopher Henri Bergson.

When we first learn to conceptualize numbers, to turn them into abstract concepts which are then subjected to the numerous hoops of mathematics, we are taught to relate them to a physical space. We hold one marble in our hand and then add a second marble to learn the number two. Adding another brings us to three, and another makes four, and so forth. Thus, when we form numbers in our mind, we carry with us a spatial representation of what it is these numbers mean. Apart from the number one, Bergson argues, each number is made up of identical though distinct units. To have 150 marbles, however much alike they may be, is to have 150 individual units. We cannot count all 150 marbles as a singular unit as then we would not have 150 marbles, we would have one.

A highly influential philosopher in the late 19th and early 20th century, Bergson was the first to elaborate on what became known as process philosophy - a branch of Western philosophy centered around the concept of change and process. But what defined Bergson’s career was his work with time and simultaneity, particularly the concept of la durée, duration, as defined in his seminal thesis essay Time and Free Will, published in 1889.

Furthermore, Bergson states that when we count numbers what we are counting is not the physical spaces each unit assumes, but rather the duration of the fixed moments in time that the mind ascribes to them. Each step we take towards our final number is a fixed moment in time, itself understood as a fixed moment of space. However, our understanding of numbers, as stated prior, is so inextricably linked with spatial awareness that we simply ignore the fixed moments of space; instead

During a heated impromptu debate in 1922, Bergson argued against Einstein, refuting the claim that time


our mind focuses on the duration of time. When we reach our final answer, which is in this case a number, what we have counted up thus is the duration from start to finish. This is precisely the reason why we are unable to fully grasp infinitely large numbers - we simply do not have the adequate spatial or chronological understanding to do so.

pects, each holding a cultural significance all their own. Each reference exists within an individual moment in time and, through the use of a historical reference, one can bring the cultural significance of that moment into the modern era. The past can be perceived through the lens of the present, continuous multiplicity displayed through fabric.

In pure duration, the linearity of time is deconstructed, removing the succession of one moment to the next in favor of a parallel model. Moments of duration occur simultaneously and thus pure duration must be fully qualitative - to measure duration would require a symbolic representation of time in space, something that Bergson argues cannot exist. It introduces a concept Bergson names as “continuous or qualitative multiplicity,” the idea that one moment can be perceived within another, with no resemblance to a number which separates them. Thus, pure duration exists only within the realm of consciousness as the form that the mind assumes when it refrains from separating the past from the present; when it releases the bonds of the conscious state from a single moment in time.

Modern fashion history has become a history of references, a repetitive cycle harnessing the power of multiplicity in a new form: intertextuality. As the world continues to move at an increasingly rapid pace, intertextuality emerges as a new form of social and emotional currency, a simple way to communicate ideas from the past and weave them into our present lives. First defined and introduced by philosopher Julia Kristeva as “an intersection of textual surfaces rather than a point,” intertextuality has expanded beyond its origins in the literary world, weaving the concept of multiplicity across all art mediums, including that of fashion. In a postmodern era, intertextuality allows for multiple moments in time, the discontinuous units which we are counting, to be woven into a single garment. Once created the garment takes on a refractory role, resulting in an infinite number of possible interpretations and associations for each individual and inspiring pure duration within the mind.

Duration is also discontinuous. To return once again to our example, each marble exists as its own indivisible entity, and thus the formation of the full set is discontinuous and jagged. We can see that the individual units used to form a number have no smooth connection between them; a small leap of faith must be taken from one to two. But, once the number is fully formed, it is divisible in an infinite number of ways; once the final product is reached, it contains within it an infinite number of possibilities.

Both a reflection to the time periods in which it belongs and a mirror to times past, the medium of fashion exists as reflection of duration itself. Through continuous multiplicity and the unit of references, fashion is able to transcend the era in which it may be physically bound, creating a parallel narrative that simultaneously casts a window back towards the past and whilst keeping an eye towards the future.

In fashion, references serve as our units. The cultural significance of a garment is built up of individual as-



“Books are the flowers or fruit stuck here and there on a tree which has its roots deep down in the earth of our earliest life, of our first experiences.” ― Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway


ORLANDO: A BIOGRAPHY BY VIRGINIA WOOLF “I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only the past.” — Virginia Woolf

Recognized as one of the greatest 20th-century modernist writers, Virginia Woolf was born Adeline Virginia Stephen in 1882 to a large, wealthy family in London. Her family’s wealth allowed her to pursue a career in the arts, which eventually brought her to King's College London where she studied classics and history. Woolf was greatly affected by the death of her parents and two of her siblings, which led her to numerous depressive episodes; episodes which would grow to shape her novels.

ature in gender and transgender studies this novel has been adapted many times; most well-recognized is Sally Potter’s 1992 film, Orlando, which gave inspiration to the 2020 Met Gala theme. According to Vita’s son Nigel Nicolson, Orlando, inspired by Woolf’s love for Vita, was the “most charming love letter in literature.” In the novel, she “explores Vita, weaves her in & out of centuries, tosses her from one sex to another, dresses her in furs, drops a veil of mist around her.” Placed as our seminal protagonist of Orlando, Vita takes on a multitude of personalities as Orlando journeys through nearly 300 years of history. In one notable moment, the previously male Orlando awakens from his sleep, naked in his bed, as a woman. Orlando looks at her new body in the mirror and remarks “Different sex. Same person.” Orlando carries on as a woman for the remainder of the novel and must adapt to now living at this time in history, powerless, a change which is especially highlighted when compared to having lived as a man before.

When Woolf and her remaining siblings purchased a house in the Bloomsbury area of London, she met the Bloomsbury Group, a set of English writers, intellectuals, philosophers, and artists well known for their libral views of sexuality. Vita Sackville-West, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, became close friends with Woolf, which led to a decade-long sexual and romantic relationship between the two. Woolf and Vita’s relationship has been memorialized in Woolf’s 1928 novel, Orlando: A Biography, which Woolf specified in one of her journals.

Woolf uses fashion to express the difference between men and women at this time, beyond just physicalities. When Orlando goes back to England from Constantinople, she is outfitted in a seventeenth century dress. Fashion reflects and represents societal views and understandings of gender- the dress that Orlando wears as a woman is constricting and hard to move in. She is restrained, very much like the women in the seventeenth century (and for the majority of history).

This classic novel, often regarded as Woolf’s best and most well-known, discards our understanding of time and gender, replacing them with disjointed timelines and gender-bending. It follows Orlando, an adventerous poet who lives for centuries, and changes sex from male to female. The novel begins with the famous line “He, for there could be no doubt about his sex...” only to leave us spending the rest of the novel doing just that: doubting his sex. Remembered as a feminist classic and recognized by scholars as a key piece of liter-

One night, Orlando dresses herself as a man and finds herself reverting back to her traditional male manner-


isms. Through this, Woolf expresses that the concept of gender is one imposed by society, and in the freedom of gender neutrality, we are allowed to act according to our true nature and personality. As the novel progresses, Orlando realizes that although she has changed herself throughout time, she still remains the same person at her core, regardless of time or gender.

to war and knows that death is inevitable. She knows as time passes she is closer and closer to death and, just how time existed long before she was born, time will continue long after she passes. Septimus is a side character who plays an important role for the characters. He is a veteran of the war and suffers from shell shock, his past spirals into his present. We see this in an early part of the novel when he hallucinates seeing his comrade who died in the war when in reality it is Peter, Clarissa’s old suitor. Septimus meets with psychiatrist Sir William Bradshaw who ultimately tells him he needs to be admitted to a mental home due to his trauma. Instead of meeting his fate, Septimus commits suicide. Clarissa hears about Septimus’s death through Lady Bradshaw, although Clarissa never met Septimus, it comforts her with her own thoughts about death as Septimus took the circumstance into his own hands; she finds beauty in his sacrifice.

Although Orlando served as the Met Gala theme’s main inspiration, Woolf’s other texts served as a basis for the theme as well. “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself,” is the famous opening line of the Woolf novel, Mrs Dalloway. The novel is set in 1923, and follows a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares her London home for a party. The novel starts in the early morning of a June day and ends the next morning at 3 am, meaning the entire sequence of events takes place in less than 24 hours. Time is so compacted that every moment counts. A lot can happen in just a few pages; as characters have flashbacks to their pasts only a few minutes pass in the present moment. Big Ben, one of London’s most recognizable landmarks, plays a major role within the novel. Considered a character himself, he never lets Londoners forget about time as he rings every hour and every half hour. Time is something that haunts our protagonist and other characters.

In her 1927 modernist novel, To the Lighthouse, Woolf explores themes such as the complexity of the human experience and of human relationships. Similarly to Mrs. Dalloway, To The Lighthouse operates on a constrained time frame, taking place in two days. However, these two days are 10 years apart. Woolf tries to tackle the age old question: What is the meaning of life? She does this not by stating what the meaning of life is, instead she shows us moments in several people’s lives as they try to find meaning in their own life.

Our protagonist Clarissa has a fear of death and aging; she has seen death in her father, mother, and sister due

The novel is separated into three sections -“The Window,” “Time Passes,” and “The Lighthouse” - explained


by Woolf as two blocks conjoined by a corridor. Each section explores the point of view of a different character with the middle section narrated not from a point of view of a certain person, but a rather omniscient point of view of a vacation home. The final section begins 10 years after the events of the first one, when the remaining family and some of their house guests return to the house. Time moves unconventionally, fixed in select moments, completely distorting the way a clock experiences time. Instead, time is measured through the experiences of certain characters within their lives, highlighting these small moments with tremendous importance and duration. Woolf is known for exploring themes surrounding sexuality, gender, mental health, and feminism which is evident throughout her texts Orlando: A Biography, Mrs. Dalloway, and The Lighthouse. During her life, she herself defied the societal norms of her time; she had sexual relationships with women, cross-dressed often, and fought for women’s rights at a time when feminism was considered taboo. Woolf’s life was sadly cut short when she committed suicide at the age of 59, but she has stood the test of time as one of the most iconic 20th-century authors. Her work is remembered as a leader in early feminist literature and has often been analyzed by scholars in academic settings. Her writings still remain relevant and modern despite them nearly being a century old, which poses the question: how much have we truly advanced as a society when centuries-old novels, spanning through even older centuries, are still considered revolutionary?




“Whether, then, Orlando was most man or woman, it is difficult to say and cannot now be decided.” ― Virginia Woolf, Orlando



Fashion is a reflection of its society, often both dictating and reinforcing a society’s attitude values at any given time; like many things, it is often decided upon by Western influences. For thousands of years, there has been a vast amount of evidence confirming multiple non-western civilizations’ recognition of one or more non-binary genders, from Native Americans to the Bugis of Indonesia. It has only been in the last century or so that Western civilizations have come to wrestle with the possibility of gender expression beyond their beloved binary construct; Virginia Woolf’s Orlando can be considered a pioneer of the conversation on gender non-conformity as one of the first trans stories in English writing. Even more recently, within the last two or three decades, there has been an observable push towards gender upheaval in high fashion design, though the results are not always substantial or thoughtful as they do not fully celebrate contemporary transness. Orlando’s transition from male to female is most emphasized by the clothing they wear at the respective point in their lives; after the mysterious week-long sleep, when Orlando first transitions to being a woman, she often speaks of her clothing being the most confirming part of her transition - though she feels the same as she always has intellectually and emotionally, her newly acquired feminine wardrobe is what seems to be the most significant marker of her femininity. Throughout Woolf’s novel, it is implied many times that it is Orlando’s clothing, rather than their body, that is a reflection of their gender expression. Furthermore, Woolf goes onto imply that along with the reflection of gender, Orlando’s clothing enforces whatever gender roles are relevant to the timeline of their transition;

as a woman, Orlando contemplates the expectations placed on women by society, mostly while she is going through the process of getting ready each day - often citing and critiquing how unnatural and superficial the responsibilities placed on women are. While Orlando only began to wrestle with some of the fundamentals of gender expression, many non-western civilizations were not only acknowledging, but celebrating the gender spectrum. In some Native American tribes, such as the Navajo and Lakota, it was, and still is, celebrated to be a Two Spirit individual, which can be loosely explained as “women who feel like men '' and vice versa. In these tribes and many others, it was often tradition to dress children in gender-neutral clothing until they could choose a path for themselves. This tradition was widely opposed by white settlers and was often targeted for elimination, though the tradition lives on today amongst some tribes. In the last 150 years, fashion has undeniably seen a radical transformation, not only in accessibility and quality, but also in its design, structure, and audience. In short, what was acceptable and relevant then is not the same as it is today. Today’s fashion is in some ways more ambiguous than it was in the time that Orlando was written, though in some ways those restrictions have merely changed in appearance. In the last few decades, the fashion industry has taken a strong interest in gender upheaval, though the execution has not always been genuine or impactful. “It’s fascinating to me that it’s considered so newsworthy. You’d think we would be beyond that...yet we aren’t because there is something so deeply entrenched about a man in a skirt. There’s a longer history of women in pants than men in skirts. It will


be interesting to see where we’ll be in ten years” wrote Cathy Newman in an article for National Geographic. To really celebrate gender fluidity and trans identities through mainstream fashion, the message and execution must be more clear; some designers “experiment” with gender fluidity attempt to break social norms, but only further enforce them by implying that exploring gender expression on a spectrum is a radical notion. Additionally, the concept of gender fluidity is often confused; some designers equate gender fluidity with androgynous or unisex designs, which usually employ “billowing garments meant to transcend suits and skirts” where they should instead aim to celebrate the gender spectrum “by disentangling the normative association between skirts and women, suits and men” wrote Wren Sanders for Vogue UK. Beyond thoughtful design, there are so many other aspects of the industry that could be improved to better support and celebrate trans and gender non-conforming communities - from representation on the runway to involvement in the whole creative process. More representation and space must be made for trans and gender non-conforming individuals without their gender expression being the main conversation.



“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” ― Jesse Jackson


RACE AND REPRESENTATION IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY “Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe..” — Arundhati Roy Fashion, like all other art, has the potential to incite great social change. But at the same time, it is a system within a system; so whilst it has the potential to revolutionize our cultural ideas for the better, it also has the wicked capacity to uphold structures of oppression that have existed since the beginning of modern history. And, unfortunately, throughout time, it seems to have done the latter.

cities for influence and leadership in fashion, but they are receiving messages, both implicit and explicit, that say whiteness is better — prettier, more desirable, easier to sell. There is no reason other than the perception of white supremacy, for these to be the only four recognized and acclaimed fashion weeks. Europeans and those who occupy the western world did not “invent” or discover fashion, nor are they the first to perfect it or make it an art.

The way in which racism and xenophobia have plagued the fashion industry are both varied and omnipresent. Black people, Indigenous people and People of Colour, hereafter referred to as BIPoC, have only recently started getting not only recognition, but praise, for the work they do. This is true for both models and designers. Photographers and journalists, on the other hand, generally tend to get less acknowledgment than designers and models, but when they are BIPoC, they are almost entirely ignored.

Only one season ago, in January 2020, Imane Ayissi became the first black African designer to showcase a collection during Paris Fashion Week, hereafter referred to as PFW. Despite Ayissi being a pioneer, it is still significantly more difficult to find his collections than it is to find collections presented by his white peers. Even the seminal PFW collection cannot be found on the platforms for which fashion enthusiasts have a particular fondness during fashion weeks.

On a more systemic level, fashion weeks that take place in non-western nations are overlooked by the industry and its followers. Lagos, Shanghai, Arab, Bangalore and Bogota Fashion Weeks are just a few fashion events that occur throughout the year, though they are often disregarded. Less journalists, photographers, celebrities, and buyers are sent to these shows compared to those sent to shows that occur in fashion capitals. Since the 16th century, Paris has been regarded as the fashion capital of the world. Though that title has fluctuated in recent years, there are four irrefutable fashion capitals nicknamed The Big Four — Paris, Milan, London, and New York City. The rest of the world looks to these

Though Ayissi was the first to present during PFW, this is not because African designers have not been trying. “I have been fighting for 28 years… The French Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion finally opened its door to me after it rejected my application many times.” Ayissi told IOL in January. The exclusion of Ayissi and other African designers is not an anomaly. The same happens to designers of different races and different ethnicities. In 2016, for example, Guo Pei became the first Asian designer at PFW, despite the event’s inauguration 43 years prior.


There is an obvious phenomenon of gatekeeping in the fashion industry and it exists on multiple levels. Those who decide who can present at fashion weeks dictate who is worthy of presenting. Publications dictate who is worthy of being written about; marketers dictate who is worthy of being advertised; the list goes on. It is not a coincidence that those who present, those who are written about, those who are advertised, all have a tendency to be white designers. All of these smaller facets of the industry work together to perpetuate racism and xenophobia.

incapable. The house of Chanel, for example, is one of the biggest brands in terms of both revenue and popularity, but it hasn’t produced any groundbreaking collections or designs in decades. Despite this, journalists still rush to their shows, photos from their runways are still uploaded in a timely manner, and they are still regarded as a leader in fashion. This comparative discourse, of two unlike things, is frequently entertained by fashion enthusiasts who hope and expect to become leaders in the fashion industry. They entertain discussions about whether streetwear, a style born from Black culture, and one that continues to exist only under Black influence, should be considered an art. The existence and frequency of this conversation reveals a common, though mostly subconscious, belief that art is only art when it meets the Western criteria for being so. That is to say, there is an ‘authoritative’ voice underlying these conversations — white male subjectivity, that masquerades as a non-racial, non-gendered universal objectivity — that decides what is art and what is not.

Consider the way black designers have been treated, by the industry and by consumers alike. Even when their shows are presented during fashion weeks, there is less of a scramble to get journalists to the shows; their photos arrive later on fashion apps than photos from white designers’ shows. There is significantly less discourse around Black shows and when discussions do occur, they are shorter lived than discussions centering white shows, unless they are completely and undeniably showstopping. But every design, every show doesn’t have to be showstopping or groundbreaking; some shows are just good. Some shows have a message, but it doesn’t mean that what is being said hasn’t been said before. When Black designers are not being looked down upon or being pushed out of conversations, they are often doubted or are expected to be twice as creative and innovative as their white counterparts.

Those who engage in this tired debate are simply following the examples set by those who are already part of the industry. Despite the dismissal of streetwear on Black people or on Black designers’ runways, there seems to be a certain excitement and acceptance of streetwear on white people or on white designers’ runways. Moschino’s Fall 2020 Menswear collection by Jeremy Scott, for example, was undeniably heavily influenced by Black streetwear, specifically from New York. Models walked on a New York subway in face and neck tattoos, Timberland-like boots, oversized coats and baseball caps, long gold chains, and

Streetwear and ready-to-wear brands are sometimes compared to long-standing white couture houses in an effort to prove that Black designers are inadequate or


braids with gold strings. He, and designers like him, are praised for this mockery of Black culture and profit from it; they get to add “urban design” to their lists of skills, while Black designers and streetwear icons are labeled ghetto.

riers have been broken in the industry, it is evident that we still have a long way to go before it can be considered inclusive. It is important that an effort is made to give the same attention to BIPoC creators as we give to white creators - not only for equality’s sake, but for the sake of creativity. Because different voices mean different art. And that is what will prevent the industry from becoming monotonous in years to come. Art is born from all different people from all different perspectives and everyone is equally capable of creating masterpieces. There should be no limitations as to who can create or whose creations are deemed worthy of attention, praise, or of being marketed and sold.

This phenomenon is not exclusive to black designers or black culture. Theft - in the form of cultural appropriation - is a type of post-colonial violence that is experienced by many cultural groups around the world. For instance, traditional South Asian culture has been exploited by many high fashion and fast fashion brands. A wide range of the dress and beauty styles belonging to these cultures are seen on runways and in commercial fashion - from the saree (draped clothing) to the nath (traditional nose ring style). Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2017 is a particularly nauseating example of this. The exploitation of sacred cultural aspects and clothing is not only disrespectful and unoriginal, but is rooted in colonial power imbalances, reinforcing and consolidating the structures of Western imperialism. It brings a tokenized conception of these cultures into Western discourse, and ignores the violent histories that surround the extraction of these cultural elements. And yet, in spite of the prevalence of South Asian culture on the runway, it was only this year that an Indian designer, Rahul Mishra, was accepted into the exclusive Paris Couture Week Calendar. This combination - a presence of the culture and a lack of presence of the people - is incredibly noxious for the plight of racial equality.

Most importantly, confronting the Western empire means re-writing the stories they have told us. We need to work to replace the stories of stereotypes and mischaracterisation with new, authentic ones, coming from those with the authority and experience to tell them. An inclusive future for fashion means that all people of colour need to be given the opportunity and platform to tell these stories, our stories - through art and through fashion. And that is how we move forward.

While a lot of progress has been made and a lot of bar-




“Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.” ― Diana Vreeland




La Belle Époque (The Beautiful Era) 1871- 1914:

Bolton’s exhibit About Time: Fashion and Duration takes us through a century and a half of fashion history starting from La Belle Epoque and all the way through present day. Fashion is nothing without its history; fashion history has defined eras and started revolutions, reflecting the social and political climate of the time. Today designers not only create new ways of dress but also reference the past; fashion and time have truly come full circle.

La Belle Epoque which translates to “The Beautiful Era” lasted from around 1871 and ended in 1914 due to the war. This era was defined by its severely corseted bodices, high necklines, fitted sleeves, and an emphasis on the back of the skirt. Charles Frederick Worth was a prominent designer of this time; now known as the Father of Haute Couture, he was the first designer to make collections as we know them today. Previously, a designer would make garments to the clients wants and needs; Worth made clients’ want what he created. This forever changed how fashion was made. As for menswear, it was all about sobriety. Men wore three-piece suits, with plain shirts and a slimmer silhouette compared to the boxy, oversized jackets from the 1860s.

The 1910s: With WWI on the horizon, trends in fashion slowed down. The styles remained similar to the previous era but became much more simplified. The 1910s also saw the rise of leisure-wear as exercise became more popular. The rise of exercise also de-popularized the corset as women found another way to achieve a trim silhouette. Paul Poiret was one of the biggest designers at this time and is still called the King of Fashion as he radically changed fashion and the way fashion is viewed. He was the first designer to market a fashion brand as a lifestyle brand, creating makeup, perfumes, and an interior design label. Menswear remained similar to the previous decades. Though the three-piece suit remained common, more casual versions of the suits were created for a leisure-like feel.


fluid, body-skimming garment that perfectly hugs a woman’s curves.

The 1920s: In the early 1920s, people were still adjusting to life post WWI. Simplicity in women’s dress created the famous la garçonne look that is associated with the 1920s. As the waistline dropped, the hemline rose. Oftentimes evening wear also followed the shorter daytime dress trends. Post-war women realized that life was too short and began living more promiscuously. They cut their hair short, they smoked and drank, and they went out dancing creating what we call the Flapper. From a high fashion perspective, the 20s also saw the rise of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli; their relationship would come to be known as the greatest fashion rivalry of the 20th century. These two women greatly shaped fashion of the time in two very different ways. Chanel was known for a very classic aesthetic while Schiaparelli brought surrealism, an art movement that was starting at this time, into fashion. The 20s also saw more fabrics being used for garments such as linen. Linen gave men the option for a more relaxed fitting suit but, the threepiece suit was still the most popular style.

Men still wore their three-piece suits, but in more casual settings knitted sweaters and soft collared shirts became popular, even ties were no longer mandatory in men’s dress. The formality of menswear slowly decreased during this time period. And just like women’s fashion, men’s fashion also got inspiration from the silver screen. For instance, when movie star Clark Gable announced he wasn’t wearing an undershirt in the 1934 film “It Happened One Night” the sales of undershirts slumped.

The 1940s: In the 40s, fashion was stalled the first half of the decade because of WWII. If someone wasn’t in uniform, they were in utility clothing due to rationalization. Although the war ended in 1945, clothing was still rationed as there was a lack of material in the UK and the US. This all changed when Christian Dior showcased The New Look in 1947. Dior wanted to bring elegance back to women’s dress and did this by exaggerating the female body. This look consisted of a jacket with rounded shoulders and a cinched-waist called the Bar suit and a long full skirt. However, this look was ostracized by many because of its extreme use and “waste” of fabric.

The 1930s: Although The Great Depression haunted this decade, the rise of the cinema highly impacted fashion. The silhouette went from the boyish look of the 20s to a more feminine look. Waistlines drew back to the waist and the hemline fell back down to the ankles. The silver screen held some of the biggest inspiration to the way people dressed. One of the most important innovations in fashion, the bias cut, happened in this decade. A bias cut is cutting the fabric at a 45-degree angle against the weave. This creates a

For the first half of the decade, it was more common to see a man in uniform than out of uniform. When men were not in uniform, they relied heavily on their suits from the previous decade, utility suits were also made


for men during the war. Post-war, an American style was adopted pushing more for casualty and sportswear in both the US and Europe. As many servicemen came back from Asia and the Pacific Islands, the trend of the “Hawaiian shirt” was brought to the continental US.

The 1960s: Famous for London’s ‘youthquake,’ this era had a huge impact on the ways of personal dress. Casualty became more common between all genders. Mary Quant is credited with the rise of the mini skirt. This decade saw an explosion of color compared to the past. There was a lot of inspiration from the Pop art movement and Space. The Mod, Hippie and Punk movements dominated this decade’s street style looks. During the 60s and the 70s women started gaining more sexual freedom, this was apparent through their clothing. Women started to wear garments inspired by menswear such as Yves Saint Laurent’s 1966 suit Le Smoking. In the 50s men’s dress became more casual and that trend continued into the 60s. Menswear also started to become more colorful and includes many more patterns. Menswear had not changed in about 100 years so this extreme change is very noticeable. “As the 1960s gathered pace, the standard template for a man’s suit began to accommodate subtly daring new elements: the collarless jacket (a look popularised by The Beatles in 1963, the year they launched their first album) and slim-fitting trousers, matched with heeled boots rather than shoes” (V&A)

The 1950s: The 50s was the era of femininity, women used to dress up much more than they did in the past. Though The New Look was released in 1947, this silhouette did not die in the 50s; however, this style did not define the era as women started to have more options in their ways of dress. Women were able to adopt the ultra-feminine silhouette of The New Look, but they were not limited to one style like they often were in the past. A woman could wear a full or narrow skirt or a sheath or a loose slack dress and still be in style. But no matter what, a woman was always expected to be impeccably turned out. Men’s fashion moved forward with informality. With the rise of ‘youth culture’, jeans and a t-shirt were widely adopted. This style was inspired and adopted by the working class rather than the elite. Marlon Brando, James Dean, and the Teddy Boys were the male icons at the time. As for the elite men, they leaned more towards the New Edwardian style of suit introduced by tailors of London’s Savile-Row. The suit had slimmer trousers compared to previous decades and also had a velvet trim collar. Eventually, the working class also started to adapt to this new style by getting the clothes they already had tailored to match this new trend.

The 1970s: With the swinging 60s just behind them, the 70s was even bolder. With the development of many different types of synthetic fabrics, fashionable styles became even more affordable. There were many different types of styles emerging. By day the prairie style was very popular, by night people were inspired by disco, and athletic wear became even more popular towards the


end of the decade. Yves Saint Laurent’s infamous 1971 collection Libération was inspired by the styles of the 40s. This collection was poorly received because it reminded many people of WWII and the Nazi Occupation, however, the influence of the 40s did not die down as many other designers would too seek inspiration from this previous decade. Once again, women gained much more sexual freedom than they had in the past; trousers for women became less form-fitting and feminine and were much more acceptable to wear in public.

The 1980s: The 80s was an amazing era for women’s fashion. As more and more women entered the work for now more than ever, the Power Suit was created. The Power Suit was a suit jacket with shoulder pads and a pencil skirt but it could also have been worn with trousers. Bright colors once again ruled this decade as neons came into play. There was also a rise in designer underwear for both genders as Calvin Klein released advertisements with influential celebrities. Exercise clothing became huge in this decade as there was a rise of health cautiousness; Jane Fonda had her own at-home workout videos and promoted casual dress and gym wear. Leotards, leggings, and leg warmers all gained popularity.

Menswear was even more flamboyant than it was in the 60s as the Peacock Revolution started. There was an emphasis for men to have a tall, lean figure. Turtlenecks, form-fitting shirts and form-fitting pants with flares gained huge traction. As women’s fashion became more gender neutral so did men’s fashion. Tight garments were worn by all genders and skinner men even wore women’s clothing rather than male clothing. Although these options were okay with informal wear, formal wear was a bit more traditional with men still opting for a suit. These suits still fit the trend of the 70s with a slim-fitting suit and flare trousers.

Men were seen with suit jackets and t-shirts underneath inspired by the TV show Miami Vice. Acid washed jeans, leather jackets, Ray-Bans, and skinny ties made this look complete. Some men opted for a preppier look and wore khakis with polo shirts and a sweater tied around their neck. There were even some men who went for the MC Hammer harem pants look. New Romanticism and the Post Punk Gothic looks were also huge movements in the 80s. New Romanticism surfaced from the London club scene. It came from those who liked the punk fashions but didn’t necessarily stand with the punk statement. This look was more flamboyant than the punk look and was influenced by historical periods. Vivienne Westwood’s 1981 collection The Pirate Look was marketed to the New Romanticism subculture. As for the Post Punk Gothic subculture emerged from the LA scene. Black clothing was made of leather,

Punk fashion continued to grow in the 70s as designers like Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren rose to fame. The movement started in London but reached other parts of Europe and North America. Tight black pants, leather jackets, and Doc Martens were essential to the punk look. Punk band The Sex Pistols were huge icons for this movement.


fishnet, and lace was a staple for the movement, as were Doc Martens and corsets for the women.

back up, the 80s and the 60s had a rebirth with the preppy and boho-chic looks.

The 1990s:

The future of fashion, and of the fashion industry, is among us. With sustainability and more ethical practices being implemented, there is hope that the industry will change for the better. With the increased use of technology, limitations will subside and creativity will flourish.

Some historians will say that the 90s was the start of modern society. With the end of the Cold War in 1989 and huge technological advancements, there was a huge cultural impact on the western world. Since the 50s there hasn’t been one style that people should stick to; the 90s were similar in that sense. The 90s is a later version of the 60s, as mini skirts and mini dresses become popular once again. The two biggest style trends were minimalism and street style. Minimalism was all about simple clothing with a colorless palette while the silhouette followed the body. While Streetwear was much more oversized, had a larger color range, and a sportier and casual feel to it as it was inspired by Californian surf-skate culture and the New York hip hop scene. This is also the decade of supermodel mania. Models like Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington ruled the runways.

The 2000s: The 2000s is viewed as a global mash-up. With the internet and satellite TV becoming more available outside of the United States, in the 90s and even more in the 2000s, fashion trends became global. This is the decade where vintage became huge and the consumption of fast fashion rose. Low-rise jeans became a staple piece in the earlier part of this decade and athleisure establishes itself as a form of dress. In the 2000s we saw trends from previous decades popping


The 1910s The most common womenswear silhouette consisted of a puffy chest, cinched waist and long dresses and skirts. The v-neckline was extremely popular, but was mostly layered above a collared shirt. An important accessory were hats which were oversized and decorated. Men wore suits, cuffed at an ankle length. A blazer was considered casual wear.


The 1920s

The 1930s

Roaring 20s - The Flapper Era. Skirts went shorter, the waistline dropped and the hemline rose. Dresses were loose fitted. Many women started cutting their hair into a bob. Mens fashion also became more casual. They started wearing baggier pants and a more relaxed fitting suit. Alas the three piece suit remained popular.

The cinched waist look became in again-creating a more feminine silhouette. Hemlines fell to the ankle. “By the early 1930s, the fashionable silhouette was evolving into a slender, elongated torso with widening shoulders and a neat head with softly waved short hair (Cally Blackman).� Men continued wearing three piece suits, but also started wearing clothes such, as more loosely fitted shirts and sweaters which created a more relaxed silhouette.


The 1940s

The 1950s

In the first half of the decade fashion was pretty much paused. Finally, in 1947 a new silhouette called The New Look was brought by Christian Dior - round shoulders, a cinched waist and a long skirt. Hawaiian shirts became a new trend in menswear.

Even though this era is deemed the era of femininity, women's fashion wasn't exactly tied down to the super feminine silhouette. A fashionable woman wasn't expected to stick with only one silhouette, even though The New Look was still considered a chic look. Working class men adopted the relaxed jeans and T-shirt look, while the elite adopted a new suit style - New Edwardian.


The 1960s

The 1970s

The new decade saw a diversity in fashion trends - along with many new casual silhouettes. In the early 60s the hourglass look was still very popular amongst women. Another popular silhouette was a boxy jacket paired with a slim pencil skirt or sheath dress. A popular accessory was the pillbox hat. As the decade continued skirts became lower and finally the well known mini skirt was introduced. Although mens clothing went through more of a change color wise than shape wise, a common silhouette popularized by the Beatles was a collarless jacket and slim-fitting trousers, matched with heeled boots rather than shoes.

Many women still got dressed up daily, albeit one of the most popular silhouettes during the 70s was a tight shirt on top and bell bottom jeans, or a maxi skirt underneath all inspired by the hippie movement. The mini skirt was also still rising in popularity. Suit culture was still very prominent but, much like women, men were inspired by the hippie movement and started wearing tank tops and bell bottom jeans as casual wear.


The 1980s

The 1990s

A decade of big hair and bold fashion choices. The hourglass silhouette was created by using big shoulder pads and narrowing the clothing item at the waist and hips, usually paired with a pencil skirt. That style is commonly known as The Power Suit.

Considered the late 60s in terms of fashion. Women often wore mini skirts and mini dresses which showcased the well known hourglass figure. Hip hop culture had a big influence in this decade's fashion and a common silhouette worn by both men and women was a full baggy shirt and jeans look usually worn with a vizor cap of some sort.


The 2000s The early 2000s, the start of a new century, was the time when womenswear got a lot more revealing. A common silhouette were tops which often had deep plunging necklines worn with either low waisted jeans or a casual maxi skirt - putting the torso almost fully on view.



“Analysis is the art of creation through destruction" ― P.S Baber




Westwood drew on late 19th century French fashion, paid homage to Charles Frederick Worth, founder of the first haute couture house, and took inspiration from the 17th-century paintings of Anthony van Dyck for her Spring 1994 collection, Café Society. Although, as Vivienne Westwood collections go, the copious amount of historical references had no impact without her flare for provocatively subverting them. An example of this would be the micromini skirt, dubbed as the “mini-crini”, that a topless Kate Moss sported as she strutted down the runway while she ate a Magnum ice cream bar. The Elizabethan hair and makeup, much like the clothing, were reappropriated and broke down historical conventions, which gave the show definitive variations of styles; textured curly coifs that were twisted into buns or elaborate updos, with accessories such as crystal clips, boater hats, theatrically large straw hats or bows; powder-white faces, berry-colored lips, saffron-accented eyes, thin and narrow eyebrows with high arches, and many models were given fake beauty spots on their cheeks. There was an emphasis on the expression of women’s sexuality, as shown by the 15th century Crakow shoes which were adorned with vibrators. The mini-crini creation, specifically, was a combination of the mythology of restriction in a woman’s dress as well as the mythology of liberation, for the volume in the lower part of the classic crinoline made it difficult to move, rendering women to adopt more feminine and graceful movements. Westwood’s timeless collection opens the conversation of what a woman free from restriction, not simply by clothing but by the patriarchal society which imposes these restrictions.

Photography by Steve Harries, published on AnOther


The mini-crini also serves as an example of the theme for this year’s Met Gala, About Time: Fashion and Duration, for the combination of highly distinct time periods juxtapose one another. The use of men's silhouettes from the Bourbon Restoration was a contradistinction to the stiff and dour style of dress in the Baroque period. Westwood’s signature punk aesthetic was a contrast to the puritanical way of life during the Baroque period because of the political and social convulsions resulting from the rivalry between Catholics and Protestants (the Thirty Years’ War being a prime example of this rivalry), which is highlighted in Anthony van Dyck’s paintings (such as the painting of Marie-Louise de Tassis, Antwerp, 1630) that showcased the rapid transformations in Renaissance fashion. These layers of contrasting styles reflected the understanding of fashion as both linear and cyclical, how it reflected the time period from which it belonged. The overlapping time frames in hair, makeup and clothing blurred the lines of fashion, disrupting the confidence of familiarity one would have when pinpointing the periods of which the clothing belonged.

Look from Café Society


Look from CafĂŠ Society


Looks from CafĂŠ Society



On the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Valentino used his time as inspiration for their fall 2016 Couture Collection. Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri created a mostly black and white collection, with hints of Valentino’s signature red, filled with ruffs, doublets, and puffed sleeves taking us straight back to the 16th and 17th century. The Italian designers were inspired by Shakespeare’s plays especially Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona all of which take place in their home country. The designers were also constantly surrounded by Catholic and Renaissance art and architecture which are clear inspirations for them in this collection. The designers take these key dressing elements from Shakespeare’s time such as the doublet, the ruff and puffed sleeves and shine them in a modern light. The doublet was a style of tops that was only worn by men from the 14th to the 17th century, Valentino showcased a modernized, cropped version of this. We see ruffs take more modern shapes and colors throughout this collection. Historically, ruffs were popularized from the mid 16th century to the 17th century and were usually white. Keeping a nicely starched, white ruff was a symbol of wealth as it often showed others that you had someone else to wash and starch it for you to keep it prim. Piccioli and Chiuri were able to implement contemporary elements such as leather pants, silk shorts, and crop tops into this collection while keeping all the breathtaking elements of the Tudor Era. With the Orlando influence on this year’s theme, gender fluidity also plays a large role in how we view

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the fashion surrounding subject. In this collection, we see pieces that were once worn exclusively by men, now on women. One could compare this to how only men were allowed to act in Shakespeare’s plays, now only women take the parts of the princelings, princesses, and priests, all high white ruffs, doublets, bodices, puffed sleeves, and clerical robes. About Time: Fashion and Duration contemplates the philosophical theory of duration, or la durée, saying that time is both linear and cyclical which is apparent in this collection with it’s calls to the past and style of the present.

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When conceptualizing timelessness in art and fashion, the first name that comes to mind is Guo Pei. The master couturière prides her designs in being those that deviate from trends. Her mission as a designer is to create heirlooms rather than seasonal garments which greatly differs from the traditional mindset of the industry. Not only does this ideology reflect the theme, but it provides innovation for the future of fashion and an outlook on sustainability. One collection that reflects her mission as a designer as well as the theme of About Time: Fashion and Duration, is her 2018 spring couture collection. Guo Pei debuted this collection at the Cirque D’Hiver, but transformed the scenery into that of another world. This collection served as a portal into Elysium: the afterlife. The idea of the afterlife tackles both concepts of eternity and the extinction of time, both of which play into the theme of temporal conflation. In this collection, Guo plays with the archetype of flowers and roots symbolizing birth and rebirth, quoting that “without roots, there’s not life.” While the concept of the afterlife exists outside of time, Guo juxtaposes this with the cyclicality of time through the use of the birth and rebirth process of flora. The recurring presence of l’heure bleue floral embroideries represents either dawn or dusk when twilight casts a mystical blue aura on the world. The ambiguity of the hour within this context provides further development on the conflation of time. This tied into the overall color palette of the collection, consisting of gold, white, and blue which appear like day-to-night. Gold embodies the sun, illustrating when the soul rises

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from the earth and ascends into the heavens. The blue fabrics represent the distance between earth and the afterlife, and white symbolizes the purification of the soul as it arrives in paradise: Elysium. The cyclicality of life is also elaborated on within the way the collection was showcased. Debra Shaw, wearing the look that both opened and closed the show, plays the role of the sun figure. The gold gown, with roots growing from the bodice like rays protruding the heart of the sun, opened the collection and drew the subsequent looks into the afterlife. Shaw then returned at the end of the show with a 360ยบ revolution - closing the gates behind her and demonstrating the full circle of life.

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The twentieth century is the overall theme of McQueen’s spring 2005 collection, It’s Only a Game. McQueen utilizes the fashion of the Edwardian era and history to bring forth his story of a chess match between America and Japan. At the turn of the century, the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 marked the end of the Victorian era, leading to the reign of King Edward VII, thus birthing the Edwardian era. Belle Epoque, a time when haute couture was invented, overlapped during both eras, which coincides with the theme of the 2020 Met Gala, About Time: Fashion and Duration, as it presents us with the ephemeral nature of fashion — how fleeting different styles can be, coming and going as each significant historical event changes the course of time. McQueen’s referencing of the Edwardian era, specifically in this collection, is noteworthy, for it marked the beginning of Women’s Suffrage in Europe, in which women not only fought to vote, but fought for economic, political and social reforms. This may relate to his idea of a chess game consisting of female models, symbolizing that, no matter if they have to fight themselves, women fight and always have been fighting for what they rightfully deserve. To convey a “girlish” Edwardian theme, McQueen used the 1975 film, Picnic at Hanging Rock as a reference. He started with tiny sailor jackets, school blazers, ticking-striped shirts, and gray kneelength shorts, then adding white lace blouses and dresses. In McQueen’s show, American models and Japanese models (as well as Latin models, perhaps to keep with the theme) were opposing sides of the chess board, unwilling players of the game, dictated by the robotic voice which

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gave them directions. This could have been an assessment of America imposing its own cultural modernity upon other races; an example of this would be the Perry Expedition. The diplomatic tensions between Japan and America was reflected in this collection through the combination of the two queens’ attire; the first queen appears as an American football player, with ornate shoulder pads, thigh-high riding boots and a helmet covered in Japanese tattooing.; the second queen sported a short, thigh-high dress, which was wide at the hips, a silhouette that is based on the eighteenth century (which contradicts the consistent Edwardian theme of the collection, disrupting the timeline which was utilized in the creation of the collection), a kimono collar, obi sash, and an undershirt intricately embroidered to appear like tattooing were all inspired from Japanese culture. McQueen revisited a prominent time in history, the clothing and the spectacle he created reflecting the time periods from which they belonged, exhibiting a sense of familiarity with a lingering feeling of the unknown creeping upon the audience, the overlapping of history embedded in the clothing brought a vagueness of timeframe. He retold history through a futuristic collection that reinterpreted the past, which reopened the discussion of racial discrimination, and, with his exclusive use of female models for the collection, emphasises the women who lived through the war between men in high positions. He displayed how women didn’t have a choice but to suffer through such a harsh time both society and history, a mirroring of the lack of difference in the treatment of women from the Edwardian era to the 40s, forced to be game pieces.

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It opened with a dancer. Specifically, principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre James Whiteside piquéing down the runway in a seersucker trompe l'oeil blazer, matching seersucker tutu and custom pair of seersucker Gaynor Minden pointe shoes. Traditionally reserved for female ballerinas, the simple act of outfitting a male dancer in a tutu and pointe shoes set the stage for an exploration of gender fluidity and history. Expanding on the iconic silhouette of the 18th-century French court, Thom Browne’s spring 2020 menswear collection mixed traditionally feminine aesthetics with the sports uniform to create a “Versailles country club” in pastel seersucker. The pannier was stripped to its barest elements, refitted for a stroll through an impeccably manicured garden. Overblown sleeves mimicked the looming pads of American football players, contrasting against the preppy blazers they accentuated. Hair and makeup served to further accentuate the collection’s use of qualitative multiplicity through the mixing of eras; the pompadour, a hallmark of the 18th-century French court beauty standards, was given the same treatment as the pannier; stripped down to its most basic silhouette and given a sportswear touch with the addition of a sweatband in Browne’s signature tricolor striping. In Andrew Miller’s Winning It All: The Cinematic Construction of the Athletic American Dream, the “Athletic American Dream” is noted as having solidified itself within the larger view of classic Americana, a recurring motif in Browne’s work. Particularly within the 20th century, sports emerged as particularly attached to a developing national ideal of masculinity,

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one that would come to associate the “ideal American man with the athletic man.” Browne’s particular reference of sportswear called back to the country clubs of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans, an aesthetic linked with a rather stringent barrier of wealth and class which drew parallels with the wealth and class of the 18th-French aristocracy. The social connotations around this particular dress code mirror that of the court royals in Versailles. In the show nearly every look was completed with pastel pointed derbies, calling back to the heels worn only by the most elite of 18th-century French aristocracy. In the 1670s King Louis XIV went so far as to issue an edict regarding the footwear of certain court nobles, further establishing the heel as a symbol of status, wealth and class. Though originally lifted from the Persian cavalry as a way for the male wearer to seem more masculine, heels have become linked with femininity in the modern era. Due to this historical perception change, placing men in heels causes a cognitive dissonance in the observer, a motif that began with Whiteside’s striking opening in pointe shoes. Through the masculine world of sports and the feminine aesthetics of the 18th-century French court, Browne’s spring 2020 menswear collection explores the ever-expanding range of gender fluidity through the lens of historical references and strong juxtapositions. Look 36


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“Well, we must wait for the future to show.” ― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse



"It is a time to analyse the old system, and decide what we want to preserve. And what we are obliged to throw out." ― Samantha Haran, HFTMG Team Member


But it is important to note that the coronavirus hasn’t created these cracks and faults in the industry; they were always there. There, left unnoticed. But the pandemic has now exposed them under a blinding spotlight. Forcing us to look. To see. To understand. And now it is impossible to look away from the mess we have made. But whilst it is awful to see the truth, to hear the stories - this is not a time to wallow in our shame.

In a matter of months, the world as we once knew it has shattered before our very eyes. The pandemic has taken society by its throat, grappling at it with fierce intent. In a time like this, there is something that seems overly decadent about discussing the functions of the fashion industry. Something that seems self-indulgent. Ignorant, even, in a time where death is looming over us all like a hovering hand. But the reality is the fashion industry is not just an industry. It is not just clothes. Fashion encompasses the livelihoods of millions of people, from the various stages of the supply chain - the garment workers, the cotton farmers, the business organizers - down to the consumer themselves. The fashion industry is a home. It is our home. And it has taken a shot to the heart. The very essence of what makes fashion, fashion - that is, experiences, exhibitions, runways, events, life - has been brought to an indefinite halt. And it leaves the question lingering: what is the future of fashion?

This is a time for great change. For innovation. For revolution. It is a time to analyze the old system and decide what we want to preserve. And what we are obliged to throw out. It is a time for us to come together in the spirit of upheaval, and to bring new ideas to the table, to innovate the age-old system that has now gathered both dust and victims. We need to find new ways to create, present, and disperse fashion. In fact, we need to revolutionize our very concept of fashion. And that is what we hope we have started with the High Fashion Met Gala. With this eBook. With this new mission of ours. We hope it has inspired you to think differently about the world we live in. The industry we work in. The art form that we all love so dearly.

Whilst the pandemic has in no way put an end to the system, it has, at the very least, brought it to this temporary stop, thus giving us time to examine the industry for what it truly is. To take a look at the machinery that has run our lives for so very long. To pull apart the model and see it for all its flaws. And the flaws have been exposed. In early May, sweatshop factories in Bangladesh, where garment workers are severely mistreated even during a ‘normal’ time, were forced to reopen, despite the extremely high risk of virus spread. This threw the inhumane treatment of these already exploited workers into the global limelight; the workers were being forced to choose between the fear of the coronavirus and their safety, and the (perhaps more palpable) fear of losing their jobs and income security.

Because now is the time. Right now, when everything we have known to be true is under threat, when the schedule has been thrown out the window, the old ways swept under rugs and the old systems locked away in cupboards — The future of fashion has never been more uncertain. But it has also never been more full of hope.



“In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous.” ―Elsa Schiaparelli


As a staple of the high fashion twitter community, the participants of the Photoset Creation category were challenged to express their Met Gala looks through moodboards.


“Pucci Post-Post-Structuralism” by Annika Jordan [@annika_jordan]


Met Gala look by Kimmy [@angelmilk]


“Legacy Across The Galaxy” by Alelí Ruíz Salazar [@alepeck]

“I personally believe that time is measured in experiences and the legacy you leave, not only to your loved ones but also the footprint you leave in the world. Inspired by the legacy and taking advantage of the May the 4th, I included a tribute to Padme Amidala, one of my favorite characters who represents strength, diplomacy and intelligence. In this phososet you’ll find hints to the Galliano era at Dior (one of the most obvious references), the dress that the gorgeous Coco Rocha wears by Zac Posen (SS13) ans vintage jewelry.” -Alelí Ruíz Salazar


“Mythology & Nature” by Eleanor Clarke [@eleanorelune]

“Inspired by mythology and nature, it embodies both timeless and fleeting aspects of temporality. The envisioned look combines elements of Greek mythology with regency era clothing, using gold highlights and flowers and leaves to portray aspects of nature.” -Eleanor Clarke


“Beauty That Never Wills” by Mercury Morne [@MercuryMorne]

“Fashion is a gateway to any point in our timeline. To our past, present and future. One costume or ensemble can connect us to others and to ourselves. To a life that we’ve had yet to experience or a time that lingers within reach.” -Mercury Morne


“Yohji Yamamoto S/S16 red final dress sparked my interest; his corset deconstruction and crinoline interpretation appeared to be a renaissance of the Victorian dress. The Gucci Rococo shoes seem like an obvious choice — walking in the present world, nonetheless coming out of a previous one. Evolving through the time, the ruff collar has many shapes and sizes; Alexander McQueen Fall 2013 definitely gave it a jewellery dimension. This Noir by Kei Ninomiya hairstyle added the fairy side I like to associate to the French Renaissance and over-the-elbow gloves just seemed to be the perfect accessory for such a fancy evening.” -Estelle Maitret Stambulskaya

“Fraise” by Estelle Maitret Stambulskaya [@yelletse]


“1760s x 1960s; An Anachronistic Amalgamation” by Katie LP [@heyfashiongeek]

“From the 1760s to the 1960s (and a little bit of everything in between). This look is an anachronistic amalgamation, inspired by the reemergence of trends, Benjaminian modernity, and nostalgia cycles. The dress, by Jonathan Anderson for Loewe’s S/S ‘20 collection, is a riff on pannier dresses, which were popular in European courts during the 17-18th centuries. Meanwhile, the boots are a pair that originally appeared on Atelier Versace Fall ‘15 runway, reminiscent of sixties go-go boots. The hair is also an updated take on Versailles fashion, by recreating Marie Anoinette’s famous pouf in pastels, which is then draped in lucite beads (popular in mid-century American jewelry), combining the two sources of inspiration” -Katie LP


Met Gala look by Sarah Rose [@valentinhce]

Met Gala look by Denise S. [@hautesweetener]


Met Gala look by Ana Suri [@jacquemusdevil]

“I decided to play with the idea of fashion through time assisted by technology. Fabrics and production has changed drastically which has, in turn, influenced our desires in our clothes.� -Ana Suri


“Franceska Mann and the Femme Fatale” by Gabriella Elman [@gabriellaelman]

“I was inspired by the story of Franceska Mann, a Polish-Jewish ballerina who fatally shot an SS soldier with his own weapon shortly before facing her own death. While Mann’s story has been remembered over three-quarters of a century later. With the theme of “Temporal Conflation” in mind, I began reflecting on the femme fatale cliche and how its perception was largely remaines unchanged over time.” -Gabriella Elman


“Fashion As Ethereal” by Emma Berdanier [@petiteblades]



Inspired by the muse-designer relationship, the Brand Challenge took the photoset creation category one step further by restricting all outfits used to be from a single randomly assigned designer.


Met Gala look by Charlie Young [@charlie__young_] who took inspiration from Maison Martin Margiela

“Mens clothes a Womans way - Looking at how women began to wear mens clothes. Garments such as trousers and shirts became staple items for all to wear. Yet somehow it still remains a statement for a woman to wear a Mens cut outfit.� -Charlie Young


Met Gala look by Bella Lombardi [@BELLAL0MBARDI] who took inspiration from Rick Owens


“An Exploration of Modernity” by Hannah [@pradaapeonies] who took inspiration from Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

“My look takes inspiration from the words of Andrew Bolton, Curator in Chief of the Costume institute, as he describes the concept of all white looks with pops of colour for this years Met Gala, with the intermittent bright and vibrant colours representing ‘folds in time’. I feel fashion is the perfect way to explore time and in particular our modern age, as each era can be characterised by the clothes we wear and how we express ourselves. Present day is perhaps the most exciting yet, as boundaries have been broken by designers to incorporate the past, present and future of fashion into single collections, just as I have found with the work of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac” -Hannah 99

“What attracted me to Simone Rocha’s autumn/winter ‘18 collection was the similarities I found between the collection and Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette. The way Rocha designed the collection combining the style of Victorian era clothing and the edge of the 70’s punk fashion, and the way Coppola executed her film combining the style of classic period dramas and 90’s popular movies, both giving their work a feeling of timelessness and modernity using styles from the past seemed very on theme to me. Especially the look I chose, since it resembles some of the scenes from the film. And as every Met Gala look has a muse, I also chose Coppola as the muse for this one. Rocha’s designs have been described as “strong, feminine and modern” and she has said that her designs are inspired by amazing people with amazing personal style. People who wear clothes very naturally. Sofia Coppola’s style in the 90’s and her style now are a perfect example of that, making her an ideal Simone Rocha muse.” -Ximena Ávila

Met Gala look by Ximena Ávila [@dominocoppola] who took inspiration from Simone Rocha


Met Gala look by Julia McGeary [@ripjulia] who took inspiration from Yohji Yamamoto “I wanted to play with both masculine and feminine aspects of clothing”

-Julia McGeary


Met Gala look by Bérénice Le Liepvre [@jadiorbelIa] who took inspiration from Thom Browne


“My first look is a tribute to my French origins. I loved Thom Browne’s version of Marie-Antoinette from SS19. I had to pay a tribute to this French queen. I grow up with her image and silhouette but also her independence and strength. She is one of most iconic French women representation from the 18th century. The second look for the after party/dinner, is the result on my thought on time in fashion, what’s the most timeless silhouette? The suit or the tailor. I fell in love with Thom Browne modern version of it from FW18. And I made it stand proud in a middle of all the famous suits in fashion like the “tailleur bar” from Dior or “le smoking” from YSL but also just random suits that women used to wear in the 50s, and another proof that suits are for everyone at anytime” -Bérénice Le Liepvre


Met Gala look by Sagal Shibbin [@Z4RRIE] who took inspiration from Oscar De La Renta

“My primary inspiration behind my look was the feathers. I’ve notices that feathers have been used in fashion since forever and became a ‘must have’ item in the 1900’s. I used an ODLR look from fall/winter collection 2019, to showcase the timelessness of feathers and used hair and makeup inspired by the 60’s and 90’s to appeal to the theme.” -Sagal Shibbin


Met Gala look by Ree [@mcqueengal] who took inspiration from Thom Browne

“I picked this Thom Browne look from the Fall 2018 rtw collection because to me represents a transformation between the eras. Much like Tilda Swinton’s transformations in the movie, Orlando, it looked as though a person was transcending time, jumping between eras and time froze mid- transformation. The half-jacket silhouette with half on the shoulder with multiple layers while the other half is attached to the skirt gives the impression of the dress undergoing a transformation. The emphasis on the traditional feminine silhouette with exaggerated hips and the bustier reminded me of the voluptuous silhouettes of the 18th century whereas the fabric and 3d flowers gave it a contemporary feel. This juxtaposition of the silhouette and the fabric made it a perfect reflection of the theme, “Temporal Conflation” for me. I picked a dark makeup look along with black heels and a bag available on the Thom Browne website to contrast the dress.” -Ree


Met Gala look by Marah A [@vogueheroine] who took inspiration from Guo Pei

“The chosen look comes as a deconstructed bell-shaped gown that perfectly demonstrated the resistance of garment construction against time and the preservation of the process� -Marah A


“I chose this look for two reasons: one of them being the explanation of the collection where this look is from, that’s set in the future and the fact that when I searched similar images it recognized it as clothes from the 1700’s/1800’s and that got stuck with me, I see this look as a mix. Snippets of the past but adapted to fit the times that it’s set in with its essence still being recognizable.” -Milena Ochoa

Met Gala look by Milena Ochoa [@mlxst] who took inspiration from Palomo Spain


“While Lee’s take on Ready to Wear could be described as modern, this look from his Spring/Summer 2020 RTW collection draws inspiration from fashion trends from different points in time and combines them into one look. A modern interpretation of a corset, something that has been used since as early as the sixteenth century to lock women in place and have them live up to unrealistic beauty standards is combined with a leather harness in this look. With the later being prominent in kink and fetish culture, this look combines old beauty standards and sexual liberation with a pink of workwear and utilitarianism and a modern touch thanks to a pair of cream colored thigh high boots which round everything up.� -Emma

Met Gala look by Emma [@jacquenergy] who took inspiration from Dion Lee


“Time(less)” by Zsófia Győrfi [@VALENTINOFLEUR] who took inspiration from Yigal Azrouël

“I’ve always been fascinated by time and its relativity. I think adolescence makes you consider and perceive various aspects of Time. In a way, it’s the natural rhythm of the universe with endless possibilities. On the other hand, the amount you’re granted as an individual is just a tiny fragment and you want to make the most of it. Use it wisely. However, time is change and adaptability. With it, you must change as well and follow its path. It’s a beautiful journey and my piece was meant to capture this, drawing ideas and inspiration from history and art with some personal touches added, creating a look that changes through layers and dimensions.” -Zsófia Győrfi


“Future Elegance� by Sara Alsammerai [@jacqspring] who took inspiration from Proenza Schouler


Met Gala look by Mercury Morne [@MercuryMorne] who took inspiration from Guo Pei

“This photo set was created using the work of the talented designer Guo Pei. I was very drawn to her use of architecture and religious imagery. Though our views on them may have changed, religion and architecture have stood the test of time.� -Mercury Morne



Participants in the Wardrobe Styling category used garments they created or previously owned to style outfits inspired by the theme. To promote sustainability and social distancing, participants were asked to only use garments or materials they had immediate access to.


“1800 Victorian x 1940 Saloon We” by Alexis Shan [@70s90s]

“I came up with a look inspired by Victorian Funerals + Classic Western/Saloon fashion. The tiered gown is made up of two dresses, a vintage Valentino coat, and a thrifted blazer. Styled with latex opera gloves, a pearl double buckle belt around the chest, and pearl/crystal jewelry.” - Alexis Shan


“THE ICONIC WHITE SHIRT” by Beatrice Anne Lui [@thearchivists1]

“The white shirt has changed its meaning throughout the decades, yet its form and style remain the same, retaining its timeless color and functionality. Mia Wallace, a role played by Uma Thurman in the award-wining movie Pulp Fiction, was most notable for the trademark of her blunt bob, bangs, and white shirt. Over time, as clothing became cheaper, the timeless piece made its way into closets of the general public and became a staple in the fashion industry, catering towards both males and females. It neither represents masculinity nor upper-class attire and is now a classic piece beyond time.” -Beatrice Anne Lui


“Rococó hecho en casa” by Gerard Cortez [@soygerardcortez]

“I fantazise with the opportunity to access Versace’s archives and take advantage of the fabrics to create mi modern rococo. This fantasy came to reality in another way: vintage shirts that I had in my closet and a mask designed by the mexican Roberto Leone.” -Gerard Cortez


Met Gala look by Kristen Handy [@kris_nicole4]


“A Seat At The Table” by Steve Nguyen [@steviesashimi]

“This concept was inspired by the various family photographs and family photobooks found in my mother’s basement consisting of us surrounding the dinner table. The idea of families coming together through rituals and ceremonies represented through the dinner table provides a cultural space that continues tradition and nostalgia. This is a recreation of an idealized family portrait, taking Vietnamese influences from my childhood and reclaiming my cultural narratives through this ceremonious depiction of family and historical legacy.” -Steve Nguyen


“Deconstructed Dandy� by Manumanito Castillo [@manumanito]


“By the sea” by Wungmi Shaiza [@leswiftquito]


“The Wonderland Woman” by Milagros Alderete [@hachudepapi]

“I wanted to represent the woman of yesterday and today, without either overshadowing the other. That is why through this maxi dress, very sophisticated and typical of the late 1800s, you can see the woman of today, a sexy woman wearing the pants I am all the women, the ones who held their breath in those uncomfortable corsets in the past and the ones who goes topless on the beach today.” -Milagros Alderete


Met Gala look by Sydney [@HerissonHermes]


“The Age of Victoria” by Tahshea LaBrew [@stylin_syren]

“I was inspired by the Victorian Era. I did a lot of researching and used what I saw from different photos to put a look together. I thought about what items I had in my closet and then everything came together. All of the accessories I wanted to use happened to be pink, even the flowers I picked. I never would have thought that my corset purse I purchased 2 months prior would come in handy for a moment like this.” -Tahshea LaBrew


“A Modern Day Victorian Romantic� by Lia Andrade [@lia_moony]

"I was mostly inspired by the Victorian and Edwardian eras and tried to create something with pieces I already owned." -Lia Andrade


“A Different Perspective” by Dedrick Boyington [@boydedrick]

“Oftentimes history, fashion & time only recognize a white perspective. In line with this year’s theme, I looked back on fashion history and African American culture and dressed in a similar fashion to the Black Panthers.” -Dedrick Boyington


“When I saw the wardrobe styling category, I knew I had to enter. I’m lucky enough to have a closet full of crazy clothes and styling each piece together is definitely a strong suit of mine. Of course, I found the most “out there” piece, a top from Junya Watanabe for CDG Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2015, and started thinking about how I could re-work it into a look I haven’t done yet. I took inspiration from more traditional formal menswear to keep most of the outfit quite minimal and maintaina focus on the vibrant colors. Finally, I wanted to incorporate a few pieces of red outside of just one part of my outfit so wore some matching red socks and I crafted an earring out of paper referring to the shapes of the top” -Sam Janssen Met Gala look by Sam Janssen [@samjstudios]


“Modern Victoriana” by Suzaan Stander [@manicvalentino]


“I’ve always been drawn to the intricate femininity and ethereal atmosphere of the Victorian period - to the extravagance and the sense of passion. Equally so for the experimental mod era of 1960’s fashion, where I am absorbed by the radical societal change it represented, and the brilliant silhouettes that emerged in fashion because of it. Creating an ensemble that captured the spirit of these contrasting periods showcased the beauty of blending attributes stemming from such different historical sensibilities.” - Suzaan Stander



Highlighting the artists of the community, the Illustration Expression category featured unique creations spanning all types of artistic mediums centered around the theme.


“My inspiration for this piece came from Andrew Bolton’s quote “It’s a reimagining of fashion history that’s fragmented, discontinuous, and heterogeneous” which immediately conjured an image of the headpiece from Iris Van Herpen FW18. As a portraiture artist, I wanted to focus on how makeup accentuates and evolves with fashion, so I selected makeup looks that told their own stories and history.” -Kesanet Seleshi

“Recurrent Fracture” by Kesanet Seleshi [@amourvenus]


“Aristocracy x Bauhaus” by Jane Powers [@pursuitofgucci]

“When thinking about this design, I wanted to find two eras that seem to be opposites from one another and juxtapose them? My result was a creation of Bauhaus principles mapped onto the bones of an 1800s Marie Antoinette-style gown. I simplified every shape, and de-constructed the gown asymmetrically. In combining these styles, the sum has become greater than its parts, and does not resemble either era, leaving it in a futuristic category all its own.” -Jane Powers


“Timeless Áo Dài” by Madeline Hoang [@madbmy]


“Pamumukadkad” by Ron Roxas [@rnrxs]

“I decided to infused design aspects of the 18th century Rococo menswear three-piece court suit and the 19th century Maria Clara dress from our Filipino heritage, while incorporating queer modernity. The elements perfectly symbolizes the intersection of liberation (Rococo) and constraint (Maria Clara), as well as the midpoint of masculinity and femininity, that I want to convey in my design.” - Ron Roxas


“Cléo” by S. Rvn [@s_rvn_]


“About Time” by Larissa Benvindo [@diorlfairy]

“Fashion is a way to transform a moment in time into something immortal.” - Larissa Benvindo


“The Palawan-Peacock Princess” by Sean Angelo de Guzman [@seanorittnoritt]

“Also known as "tandikan", the Palawan-peacock pheasant is an endangered bird species found prominently in the forests of Palawan, Philippines. The Victorian dress is an inspiration to it, standing as a protest to preserve and protect the tandikan's population. Aside from its bold and metallic colors, the gown also depicts a Filipina in the Victorian era - a European take on the women's traditional clothing - the Traje de Mestiza (popularly known in the Philippines as "Maria Clara dress")” - Sean Angelo de Guzman


Met Gala look by Mary [@YaaMazz]

“It’s a combination of traditional Ghanaian fabric known as kente and the court dresses from the 18th century France. I had a lot of fun drawing this in between exam revision and I’m really happy with how it turned out.” - Mary


“Aristocrat Nouveau” by Suzaan Stander [@manicvalentino]

“The regal elegance of the 17th Century French aristocratic fashion seemed to me in perfect cohesion, yet perfect opposition to the haute couture spirit of the late 20th Century. Intricacy, storytelling and drama reigned supreme through both of these periodical concepts, but differing in what they stood for and represented. I decided to deconstruct the façade of the extravagant fashion within the 17th Century French aristocracy, in order to represent its atmosphere in a modern haute couture sense.” -Suzaan Stander


“Victorian Breeze: Iris Van Herpen inspired illustration” by Nallely Guillén [@JellyGuiRo]

“I got inspiration from the 1880’s western-influenced dresses, as they had a very characteristic structure. However, they also were very visually heavy, something that is contrary to the minimalist trend -with solid colors and clean structures- which we usually associate with futuristic fashion . That’s when Iris Van Herpen’s work came into the design. Her light and yet full-of-volume designs helped me to give that fresh and up-to-date styling to a classic model” - Nallely Guillén




For those interested in participating in another form not addressed within the previous categories, Open Creativity allowed for each individual to express their artistry in whatever manner they chose.


“Rococo, Revisited” look by Asaliah Reiiel Reyes [@svanrovski]

“I’ve always adored the opulence, the extravagance, and the magnificence of men’s fashion during the 16th -18th Century. It was during this era that men were equally as fashionable and stylish as women. I wanted to revive and revamp the very same spirit for this year’s Met Gala Theme. By fusing together the undershirt style that was worn during the Rococo Period in the 18th Century, ornate applique, and the modern men’s formal shirt (paired with violet dress pants and black & white wing-tip shoes), I was able to create a new contemporary look that embodied both the past and the present.” -Asaliah Reiiel Reyes


“Untitled” by Sydney Nichelle [@Nichelle_SS]

“This hair and make-up portrait speaks to Henri Bergson’s philosophies of evolution. What is now has always been. I looked to Jean-Michel Basquiat who explored neo-expressionism and the representation of graffiti and hip hop culture in the 80s. The braids are to represent the sketches on Basquiat’s skull and the liberated expression of black hair today.” -Sydney Nichelle

“Hands On: A Study” by Emily Tonelli [@vivelaurent]

“Since I loved the whimsical usage of hands throughout many of the collections in Maison Schiaparelli, I embroidered pearl hands to cradle my face. Hanging from the top hand is my own rendition of the iconic crying eye earring from Schiaparelli SS 2020 show.” -Emily Tonelli 142

Met Gala look by Jean Castillo [@tearcessation]

“Inspired by Maison Martin Margiela’s white studio in Paris. Paul Sandby’s 18th century illustrations; the beautiful portrayal of draping and gatherings through pencil versus Martin’s white workplace in the 2000s.” -Jean Castillo



“This piece is my take on this years Met Gala theme “About Time: Fashion and Duration” with a twist. I decided to set a focal point on the black “Southern Belle” and place her in a serene setting with a gown that depicts class and royalty. I saw the importance of my muse being a black woman to portray the ideals of classic aristocracy fused with the modern day woman. Ironically inspired by this year’s global pandemic, I was forced to throw myself into a creative moment that would aid me in creating something i’ve dream of seeing on the year’s most important carpet. “The Southern Belle” gown and entire ensemble was designed and hand constructed by me.” -Jimelle Levon

Southern Belle by Jimelle Levon [@jimellelevon]


“ANTIPYRINE is a dress made up with 17 pairs of upcycled denim trousers. This piece is inspired in 1918 Tristan Tzara’s Dada Manifesto, as part of my first semester final collection in fashion school.” -Maria Fernanda Lara

“Antipyrine” by Maria Fernanda Lara [@maflara_]


Met Gala look by Vesta Habeyan [@Lobsidienne]

“I wanted to showcase fashion’s temporality conveyed through the medium of iconic fashion publications ranging from 1892-2020 that textualize and shape fashion through the decades. My aim was to utilise memorable covers with historical significance as an interpretation of the theme (e.g., Vogue Portugal’s ‘Freedom on Hold’, Franca Sozzani’s issue on the BP oil spill and the first black woman on the cover of Vogue, Beverly Johnson in 1974). The corset is handmade using household items. An inspiration for this project was Empress Elisabeth of Austria who is believed to have defined the fashion of her time.” -Vesta Habeyan


Met Gala look by Dioni Saenz [@imyourrushmore]


“Tactic Royalty” look by Matheus Varachin [@capivaras_]

“The idea for this look was to work with dichotomies. The use of a 18th century silhouette that is fairly non-practical but created with the remainings of old cargo pants, which should only be used because of its practicality, + the creation of a feminine considered garmet using what is known as the straight dad uniform. All of these characteristics show the pushes and pulls, the flows, the continuum of fashion not only through the ages, but also through gender performances. The makeup, sort of like a Marie Antoinette dusted of brioche flour, was done by the incrdible Laís Larcher (@laislarchermakeup at Instagram).” -Matheus Varachin


“Time’s Up - Bomb(er) Jacket and Mushroom Cloud Dress” by Glow Job [@QueenGlowJob]

“My look represents the year 2020 which was literally a grenade that has exploded in our face. Let's dust ourselves off, change and heal underneath the bandages, and rise from these ashes as better human beings.” -Glow Job


“Newspaper Dress” by Kayla Simone [@cherriiquartz]

Met Gala look by Kumquat [@mother_kumquat]


“Newspaper Royalty” by Irvingh Bolaños [@irvinghbolanos]


“Ruins” by Emily Essley [@antimle]

“I wanted to evoke ruins. A crumbling statue returning to the earth. The slip is from a previous project I never finished. I hoped it would pass for 20s/30s and give a nod to the parallel fin-de-siècle excess/ collapse that we currently face, but it’s honestly probably more 70s boho.” - Emily Essley




Dear beloved reader, Firstly, we want to thank you for donating to the International Medical Corps. The world is dealing with an unthinkable crisis, but your charity and generosity will help us get through this together. A donation of any size will help the IMC deploy medicines and supplies, train healthcare workers and staff, deploy screening, and more. To everyone at the International Medical Corps, we thank you for your selflessness, your bravery, and your service. Your organization and the work you do is invaluable. We appreciate you being on the frontlines during every crisis, this pandemic being no different. We are eternally grateful for everyone who has become involved or taken interest in our little project. This became bigger than we ever could have imagined and we could not have done it without you. To Sara Li, our official press correspondent and a wonderful fashion journalist, we cannot thank you enough. You have believed in us and this project from the very beginning. Thank you for writing about it in Nylon and Fashionista. You are the reason the event became as big as it did. To Vanessa Friedman, thank you for taking such an interest in our event. We were so excited to meet you and to work with you for those three weeks. Thank you infinitely for writing about us in The New York Times and in the Open Thread Newsletter. To Steff Yotka, Hildy Kuryk, Lucie Zhang, Remi Berger, and everyone at Vogue, thank you for believing in us and for motivating us. It has been an absolute dream to work with you. We are honored to know such powerful women in fashion. To The Cut, thank you for covering our event and providing us with such a large platform to showcase the incredible designs from our community. To Adarsh Alphons and Nina Rowan of Wardrobe NYC and to Gerard Cortez, thank you so much for supporting us and promoting our event through your Instagram Live series. To Emily Orozco and everyone at Access Hollywood, thank you for featuring us within your Feel Good Friday coverage and helping further spread our message of joy and creativity in these unprecedented times.


To Fernando Garcia, Laura Kim, Marco D’Angelo, and Mayer Campbell, and the team at Oscar De La Renta, thank you for working with us and lending their time and guidance by speaking directly to members of the High Fashion Twitter community. Thank you for providing designer insight into the arrangement of the Met Gala. To Thom Browne and the full Thom Browne team, thank you for consistently finding ways to support our event and for believing so strongly in our mission. Your generosity and support has helped bridge the gap between the industry and community. To Andrew Bolton, thank you for providing years of incredible exhibitions that have consistently inspired us to challenge our perceptions and expand our knowledge of fashion. The team, and everyone in fashion, has learned so much from your dedicated curation of the Costume Institute. To the High Fashion Twitter community who has endlessly supported and encouraged us, and more importantly, this project: thank you. Your enthusiasm for art and fashion has created an amazing space for creativity, inspiration, and influence. May this year be the first of many more to come. Lastly, to the friends and families of the team, we thank you infinitely. Thank you for supporting us; for encouraging us; for inspiring us. We appreciate you, we treasure, we love you.

Sincerely, The HFTMG Team



THE TEAM Aria Olson is a newly graduated aerospace engineer at 19 years old, and avid learner with an unjustifiable proficiency in a small fleet of completely unrelated hobbies. Alejandra Beltrán is a 21 year old design and industrial engineering student from Bogotá, Colombia who is fascinated by the way an idea can grow to become something breathtaking. Chloe Kennedy, 19 year old from Houston, is studying literature and pursuing fashion journalism and is heavily devoted to the analysis and academia of art and fashion. Jana Dragićević is a 15 year old high school student from Belgrade, Serbia who hopes that HFTMG will be the first of many creative ventures to come. Margaux Merz is a 19 years old from Michigan, studying fashion journalism, and has taken up becoming a #DomesticGoddess in quarantine. Perla Montan is a 19 year Bostonian studying fashion design in Paris who just happens to be a maximalist with a devotion to art, literature, and languages. Raebele is an 18 year old high school student from the Philippines, with a passion for storytelling within fashion, film and literature, and the representation of Filipino culture in her craft. Rebeca Spitz is a 20 year old from northern Virginia, studying painting & printmaking - her prime love in this life is her cat, Milo. Samantha Haran is a freelance fashion writer, law student and future-academic, interested in deconstructing the relationship between the fashion industry, imperialism and capitalism. Senam Attipoe is a 20 year-old pre-med student majoring in English and Public Health Science; she is passionate about social justice and humanity’s need for, and connection to, art. Sofía Abadi is a 22 year-old graphic design student and freelance graphic designer from Buenos Aires, Argentina intent on not only dissecting trends in design, but setting them. 158


Although we are forever grateful, our intent behind this event was never to gain popularity. It was to be a catalyst for discussion, inclusivity, and change. As women who strive to be leaders in the industry, we couldn’t help but think of our 11-year old selves — the ones who would lie in bed and fantasize about dancing around the room in a gown that she designed. And we knew that somewhere out there, there was a little girl who was just like us. We are so happy that our message reached her...


By Lucía, an 11 year old aspiring fashion designer from Vermont, USA.

“It’s a lot of different fashion designs from different countries and by a lot of different designers all squished together. Bottom up: Bloomers, a pleated tennis skirt from the 1920s, 1500 armor from a very stiff material with a noblewoman's overskirt jewelry, groco-raman draped fabric tunic, neon ruffles from the 1990s, corseted bodice from the colonial era, Henry the VIlIl puff sleeve with renaissance hanging sleeve with 1700s ruffled wristlet.” - Lucía


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