Dear Shaded Viewers,


“Though today is the first Monday in May, we are not rolling out the red carpet on the front steps, but we will in September – subject to government guidelines, of course” said Max Hollein, the Marina Kellen French Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is not exaggerating to assert that the MET Gala is arguably one of the most, if not the most, expected event in terms of red carpet sightseeings: star-spangled, flickering-light, giving-it-all creations worn by the most powerful stars of our era. Since the pandemic postponed the event in 2020, it may be a coincidence out of bad luck to assume that this year’s theme marks a new beginning of fashion, or a celebration (and reexamination) of the inland creativity: “In America”.


A discovery to the roots of American identity throughout three centuries, and the exhibition will be divided into two parts: the first part: “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” will be opened at The Anna Wintour Costume Center in September 18th, which will celebrate The Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary and explore a modern vocabulary of American fashion, and the second part “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” will open in the American Wing period rooms on May 5, 2022 and explore the development of American fashion through narratives that relate to the histories of those spaces. Forgotten designers like Ann Lowe and Stephen Burrows will be on display again, as a privilege for the audience to witness a kind of wit and talent that has long gone. 


As Eva Chen continues to emphasize the importance of Instagram as a voice of activism and social justice, we also know that Instagram will play an important role at the MET Gala this year in terms of visual and information delivery. Luckily for us who cannot come to New York for the exhibition, it is made possible to view on Instagram thanks to the support of CDFA. The discussion moves on with an assertion on the efforts of contributing to equity, transparency, sustainability, diversity and inclusion of American designers, remarked by Andrew Bolton. Alongside all the movements and awakenings, this year anthology will challenge the way we have perceived American history in general and fashion in particular. “In its conceptualization, part two actually preceded part one and actually inspired and informed it. For many years now we’ve been examining our collection to uncover hidden or untold stories with a view to complicating or problematizing monolithic interpretations of fashion. Our intention for part two is to bring these stories together in an anthology that challenges perceived histories and offers alternative readings of American fashion,” Bolton explains. 


We had “China: Through the Looking Glass”, which stunned the world (and fashion addicts) with Rihanna’s Guo Pei dress, or “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”, with unlimited experimentations. But these were the times where things were operated in normalcy, when all you could do was to pack up your bag and hop on a plane to go whenever, wherever (hypothetically saying because I know damn well that not anyone is fortunate enough to just “live laugh love”, thank you capitalism I am watching you). Lockdown after lockdown, and though there’s people that have been trying to escape by violating the government’s regulations, most things have stayed inactive and locked up. Isn’t this an allegory for a return to the roots of our creative forces and history? Maybe it is the right time, after all these years and protests and movements, that we need to take a step back and look closely, honestly and truthfully at the past, so we can move on to the future with less mistakes and more gratitude. 


Watch the preview here and read more about the exhibition here.

Colette Tran

A heuristic ignoramus.