Action! The Met Gala exhibit will highlight 8 top film directors

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NEW YORK (AP) – Hollywood will have a strong presence at this year’s Met Gala — and not just on the red carpet. A panel of top film directors, including Sofia Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Regina King and last year’s Academy Award winner Chloé Zhao, will be a key part of the Costume Institute exhibition that opens the gala in May.

Star curator Andrew Bolton on Tuesday announced the list of eight directors who will create so-called “cinematic vignettes” in the historic rooms of the American wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The other four are Janicza Bravo, Julie Dash, Autumn de Wilde and Tom Ford, the acclaimed fashion designer-turned-film director.


The latest exhibition – “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” – is actually the second part of a major two-part show exploring the roots of American fashion. The first part opened in September alongside a slimmed-down “mini-gala,” one of two galas planned within a year as the Costume Institute, like any other arts institution, grapples with pandemic restrictions.

This exhibition, which opens alongside what the museum hopes will be a grand gala on May 2 — a return to the traditional first Monday in May — will showcase about 100 examples of men’s and women’s fashion from the 19th through the mid-20s. Century.

While Part One, which will continue to be on view at the Anna Wintour Costume Center, explores “a new language in American fashion,” Part Two explores “unknown fashion narratives filtered through the imaginations of some of America’s most visionary film directors ,” Bolton said in a remark on Tuesday.

Additionally, some of the garments featured in Part One will be rotated over the next month to include other designers who have not yet been featured. This exhibition attempts to focus on themes of social justice, diversity and inclusivity, and body acceptance. And youth: Much of the clothing is by younger designers, many of whom have never shown their creations in a museum, Bolton said at the September opening.

On Tuesday, Bolton and museum director Max Hollein told a press meeting at the museum that each of the eight directors would create their own “fictional cinematic vignettes, or ‘stills’,” in specific rooms from the American Wing era. The show, they said, would focus on key people who have shaped American fashion throughout history, most of them women, and many of whom have been overlooked by history — not just designers, but tailors, for example .

Bolton said Scorsese would show his work in a 20th-century living room designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and King in a 19th-century living room in Richmond, Virginia.

De Wilde will show hers in the Baltimore and Benkard rooms; Zhao in an 1830s Shaker rest room; Bravo at the Rococo Revival Salon and Gothic Revival Library; Coppola in the McKim, Mead and White Stair Hall and Worsham-Rockefeller Dressing Room; Dash at the Greek Revival Parlor and the Renaissance Revival Room; and Ford in the gallery housing John Vanderlyn’s 1819 panoramic mural of Versailles.

Bolton also explained that six “case studies” will appear in the galleries, offering an in-depth look — “almost forensic analysis,” he said — into period garments important to fashion history. Examples, he said, would be outfits thought to have been worn by Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

The celebrity co-chairs of the May Gala have yet to be announced. In September it was actor Timothée Chalamet, musician Billie Eilish, poet Amanda Gorman and tennis star Naomi Osaka.

The Met Gala is a huge source of income for the museum and provides the Costume Institute with its main source of funding. In America: An Anthology of Fashion opens to the public May 7, five days after the May 2 Gala and runs through September 5, along with Part One.

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