May 6, 2024
Trish Arab

Met Gala 2024 - "The Garden of Time" (2 minute read)

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II was all prepared to come here and write a blog on all of the gorgeous pieces of art showcased on the steps of The Met tonight, as the creme de la creme of Hollywood, handpicked by Anna Wintour of Vogue, and charged $75,000 a ticket ($16,000 more than the average American makes in a year), gathered tonight celebrating the exhibition "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion," which showcases "clothing and fashion so fragile that it can't ever be worn again—and are thus sleeping beauties in the scrupulous archives of the Costume Institute," according to Vogue.  

I even had a favourite picked: As pictured above, Dove Cameron is wearing Diesel (which I'm quite sure is the fashion house's debut at the Gala).  

When I looked up the short story meant to inspire the exhibit and the event, however, I knew I had to write something different.

The dress code for the event is "The Garden of Time," which was inspired by J.G. Ballard's 1962 short story of the same name, in which Count Axel and his wife live and listen to Mozart in a magnificent villa, surrounded by a garden of large globe crystal flowers, as an angry and unruly mob advances on them. Laser focused on keeping the mob away, and Count Axel must turn back time by plucking the flowers, one by one until they are all gone and there is no time left. By the end of the story, the mob reaches the villa only to find the count, and his wife turns to stone, and the villa is in shambles. The mob was approaching hoping for a revolution; the count was pushing back time not because he didn't want the mob to come but because he wanted to keep enjoying his riches for as long as he could. Ultimately, he destroyed everything on his own, and the mob was left with nothing.

Did Vogue choose this theme on purpose? Are they acknowledging the irony of how real and relevant this short story is? We have two major wars happening, protests engulfing university campuses (and one approaching The Met throughout the night), and a presidential election leaving the majority of the country at odds and hopeless. Yes, inside the secure safety of privilege and position, celebrities dressed in beautiful flower and garden-inspired designs. The privilege on display, oblivious to the chaos approaching them, each flash of a camera slowing down time so that the night can be enjoyed without any guilt or worry of what's coming ahead.

This was either the biggest wink to the tone-deafness of using this short story as inspiration, with Vogue showing us that they are in on the joke, or it's proof that at the end of all this, we will be left with nothing.