Lastly! The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork opened its newest Costume Institute present Thursday, after a number of delays — and a canceled gala — attributable to COVID-19. And it’s solely becoming, because the exhibit is all about . . . time.

“About Time: Trend and Length” marks the Met’s 150th anniversary, and the exhibit displays 150 years of style, culling largely from the Costume Institute’s personal archive. But as a substitute of a simple timeline exhibiting the progress of traits and silhouettes, “About Time” has a extra eclectic strategy, exhibiting how style — like historical past — regularly repeats itself.

“In essence, the present is a meditation of style and temporality,” mentioned curator Andrew Bolton in remarks to the press earlier this week, “drawing out the tensions of change and endurance [as well as] ephemerality and persistence.”

A piece from the Comme des Garçons fall/winter 2004–5 collection in the Met's
A chunk from the Comme des Garçons fall/winter 2004-5 assortment within the Met’s “About Time” exhibit.The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork

The present is organized chronologically, beginning with a bustled “mourning costume” from 1870 and ending with a silk rose-shaped frock by Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton from 2019. But a second, parallel timeline runs all through the present, juxtaposing these appears to be like marking the passage of time with related creations from a wholly totally different time interval. Bolton selected 120 principally black ensembles, “to emphasise their altering silhouettes and interconnection.”

On one hand, the exhibit is proof of that previous adage “nice artists steal,” exhibiting that even probably the most iconic, boundary-pushing clothes (from Jean Paul Gaultier’s cone bra for Madonna to Gianni Versace’s va-va-voom security pin costume) had taken inspiration from extra vintage duds. But, it additionally reveals that just about each single fad is ripe for resurrection. It’s not simply the timeless artifacts that get recycled time and again — the little black costume, the smoking jacket, the tweed skirt swimsuit — however probably the most outre, ridiculous and dated, too: bulbous bustles, constricting corsets, padded hips, a World Battle I-era Pink Cross uniform copied by designer John Galliano in . . . 2020?

Properly, why not? As Bolton mentioned, “Time exists as a steady stream.”

Right here, a have a look at a number of the exhibit’s most well-known kinds, and the way they proceed to proliferate in the present day.

“About Time” runs by way of Feb. 7, 2021. Timed tickets are required for entry to the exhibition and can be found at or, for members and New York State residents, on website.

Haute {hardware}

Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant attend the premiere of 'Four Weddings and A Funeral' in London, England, 1984.
Elizabeth Hurley within the well-known safety-pin Versace costume in 1994 (left) and John Singer Sargent’s “Madame X” from 1883-84.Dave Benett/Getty Photos/The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork

Elizabeth Hurley brought on a sensation when she arrived on the 1994 premiere of the movie “4 Weddings and a Funeral” on this salacious sheath with skin-baring slits held collectively by oversize security pins. But Versace wasn’t the one designer to mix {hardware}, uncovered pores and skin and excessive style. In 1977, British designer Zandra Rhodes debuted her torn “punk marriage ceremony costume,” adorned with beaded security pins and ball-chain fringe. And in 1884, a younger socialite named Virginie Gautreau scandalized le tout-Paris when her portrait — painted by John Singer Sargent — debuted, exhibiting her in a revealing black costume with a sweetheart neckline and bejeweled shoulder straps, which bears greater than a putting resemblance to Hurley’s equally surprising frock.

The Chanel swimsuit

Coco Chanel in her original suit design in 1954; Kristen Stewart and Jacqueline Kennedy, both in Chanel.
Coco Chanel in her authentic swimsuit design in 1954; Kristen Stewart and Jacqueline Kennedy, each in Chanel.Everett Assortment Historic/Alamy Inventory Photograph; Todd Williamson/January Photos/REX; Artwork Rickerby/The LIFE Image Assortment/Getty Photos

Coco Chanel created “timeless” style, which is why practically a century after her “little black costume,” she’s nonetheless being copied. Take her signature wool swimsuit, which debuted in 1954, consisting of a boxy cardigan-like jacket and a straight skirt. A minimum of Jacqueline Kennedy wore a knockoff — the notorious bubblegum pink swimsuit she was carrying when her husband was assassinated in 1963. (Though Jackie’s did come from a real Chanel sample.) When Karl Lagerfeld took over the storied Home of Chanel in 1982, he instantly shortened the swimsuit’s hem to micro proportions. Different designers have put a postmodern spin on the basic, rendering it in garish McDonald’s colours (a la Jeremy Scott) or shredding it and turning it inside-out (a la Junya Watanabe). Present muse Kristen Stewart has worn infinite variations herself, together with this one in pale pink satin that she styled and not using a shirt beneath — how au courant!

Driving jackets

Morin Blossier 1902 Riding Jacket and Roberto Cavalli Fashion Fete to Benefit the Jackson Metropolitan's Technology Fund
Morin Blossier 1902 Driving Jacket and Roberto Cavalli Trend Fete to Profit the Jackson Metropolitan’s Know-how Fund.Nicholas Alan Cope/The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork; Rodrigo Varela/WireImage

Typically it’s the least sensible objects that find yourself coming again into style time and again. Take the ostentatious waistcoats and “driving jackets” of late 17th and early 18th century France, stiffly embroidered with flowers and worn with frilly lace collars. Queen Alexandra, consort of King Edward VII, was photographed carrying this ornamental puff-sleeved silk velvet driving jacket by Morin Blossier in 1902. In 2003, Italian designer Roberto Cavalli did an Edwardian frock coat in denim worn with cut-offs, and in 2018 Louis Vuitton director Nicolas Ghesquière confirmed a collection of jacquard-woven silk jackets and waistcoats paired with athletic shorts and sneakers — immediately impressed by the historic clothes within the Met’s assortment.

Cone bras

A model in Jean-Paul Gaultier's 1984-85 collection in Paris and Madonna during her Blond Ambition World Tour in 1990.
A mannequin (left) in Jean Paul Gaultier’s 1984-85 assortment in Paris and Madonna throughout her “Blond Ambition World Tour” in 1990.Getty Photos; Shutterstock

Imagine it or not, Madonna’s signature cone bra — which she wore for her 1990 “Blond Ambition” tour — wasn’t all that authentic. The bra’s creator, Jean Paul Gaultier, had debuted an much more exaggerated model of the silhouette in his 1984 fall runway assortment, that includes corseted crushed-velvet clothes with the cartoonish conical cups impressed by the perky-breasted sweater ladies of the 1940s and ‘50s. Punk provocateur Vivienne Westwood debuted the same, extra demure model of the high-fashion cone bra within the early 1980s. And again in 1949, the American couturier Charles James — identified for his elegant ballgowns — debuted his “Tulip” costume, that includes a conical bust that appears nearly precisely like Gaultier’s later boundary-pushing creation.