With Help From Animation, AI, and an Olfactory Artist, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” Is Bringing Rarely Seen Pieces to Life

On the avenue today before The Metropolitan Museum of Art, it is frosty, with a selection of clothing that reflects the weather—pedestrians are hastening by with scarves and tweed coats drawn to their chins. But soon the rush of passing garments will change. In the spring, when the trees of Central Park grow fragrant and the asphalt warms, people wearing dresses in soft fabrics will pass scatterings of tourists out on the museum steps. At the start of May, a red carpet will draw up the staircase, and guests dressed for the Met Gala will catch camera flashes on their way inside. By tradition, that will be high fashion’s brightest moment, when an outfit and a personality bring each other most entirely to life. Then the attendees will enter the museum, where, most years, they would tour an exhibition of historic dresses whose wearers are long vanished, and whose fabrics are now frozen in place.
“It’s something we always struggle with—that, once a garment comes into the museum, a lot of the sensorial experiences that we take for granted with clothing are lost,” Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge at the Costume Institute, explains this morning, over tea, in a dimly lit conference room inside The Met. Photographs of more than 50 clothing items are pinned to the wall. “The positive part of it is that we’re custodians of the clothing, here to take care of it in perpetuity,” he goes on. “But that involves very specific conditions: You can’t touch it, you can’t smell it, it can’t be worn. And you can’t hear it.”

{Categories} _Category: Applications,_Category: Inspiration,*ALL*{/Categories}
{Author}Nathan Heller{/Author}

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