About Time Fashion and Duration Andrew Bolton, Jan Giler Reeder, Jessica Regan, Amanda Garfinkel, Theodore Martin, Michael Cunningham, Nicholas Alan Cope

Publication date:
09 Jun 2020
Metropolitan Museum of Art
400 pages: 318 x 241mm
240 color illus.
Sales territories:

Traces fashions from 1870 to the present along a conceptual, disruptive, and nontraditional timeline of fashion history

About Time: Fashion and Duration traces the evolution of fashion, from 1870 to the present, through a linear timeline of iconic garments, each paired with an alternate design that jumps forward or backward in time. These unexpected pairings, which relate to one another through shape, motif, material, pattern, technique, or decoration, create a disruptive fashion chronology that conflates notions of past, present, and future.

Virginia Woolf serves as “ghost narrator,” and excerpts from her novels reflect on the passage of time with each subsequent pairing. A new short story by Michael Cunningham, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Hours, recounts a day in the life of a woman over a time span of 150 years through her changing fashions. Scholar Theodore Martin analyzes theoretical responses to the nature of time, underscoring that time is not simply a sequence of historical events. Fashion photographer Nicholas Alan Cope captures 120 fashions with sublime black-and-white photography. This stunning book reveals fashion’s paradoxical connection to linear notions of time.

Andrew Bolton is the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
(October 29, 2020–February 7, 2021)

“The intriguing, non-linear format has the bustles of late nineteenth-century mourning dresses compared with Alexander Mcqueen’s risqué ‘bumster’ skirts…Threaded through with Virginia Woolf quotes, it’s proof that fashion can be thought-provoking – as well as provocative.”—Francesca Carington, Tatler

“Outfits are shown in their entirety and in detail in a series of handsome black-and-white photographs...The wide-ranging essay by literary scholar Theodore Martin is thought provoking, not least because it was written back in the day when being pressed for time was the common condition.”—Emily King, V&A Magazine