Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion? You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

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Black dress with roses

Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion

まで 9月2日
Free with Museum admission

Visiting the exhibition

You must join the virtual queue when you arrive. We may not admit visitors near the end of the day. Sleeping Beauties is an immersive exhibition with sensory experiences including video animations, soundscapes, and smells. Visitors travel in a single path in one direction.

Special Access for Members
Priority access in the virtual queue and Weekend Member Mornings 9–10 am every Saturday and Sunday

The Costume Institute’s spring 2024 exhibition, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, reactivates the sensory capacities of masterworks in the Museum’s collection through first-hand research, conservation analysis, and diverse technologies—from cutting-edge tools of artificial intelligence and computer-generated imagery to traditional formats of x-rays, video animation, light projection, and soundscapes.

When an item of clothing enters the Costume Institute collection, its status is changed forever. What was once a vital part of a person’s life is now a motionless ‘artwork’ that can no longer be worn or heard, touched, or smelled. This exhibition reanimates these objects, helping us experience them as they were originally intended—with vibrancy, dynamism, and life.

The exhibition features approximately 220 garments and accessories spanning four centuries, all visually connected through themes of nature, which also serves as a metaphor for the transience of fashion. Visitors will be invited to smell the aromatic histories of hats bearing floral motifs; to touch the walls of galleries that will be embossed with the embroidery of select garments; and to experience—via the illusion technique known as Pepper’s ghost—how the “hobble skirt” restricted women’s stride in the early 20th century. Punctuating the galleries will be a series of “sleeping beauties”—garments that can no longer be dressed on mannequins due to their extreme fragility.

To access the booklet of all large-print exhibition text, click here

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A feast for the senses

The Guardian

To enter the exhibition is to cross a border into another realm


The show allows visitors to use all the senses — smell, hearing, even touch — with a little help from new technologies like AI and molecular recordings of smells on decades-old garments and accessories

The Cut
Jun Takahashi (Japanese, born 1969) for Undercover (Japanese, founded 1990). Dress, spring/summer 2024. Reinforced 3-D-printed clear resin containing purple silk plain-weave roses, green silk velvet leaves, and yellow and purple silk plain-weave butterflies overlaid with yellow nylon tulle and trimmed with yellow embossed leather. Courtesy Undercover. Photography © Nick Knight, 2024

Plan Your Visit

まで 9月2日
Free with Museum admission
Black dress with roses