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About Time: Fashion and Duration

Bolton, Andrew, with Jan Glier Reeder, Jessica Regan, and Amanda Garfinkel; introduction by Theodore Martin; short story by Michael Cunningham; photography by Nicholas Alan Cope
448 pages
240 illustrations
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“An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length; on the other hand, an hour may be accurately represented on the timepiece of the mind by one second.”
—Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, 1928

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 unique and disruptive fashion chronology that conflates notions of past, present, and future.

Virginia Woolf serves as “ghost narrator”: excerpts from her novels reflect on the passage of time with each subsequent plate 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. And fashion photographer Nicholas Alan Cope illustrates 120 fashions with sublime black and-white photography. This stunning book reveals fashion’s paradoxical connection to linear notions of time.

Mourning dress, silk, cotton, American
Evening dress, Elsa Schiaparelli  Italian, wool, brass, French
ca. 1939
Afternoon dress, silk, American
Walking ensemble, silk, probably American
probably American
ca. 1885
Coat, Yohji Yamamoto  Japanese, wool, silk, synthetic, Japanese
fall/winter 1986–87
Suit, wool<br/>c) cotton, American
Ensemble, Maison Margiela  French, (a) leather, metal, (b) wool, (c) leather, metal, French
fall/winter 1989–90
Dinner dress, Mrs. Arnold  American, silk, American
Raincoat, wool, American
Cycling ensemble, wool, French
ca. 1895
Riding habit, J.G. Müller  American, wool, American
Evening ensemble, House of Dior  French, a) wool, silk; b) wool, French
Multiple artists/makers
spring/summer 1998
Riding ensemble, Morin Blossier  French, silk, metal thread, ostrich feathers, French
ca. 1902
Mourning dress, silk/wool, silk, American
ca. 1903
Dress, wool, French
Dinner dress, Christoph Drecoll  German, silk, fur, rhinestones, Austrian
Uniform, wool, American
Evening dress, Weeks  French, silk, rhinestones, metal, French
Evening dress, House of Chanel  French, silk, plastic, French
Ensemble, House of Chanel  French, silk, wool, metal, French
ca. 1927
Showing 20 of 92

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Bolton, Andrew, Jan Glier Reeder, Jessica Regan, Amanda Garfinkel, Theodore Martin, Michael Cunningham, and Nicholas Alan Cope. 2020. About Time: Fashion & Duration. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.