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J.G. Ballard’s Short Story Inspired The 2024 MET Gala

In a 1975 interview, Ballard himself denied any hint of nostalgia in his work, embracing instead the societal changes of the 1960s.

Last May 6th, the fashion world’s most influential figures gather at the Met Gala, an annual event that sets the tone for the industry. This year’s exhibition, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, is a nod to the delicate and ephemeral nature of haute couture.

As Vogue puts it, the featured designs are “so fragile that they can’t ever be worn again—and are thus sleeping beauties in the scrupulous archives of the Costume Institute.”

The dress code for the event, “The Garden of Time,” draws inspiration from J.G. Ballard’s 1962 short story of the same name, a tale that captures the inevitable doom of the aristocracy. This dress code encourages attendees to interpret the theme in their fashion choices, perhaps by incorporating elements of decay, regality, or the passage of time into their outfits.

J.G. Ballard was an English novelist and short story writer, satirist, and essayist known for his psychologically provocative works of fiction, and his pieces never fail to examine the complexities of the human condition amid societal upheaval.

As the count and countess confront the “vast throng of people, men and women,” their idyllic existence crumbles, revealing the fragility of their sanctuary and the emptiness within.

In a 1975 interview, Ballard himself denied any hint of nostalgia in his work, embracing instead the societal changes of the 1960s as a testament to progress. His words echo through the halls of the Met, reminding us that true beauty lies not in preserving the past but in embracing the future.

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