Fashion and Duration Welcomes Three Oscar-Winning Exhibition Narrators

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s upcoming exhibit About Time: Fashion and Duration promises to be a visual feast. The show’s dueling galleries were conceived by stage designer Es Devlin, winding like a clock to give life to the near-200 garments the Wendy Yu curator in charge of the Costume Institute, Andrew Bolton, has selected to show fashion’s warping and winding relationship to years passing. But as Bolton—and any visitor to his exhibitions of late— knows, understanding fashion’s history doesn’t begin and end with visuals. Last year’s Camp: Notes on Fashion exhibit featured the soundtrack of Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in its opening and closing galleries, as well as the clacking of a typewriter in the exhibit’s central gallery, which paired Susan Sontag’s bullet points from Notes on Camp with garments and works of art. 

What sound will accompany About Time: Fashion and Duration? Bolton and the Met’s curatorial team found an answer in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the author’s 1928 novel chronicling the protagonist’s evolving relationship with time and timeliness. Three segments of the novel will be narrated in the exhibition’s galleries by voices quite familiar with Woolf’s work: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore. The Oscar-winning actresses starred in The Hours, the 2002 film based on Michael Cunningham’s 1998 novel of the same name that tells parallel tales of how three women’s lives are impacted by Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway. (Kidman won the Academy Award for her portrayal of the author.)

Here, the Met reveals a sneak peek—well, sneak listen, rather—of Streep’s narration from Orlando. To hear the other two actresses’ narrarations, you’ll have to reserve a ticket for About Time: Fashion and Duration when it opens on October 29.

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