From the Steps to the Streets, Here’s How To Wear This Year’s Garden of Time Theme IRL

As celebs arrive to fashion’s biggest night, E! has you covered with all the couture inspo you can wear IRL spotted from this year’s themed ball In New York City.

By Camila Quimper May 07, 2024 1:46 AMTags
Shop Garden of Time IRLE! News Illustration / Photos Courtesy of Getty Images, Amazon, Anthropologie

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The moment we've all been waiting for is here and in full bloom. Celebs have now arrived at fashion's biggest night, blessing the steps with jaw-dropping customs couture fits we can't get of. With this year's exhibition being "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,", it's all about honoring fashion from the archives that are so fragile, it can never be worn again.

Andrew Bolton, the head curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, told Vogue, "It is very much an ode to nature and the emotional poetics of fashion."

Apart from the exhibition, this year's theme and dress code is "The Garden of Time." Florals for spring? Yes, it is groundbreaking…especially tonight. And we're here to show you all the nature-inspired styles and decay-like designs we spotted at the ball, apart from other Sleeping Beauty-inspired surrealism fits you can adopt to your IRL style in a more subtle way. 

But first, understanding this year's dress code requires insight into its inspiration: J.G. Ballard's 1962 short story of the same name. Ballard, known for "The Empire of the Sun," paints a picture of Count Axel and the Countess in their idyllic world of leisure and beauty. Their villa overlooks a garden filled with crystalline flowers, yet Ballard's trademark dystopian touch lurks beneath the surface. 

In this paradise, a dystopian undercurrent flows as an encroaching mob threatens their tranquility. To restore order, Count Axel must use time-reversing flowers from his garden until none remain. The story concludes with the mob overtaking the villa, now a derelict space with a neglected garden and a statue of the Count and Countess entangled in thorny plants.

Now how exactly can I wear it in real life? Keep scrolling for our street style picks inspired by this year's "The Garden of Time" theme.

Melancholic Florals

Banana Republic Factory Floral Jacquard Straight Trousers

Take the theme from the steps to the office with these gorgeous floral jacquard trousers. Its metallic subtle floral design can be linked to all the other jaw-dropping metallic silver couture fits we saw on celebs, while its overall vibe still gives off melancholic botanical elegance.

Reformation Annabelle Silk Dress

The 100% lightweight silk charmeuse fabric drapes gracefully on this Reformation dress, capturing the essence of the moody, decaying floral motif that defined the evening. With its cowl neckline and floor-length silhouette, the Annabelle dress exudes understated elegance, enveloping the wearer in an enchanting aura reminiscent of a nocturnal garden in bloom.

Gothic Black and Lace

DOLAN Lace-Trim Baby Tee

A subtle baby tee with lace detailing on the sleeves and lace trim along the bottom is a great way to style the black, decay-like lacey theme we've seen on the steps worn by many celebs. Pair it with a cute a-line skirt and platform loafers for a gothcore moment.

By Anthropologie The Harlowe Lace Bodysuit

The gothic lace theme was seen across many celebs on the steps, paying a nod to Sleeping Beauty. So a great way to incorporate the avant-garde goth look into a more wearable style is by adding a simple black lace bodysuit to any fit. Although, our favorite way to pair black lace is with black leather pants.

Maeve Floral Lace Vest

Can it get any more on theme than this floral motif lace vest? We love how it pays a nod to the conceptual fashion looks we saw, while still keeping it very wearable. Pair it with a cute bra and palazzo pants for a fashion-forward look.

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Monochromatic Beige and Ivory

Juakoso Ruffles Strapless Dress

A lot of monochromatic beige and ivory dresses were seen on the steps, paying an ode to the concept of time and desert. But a different way to keep the ethereal look is by sporting a ruffle cottagecore-like dress. We love how sweet and on-theme this casual Amazon dress is, with its flowing silhouette reminiscent of a garden nymph.

ONIRIKE Pleated Loungewear Set

We spotted a fabulous pleated avant-garde dress on the steps, and we couldn't help but think of this viral pleated loungewear set as a great street style option. It's comfy and flowy and comes in plenty of other colorways.

Ethereal & Romantic 3D Blooms

Yiulangde Y2K Red Strapless Tube Top

Quite a few were spotted with red rose accessories or sporting the color on the steps, so we recommend taking the literal red rose theme and wearing it as a stunning 3D rose tube top. For a more tone-down Y2K look, pair it with flared-leg jeans.

Reformation Gabriella Skirt

This ethereal Reformation skirt features a relaxed fit, and embroidered floral designs with 3D petal-like accents, lending a tactile dimension to its whimsical charm. Crafted with meticulous detail, the accents create a mesmerizing visual effect, as if the blossoms are delicately blooming before your eyes.

Argeousgor 3D Flower Tank Top

Sometimes, it can be as simple as a single 3D flower attached to an off-the-shoulder top that still pays ode to the "Garden of Time" theme. While many celebs were also seen wearing black and white gowns, this tank is another great street style option anyone can wear.

While we're staying on theme, reawaken your hair with these products that work while you sleep.