I thought this was a neat story, and it really sent me down a rabbit-hole thinking about all the different facets of quilting. First, it cemented the fact that quilting is truly an art form. Just like other art forms such as painting or sculpture or film, the creation often outlives the artist who created it. However, unlike other art forms, quilts have a fundamentally utilitarian nature. People literally sleep with them for warmth-- is any other art form capable of connecting on a more personal level than that? None that I am aware of, and it is in that sense that I find quilting to be extremely unique.
Another thought I had was that the quilted cape was very appropriate for the occasion. After all, the Met Gala's theme was In America, and there is a very rich history of quilting in our country. You start with the fact that quilting in Colonial America was purely for the purpose to keep people warm. Then, over time, as waves of immigrants arrived and as people moved across the country, different styles and techniques emerged (e.g. Broderie Perse quilts, Baltimore Album quilts). Essentially, quilting evolved as the country evolved. When viewed from that lens, the history of quilting and the history of America are inextricably intertwined.
As I went deeper down the American quilting rabbit-hole, I came across a book called Hidden in Plain View. This book tells a story that truly exemplifies how the history of quilting is interwoven with the history of America: how enslaved men and women made encoded quilts and then used them to navigate their escape on the Underground Railroad. The book's authors assert that certain quilt patterns, including a prominent one called the Charleston Code, were essential tools for escape along the Underground Railroad. Personally, I never knew anything about this before and think it is incredible. Similar to the recycled quilt cape at the Met Gala, this story about the coded Underground Railroad quilts also involves an unexpected turn of fate. Who would have thought that quilts would be used in such a way? Humans are truly ingenious, and when I hear stories like this, I can't help but feel a deepened appreciation for the art of quilting.