With only days left before the fashion industry’s biggest night of the year, it seemed fitting to provide an overview of the famed Met Gala for those that may be unaware of its significance. I’ll be the first to admit – the Met Gala is like my own personal “Super Bowl.” Very few events will get me excited enough to refresh my Instagram feed constantly or pour through hundreds of photos the next morning. However, while many people may have heard of the Met Gala in passing, few seem to understand what this red carpet spectacular is actually about.
Officially known as the “Costume Institue Gala” – though more commonly referred to as either the “Met Gala” or “Met Ball” – the gala first began in 1946 as a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Its purpose was to officially “open” the museum’s annual fashion exhibit while raising money in the process. Since 1946, there has been an official “theme” to the gala – which almost always coincides with the new annual exhibition.
While the gala has always been a glamorous affair, it reached iconic status in 1995 when Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was appointed Chair of the event. Over the past two decades (excluding the 1996 and 1998 galas), Anna has overseen all aspects of the event. She has managed the benefit committee, appointed select celebrities to serve as “honorary chairs” for each year, and – perhaps most notably – controlled the gala’s guest list.
As the Met Gala is widely considered to be the most influential red carpet event of the year, invites are not easy to come by. The gala is notoriously known for being extremely exclusive. On average, there are less than 700 individuals on the guest list. If there are any additional spots available, tickets may be available for purchase from the general public – but the cost is over $30,000 a piece and Anna Wintour must personally approve the buyer’s attendance in order for them to attend.
This year, the Met Gala will be held on Monday, May 7 with the red carpet coverage scheduled to begin around 7 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Central). Its theme has been titled, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. Amal Clooney, Rihanna, and Donatella Versace have been selected to serve as Honorary Chairs for the 2018 gala. For anyone that happens to find themselves in New York City this summer, the exhibition will run from May 10 until October.
As you can likely tell by the theme’s title, this year is anticipated to be a potentially controversial event. At its core, fashion is art – but the question of how couture influenced by religion will be received. My personal prediction is we’re likely to see some industry members choosing to boldly push the limit – while many others will choose to play it safe with an “angelic” look instead (or perhaps find a gown that invokes a Renaissance-type feel instead).
If you’d like to learn more about the Met Gala, I highly recommend watching “The First Monday in May” – a documentary focused on the 2015 gala that is currently available on Netflix.
In closing – and in excitement – I’d like to leave with you with a few of my favorite looks from past Met Galas, as we eagerly count down the hours until Monday evening.
Princess Diana in 1996, wearing Dior
Sarah Jessica Parker in 2006, wearing Alexander McQueen
Kate Moss in 2009, wearing Marc Jacobs
Blake Lively in 2014, wearing Gucci
Amal Clooney in 2015, wearing John Galliano
Beyonce in 2015, wearing Givenchy
Bella Hadid in 2017, wearing Alexander Wang