There are only few dates as important as the first Monday of May on the fashion calendar. That’s when the Met Gala is held. The looks of the celebrities at this event can be called an art, and the history of the ball goes back to the middle of the last century. How did this event become so significant to the fashion world? Who rules the ball? Read on everything you need to know about the Met Gala
Let’s start from the beginning: What is the Met Gala?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala, also known as the Met gala is an opening-night party and fundraiser for an annual fashion exhibition curated by the Costume Institute.
Unofficially, the Met has been called many things, including “the party of the year,” “the Oscars of the East Coast” (mostly because of the big amount of celebrities and the red carpet, where guests pose on the grand entrance stairs to the museum).
How it all began?
It all began in 1948, when the Costume Institute, a division responsible for theatrical costumes and scenery, was founded at the New York Metropolitan Museum. The first exhibitions were held quite modestly. And in 1946, the Institute of Costume invented the annual Met Gala, which invitations sold to the elite (the proceeds went to the organization of the next exhibition). At that time the event was not similar to the ball – the usual gala dinner. By the way, it was given then not in May, but in December.
Who rules the ball?
Met Gala owes its grand success to the three women.
Firstly, this is Eleanor Lambert, whom people love to call “the godmother of the American fashion”, a graduate of the Chicago Institute of the Arts, a social lady, and the founder of New York Fashion Week and the Council of American Designers CFDA. At the Institute of Costume, her duties included not only preparing an exhibition on fashion, but also finding funding. And that she came up with taking money for an entrance ticket. Then it cost only $ 50. The price also included the rent of a dress, which the guests could choose from the fund of the museum.
The second is Diana Vreeland, the famous editor in chief of the American Harper’s Bazaar, and then Vogue. It was she who turned the dinner from the housewife collection into a luxurious Ball and the most anticipated event of the industry, anticipating a thematic exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum. Diana began to devote exhibitions not to historical costumes, but to fashion designers (one of the first was Cristobal Balenciaga). And she began to invite not only the elite to the Ball, but also the stars (Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy came to her). In addition, it was Diana who added three zeroes to the initial price of entrance tickets and introduced special rules for visiting.
And closes our list, Anna Wintour – the legendary editor in chief of the American Vogue, which immediately began to establish her own rules. With her, the list of celebrities invited to the Met Gala has expanded so much that the Met needed a red carpet. She also set the rule to put in a pair a celebrity and designer who dressed her. First, the duo shines on the red carpet, and then goes to the table, which bought one of the sponsors.
Speaking of Money, How Much Does attending the Met Gala Cost?
Tickets this year are $30,000 a piece, and tables are about $275,000. The party and exhibition are sponsored. All of the money from ticket sales goes to the Costume Institute, which it needs because it is the only one of the Met’s curatorial departments that has to fund itself, fashion having been an iffy proposition as an art form when the Costume Institute was established.
Last year, just over $12 million was raised. Of course, not everyone pays for a ticket. A brand will often invite celebrities to sit at its table, and Ms. Wintour also often invites up-and-coming designers who may not be able to afford a ticket and scatters them around the event.
The theme of the Met Gala always repeats the theme of the annual exhibition, which starts in the museum on the first Monday of May. The beginning of this tradition was laid in 1974 by Diana Vreeland.
For the themes of the exhibitions meets the permanent curator of the Institute of Costume Andrew Bolton. He chooses all the exhibits and personally controls their placement in the halls. “We always try to choose a topic that seems relevant and anticipate a big trend and the birth of a new cultural phenomenon,” explains Bolton.
The theme of this year is Camp, a term that was popularized by Susan Sontag in her 1964 essay. “We are experiencing a moment when the aesthetics of Camp is more relevant than ever,” Bolton explained the choice of this particular topic in an interview with the New York Times. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s about pop camp, queer camp, sublime camp, or political.”
Looks from the Met Gala 2019
And finally, let’s look at the most original outfits this year at the Met Gala.