The Met Ball or Met Gala is the fashion world equivalent of the Oscars. It’s an evening where designers, models, and Hollywood stars appear in the year’s most OTT (over-the-top) looks. It’s the event that inspired the movie Oceans 8! Here is everything you need to know about the gala event:
The Met Gala is the shortened name for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala. Most importantly it’s an opening-night party and fundraiser for an annual fashion exhibit curated by the Costume Institute, the museum’s fashion department.
The Costume Institute is the only curatorial department at the Met that funds itself. Tickets to this event cost about $35,000 each and it is attended by the biggest names in film and fashion.
Every year there’s a theme for the clothes featured on the red carpet and in the museum exhibit. In 2018 the dress code was Sunday best for an exhibition called ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.’
We all remember the iconic pope outfit worn by Rihanna that year, don’t we? Other previous themes have encircled people like Alexander McQueen and Rei Kawakubo or styles like punk and costumes of India. This year, the theme was ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion,’ inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay – Notes on Camp.
Each year, in addition to Anna Wintour, the event brings on honorary chair members. The late Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace were the first designers chosen to co-chair the night in 1995.
The Gala has also made space for celebrities and even royalty to take part. Princess Caroline of Hanover was a chair of the Met Gala in 2005, Beyoncé was a chair member in 2013 and 2018 saw Rihanna, Amal Clooney, and Donatella Versace co-chair the event. Donatella is also a sponsor of the exhibition.
This year, Anna Wintour co-hosted the event with Lady Gaga, Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles, and Serena Williams.
As the Met Gala marks the opening night of the Costume Institute’s Annual Fashion Exhibit, the theme of the exhibition sets the tone for the event and invitees to have to dress accordingly.
While this year’s theme looks, set to be one of the Met Gala’s most creative yet, the prestigious event hasn’t been without its fair share of controversy. One of the few events where celebs are encouraged to push the boundaries of fashion, every year the gala results in chaotic discussions surrounding the choice of theme and its sartorial interpretation by A-listers.
In 2015, the Met Gala celebrated China’s influence on Western Fashion with a theme fit for an emperor (or empress!). However, the announcement was famously met with mixed reactions with many accusing the event of cultural appropriation.
Celebrities dressed in orient-inspired outfits reflective of Asian Culture, but many took issue with the fact that hardly any attendees wore garments made by Chinese designers.
Despite the controversy, ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ became one of the most-visited exhibitions in the Met’s history.
Last year’s theme titled ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination’ also raised eyebrows due to its religious connection. Guests wore everything from jeweled crucifixes to halos. Rihanna donned a mitre and gown inspired by papal opulence and Katy Perry wore a pair of unearthly 6-foot angel wings.
While the Vatican supported the exhibit and lent over 40 pieces from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, including opulent papal robes, precious rings, and tiaras from the 18th to 21st century, others weren’t as forgiving. A Twitter user wrote, “My religion is not your Met Gala outfit.”
On another note, it’s reality TV at its most glamorous: the All-Star Game of Entrances. Who cares about sitting down? Who cares about food? And let’s be honest with ourselves: Who can resist?