Whilst recently chatting with some family members that I don’t happen to see too often, I noticed mid-conversation that although many ‘know’ of the Met Gala, not many actually understand why is takes place (I was stared at blankly and swiftly continued on with other chat). After explaining to my mum at a later time what all the fuss is about, I thought it would be a great idea to put together a few pointers as a quick means to understand the ‘what, where and why’ of the annual event better known as the Met Gala.
What Is It? The Met Gala, or Met Ball, is the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit is a fundraiser for the museum’s Costume Institute. Along side this the event also celebrates the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibition.
Where and When Is It Held? Held on the first Monday of May, the event takes place in the museum’s Anna Wintour Costume center, named after the Vogue editor-in-chief.
Since When? The first Met Gala took place in 1946 however the first theme was from 1971 : ‘Fashion Plate’.
Who Hosts The Event? Anna Wintour has served as the co-chair of the Met Gala almost every year since 1995 and took over as chairwoman of the Gala in 1999. Previous hosts have included Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, former Miss America-Olivia Culpo, Caroline Kennedy and designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace.
What Happens On The Night? Once celebrities and insiders arrive there is a Cocktail hour in which guests walk the red carpet and tour that year’s special themed exhibition before being seated for entertainment from the preeminent entertainers of the day, then followed by a formal dinner.
Why The Theme? The theme each year sets the tone for the exhibit taking place in the museum that year and also requires guests to uphold the theme in their choice of attire.
Previous Themes and stand-out moments? 2011 saw a theme and exhibit that honoured Alexander McQueen : Savage Beauty and saw a record-breaking number of attendees at the flood through the museum doors. President Donald Trump proposed to his wife and now, first-lady Melania Trump at the 2004 Met Gala (no they are not attending this year just in case you’re wondering), and Princess Diana celebrated Christian Dior pairing her infamous Pearl and Blue Sapphire Necklace with a chic Navy Gown in 1996.
The 2017 Theme is… Comme des Garçons’s Rei Kawakubo. Kawakubo’s first Paris runway show was in 1981 and she is the first living designer to be honoured by the Costume Institute since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983. The exhibition will feature over 100 of the designer’s Comme des Garçons womenswear designs.
When Does The Exhibition Take Place? From May 4th to September 4th 2017.
Who Are This Year’s Hosts? This year’s co-chairs are Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, with Kawakubo also serving as honorary chair.
Some of the Best Dressed from Previous Years…
Cher and Bob Mackie // 1974
Kate Moss wearing Marc Jacobs & Steven Jones (alongside Marc Jacobs) // 2009 : Model As Muse – Embodying Fashion
Iman with Calvin Klein // 1981 : The 18th Century Woman
Amber Valletta // 1999 : Rock Style
Karolina Kurkova in Viktor & Rolf // 2005 : The House Of Chanel
Lee McQueen & Sarah Jessica Parker, wearing McQueen // 2006 : Anglomania – Tradition & Transgression in British Fashion
Mary-Kate Olsen // 2007 : Poiret – King Of Fashion
Beyonce Knowles wearing custom Emilio Pucci alongside Jay-Z // 2011 : Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty
Kim Kardashian & Kanye West both wearing Balmain // 2016 : Manus x Machina Fashion in an Age of Technology
Tom Brady & Gisele Bündchen waering Alexander McQueen // 2011 : Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty
David Bowie & Iman // 2003 : Goddess – The Classical Mode
Jennifer Lopez attending with Puff Daddy // 1999 : Rock Style
Donatella and Gianni Versace // 1996 : Christian Dior
Diana, Princess of Wales wearing Dior, and Liz Tilberis // 1996 : Christian Dior
Cher with Bob Mackie // 1985 : Costumes of Royal India
Christy Turlington // 1992 : Fashion and History – A Dialogue
Dakota Johnson, Florence Welch, Charlotte Casiraghi with Gucci’s Alessandro Michele // 2016 : Manus x Machina – Fashion in an Age of Technology
Rihanna wearing Guo Pei // 2015 : China – Through the Looking Glass
Stella McCartney with Cara Delevigne, Rihanna, Kate Bosworth and Reese Witherspoon // 2014 : Charles James – Beyond Fashion
Beyonce in Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci // 2014 : Charles James – Beyond Fashion
Sarah Jessica Parker in Giles Deacon // 2013 : Punk Chaos to Couture
Kate Moss // 1995 : Haute Couture
Bianca Jagger // 1981 : The 18th Century Woman
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Atelier Versace // 2015 : China – Looking Through the Glass
With Love… Me x
All images via Vogue.com