It started as a society midnight dinner in 1948, and it wasn’t even at the Met.
Over 70 years later, the Met Gala is something else entirely, one of the most photographed events in the world because of its stunning red carpet — although the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s famous carpeted steps aren’t always red.
We’re talking about Rihanna as a jeweled pope. Zendaya as Cinderella with a glowing dress. Katy Perry as a chandelier that turns into a hamburger. Also: Beyoncé in her “nude dress”. Kim Kardashian in a face covering bodysuit. Billy Porter as the Egyptian sun god carried on a stretcher by six shirtless men. And Lady Gaga’s 16-minute striptease.
Remember, the Met Gala is still a fundraiser — last year the evening raised more than a whopping $16.4 million for the Met’s Costume Institute. Also, let’s not forget that it opens the annual spring fashion exhibition that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the museum.
But it’s the carpet itself (now visible to anyone on the livestream) that captures the world’s attention, with the guest list strategically held back until the last minute – a collection of stars from film, music, fashion, sports, politics and elsewhere, which probably accounts for the highest celebrity wattage per square foot of any party in the world.
Herewith is a guide to the 2022 Met Gala, taking place tonight.
Yes, we only did that in the fall. The annual fundraiser for the Met’s Costume Institute traditionally takes place on the first Monday in May, but a postponed gala was held in September due to the pandemic.
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WHO HOSTS THE MET GALA 2022?
This year’s hosts are Regina King, power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Naturally, Vogues Anna Wintour oversees the whole thing, as she has since the ’90s. Her honorary co-chairs are designer Tom Ford and Instagram boss Adam Mosseri. Ford, also a film director, is one of nine directors whose work features in the new spring exhibition.
IS THERE A TOPIC?
Naturally. This year’s Met Gala theme is “Gilded Glamour, White-Tie,” guests were told.
As usual, the fashion theme comes from the exhibition kicking off the gala: In America: An Anthology of Fashion, the second installment in star curator Andrew Bolton’s two-part show exploring the roots of American style.
This exhibition showcases overlooked figures in fashion history, including many women and people of color, through the talents of some top film directors, including Sofia Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Host King, and last year’s Academy Award winner Chloé Zhao.
Her work will be on display in the historic rooms of the Americas wing, so expect great themed fashions – like HBO’s dresses The Gilded Age. Artfully ripped jeans this time? Not as much.
DOES EVERYONE FOLLOW THE TOPIC?
Not really. Some avoid it and just go big and crazy. However, expect that some guests have carefully researched the subject and perfectly matched the exhibition.
For example, it was hard to hit the carpet when the theme was “Catholic Imagination” and Rihanna came as Pope, Zendaya channeled Joan of Arc, and Perry navigated the crowd with giant angel wings.
HOW MUCH DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR A MET GALA TICKET?
Wrong question. You can’t just “buy” a ticket. The real question is, IF I was famous or powerful and invited, how much would it cost?
IF I WERE FAMOUS AND POWERFUL AND INVITED, HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST?
Well, you might not pay yourself. In general, companies buy tables. A fashion label – Michael Kors, for example – would then house its desired celebrities or fashion muses. But each paid seat reportedly costs around $35,000, though some guests are invited for free.
WHO IS INVITED TO THE MET GALA?
This year there will be 400 guests – similar to the September gala and lower than the pre-pandemic 500-600. Are you trying to predict? Take out your pen and jot down some of your favorite names, the livelier the better.
New Oscar or Grammy winners, for example, are a good bet – or long-time favorites of the fashion world like ex-moderator Timotheé Chalamet, who wore white Converse shoes last year.
Do the same with pop music, sports, politics, fashion, of course, and Broadway, a particular Wintour favorite (and remember, Miranda is a hostess this year). Now cross off all but the top of your list.
At the Met Gala, everyone is on the A-list.
That must be an exaggeration
Not really. Ask Tina Fey. She went in 2010 and later described how she went around trying to find someone who was “normal”, ie not too famous, to sit down and talk to. That was Barbara Walters, after all.
HOW CAN I ENTER THE MET GALA?
Well nowadays you can follow the whole carpet in live stream. And really, the carpet is the party. (Ask Gaga!)
If you’re in New York City, you can also join fans across the street from the museum on Fifth Avenue and even further down Madison Avenue, which is crammed against police barricades. You might be lucky: Last year, Chalamet ran over to greet his suitors.
DO WE KNOW WHO’S COMING? AND WHO NOT?
As I said, it’s secret. But reports slip out, often about who isn’t coming. Fashion favorite Zendaya has confirmed she has other plans. And Rihanna is about to give birth so we’d assume she’s skipping, but then again, she’s Rihanna so let’s not assume anything.
A fair assumption would be a strong Kardashian presence.
Perry has said she’s leaving, hinting her hamburger chandelier days may be dwindling in favor of more traditional garb.
And one more thing applies: No one is allowed to come who is not vaccinated. In addition to proof of vaccination, the guests had to do a PCR test. Masks probably won’t draw much attention as people will be eating and drinking all night.
WHAT HAPPENS WITHIN THE MET GALA?
Upon entering the museum, guests walk past an incredibly huge floral display in the lobby (one consisted of over 250,000 white roses) and over to cocktails. Or they look at the exhibition.
Two changes this year per museum: The dramatic centerpiece of the lobby remains visible to ordinary visitors for a few days. And cocktails take place in the American Wing, making it very easy for guests to get in and out of the exhibit.
Around 8 p.m., guests are called to dinner—perhaps by a bugle team (“Are they going to do that between each course?” actor Gary Oldman asked aloud a year ago.)
Beyond that, we can’t personally describe anything, neither the dinner nor the musical performance, but in the documentary you can find clips of Rihanna singing on the tabletops The first Monday in Mayand it looks funny.
IS EVERYONE FUN?
Occasionally someone says no. Fey described the gala in a 2015 comic rant to David Letterman as an “idiot parade,” saying it included everyone you’d ever want to punch if you had millions of guns.
Amy Schumer said she was uncomfortable and left “earlier than allowed.” But most profess to have fun.
Then there was Joan Collins, who arrived and channeled them authoritatively dynasty Character, Alexis, in 2018, ready to have a great time but looking for liquid sustenance. “I’m having a great time,” she told the Associated Press. “I’d be even better if I had a drink.”
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/met-gala-a-guide-to-fashions-big-night-41608157.html Met Gala: A guide to fashion’s big night