Met Gala

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Met Gala
GenreFundraising gala, contribution of 30K USD per seat to enter the 2019 Met Gala
FrequencyAnnual, held on the first Monday of May[1]
VenueMetropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute
Location(s)Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York City
CountryUnited States
Years active1948–present[2]
FounderEleanor Lambert
Most recentMay 6, 2019
Next eventTBA
Organized byVogue
WebsiteCostume Institute Gala
Gala started in 1946 and the first event was held in 1948.[3]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, where the Met Gala has been held annually since 1972[4]

The Met Gala, formally called the Costume Institute Gala or the Costume Institute Benefit and also known as the Met Ball, is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City. It marks the opening of the Costume Institute's annual fashion exhibit.[5] Each year's event celebrates the theme of that year's Costume Institute exhibition, and the exhibition sets the tone for the formal dress of the night, since guests are expected to choose their fashion to match the theme of the exhibit.

The Met Gala was established in 1948 as a way to raise money for the newly-founded Costume Institute and mark the opening of its annual exhibit. The first Gala was a midnight dinner and tickets were fifty dollars each.[6] Based upon the legacy left by former Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland as "special consultant" to the Costume Institute, since 1973 the Met Gala has become well known as a luxurious, blockbuster event and is considered "the jewel in New York City's social crown".[7][8]

The Gala is widely regarded as among the most prominent and most exclusive social events in the world. It is also one of the biggest fundraising nights in New York City, with $9M USD raised in 2013 and a record of $12M USD the following year.[9][10][11][12] The Met Gala is one of the most notable sources of funding for the Institute,[13] with contributions anticipated to surpass $200M USD in total after the 2019 event since Anna Wintour's assuming the chairmanship of the Institute in 1995.[14]

History[edit]

The Met Gala was established in 1948 by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert as a way to raise money for the newly-founded Costume Institute and mark the opening of its annual exhibit. The first gala was a dinner and tickets were fifty dollars each.[15] For the first few decades of its existence the gala was simply one of many annual benefits held for New York charitable institutions. Accordingly, the attendees of the early galas were almost entirely members of New York high society or the city's fashion industry. From 1948 to 1971, the event was held at venues including the Waldorf-Astoria, Central Park, and the Rainbow Room.[16]

When Diana Vreeland became consultant to the Costume Institute in 1972, the Gala began to evolve into a more glamorous affair, although one that was still aimed at the societal set.[17] The event started to become more celebrity-oriented with attendees like Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Diana Ross, Elton John, Liza Minnelli and Cher intermixing with the city's elite.[18] It was during the Vreeland years that the Gala was first held at the Met and that Gala themes were introduced.[19]

Details[edit]

The Met Costume Institute Gala is a major fundraising benefit that serves as an opening celebration for the Institute's annual fashion exhibit.[20][21] Following the event, the exhibition runs for several months. The 2014 exhibition was scheduled to run from May 8 until August 10, 2014.[22] The affair, attended by personalities from the arts, fashion, high-society, film, and music, has been held at the Met since 1948[23] and is considered to be the fashion industry's premier annual red carpet event.[21][24][25][26][27] Its red carpet fashions are widely photographed, reviewed, critiqued, and emulated.[28][29][30][31] The museum is closed to the general public on the first Monday of May due to the Gala occurring.[32]

Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief and a chairwoman of the Gala event since 1995 (excluding 1996 and 1998), oversees both the benefit committee and the guest list, with Vogue staffers helping assemble the list of invitees.[5][25] In 2014, the individual tickets cost US$30,000 for those outside the official guest list, after prices were raised by $10,000 to increase the exclusivity of the event.[33][25][34] The annual guest list is limited to approximately 650 or 700 people.[35][36]

Themes[edit]

Each year the event has a theme, and includes a cocktail hour and a formal dinner.[37][38] During the cocktail hour, guests arrive to walk on the red carpet, tour the year's special themed exhibition, and be seated before the dinner party that includes entertainment from the preeminent entertainers of the day.[36] The theme not only sets the tone for the annual exhibit, but also for the guests who attempt to dress to uphold the theme of the year, oftentimes causing runs on certain fashion themes among the world's leading fashion retailers.[39][40] Sometimes, such as in 2013, the theme is a bit befuddling because it does not provide a clear stylistic directive, while at other times, such as in 2014, the theme may be far more challenging for one gender.[41][42]

Gallery[edit]

The 2015 Gala and its theme of "China: Through the Looking Glass" became the subject of a documentary—The First Monday in May' directed by Andrew Rossi produced by Condé Nast Entertainment, Vogue, and Relativity Studios.[43] 225 approved photographers, reporters, and social media participants documented the event for the documentary.[44] All other attendees were forbidden from using social media at the event.[45] Guests received notices about the restriction of selfies and social media inside the gala.[46] The no-selfie ordinance was extended to the following editions of the Met Gala.

List of Met Galas[edit]

The following is a list of Met Galas, as well as the Chairs and entertainment, for the Galas that have taken place since themes were introduced in 1973.

Date of Gala Theme Co-chairs Honorary Chairs Headline Performers
March 21, 1973 The World of Balenciaga[47][48] None None N/A
December 12, 1973 The 10s, the 20s, the 30s: Inventive Clothes: 1909-1939[49][50] Phyllis Ellsworth Dillon None N/A
November 20, 1974 Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design[51] Jane Engelhard None N/A
December 10, 1975 American Women of Style[52] Jane Engelhard None N/A
December 6, 1976 The Glory of Russian Costume[49][53][54] Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis None N/A
December 12, 1977 Vanity Fair: A Treasure Trove[49][55][56] Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis None N/A
November 20, 1978 Diaghilev: Costumes and Designs of the Ballets Russes[49] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 3, 1979 Fashions of the Habsburg Era: Austria-Hungary[49][57] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 9, 1980 The Manchu Dragon: Costumes of China, the Chi'ng Dynasty[49] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 7, 1981 The Eighteenth-Century Woman[49][58][59] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 6, 1982 La Belle Époque[49][60] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 5, 1983 Yves Saint Laurent: 25 Years of Design[49][61] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 3, 1984 Man and the Horse[49][62] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 9, 1985 Costumes of Royal India[49][63] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 8, 1986 Dance[49][64] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 7, 1987 In Style: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Costume Institute[49][65] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 5, 1988 From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress 1837–1877[49][66] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 4, 1989 The Age of Napoleon: Costume from Revolution to Empire, 1789–1815[49][67][68] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 3, 1990 Théâtre de la Mode – Fashion Dolls: The Survival of Haute Couture[69] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 9, 1991 No theme, as no concurrent costume exhibition was held[70] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 7, 1992 Fashion and History: A Dialogue[71] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 6, 1993 Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style[72][73] Pat Buckley None N/A
December 5, 1994 Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western dress[74][75] Pat Buckley, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass None N/A
December 4, 1995 Haute Couture[76] Anna Wintour, Annette de la Renta, Clarissa Bronfman Karl Lagerfeld, Gianni Versace N/A
December 9, 1996 Christian Dior[77] Elizabeth Tilberis, Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece, Helene David-Weill None N/A
December 8, 1997 Gianni Versace[78][79][80] Anna Wintour, Julia Koch, Patrick McCarthy None N/A
December 7, 1998 Cubism and Fashion[81] Anna Wintour, Miuccia Prada, Paula Cussi, Pia Getty None N/A
December 6, 1999 Rock Style[82] Anna Wintour, Tommy Hilfiger, Aerin Lauder None N/A
April 23, 2001 Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years[83] Anna Wintour, Christina and Lindsay Owen-Jones, Annette and Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera Caroline Kennedy and Edwin A. Schlossberg N/A
April 28, 2003 Goddess: The Classical Mode[84] Anna Wintour, Tom Ford, Nicole Kidman None N/A
April 26, 2004 Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century[85] None Jacob Rothschild, Jayne Wrightsman N/A
May 2, 2005 The House of Chanel[86] Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Nicole Kidman Caroline, Princess of Hanover N/A
May 1, 2006 AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion[87] Anna Wintour, Christopher Bailey, Sienna Miller Rose Marie Bravo, The Duke of Devonshire N/A
May 7, 2007 Poiret: King of Fashion[88] Anna Wintour, Cate Blanchett, Nicolas Ghesquière François-Henri Pinault N/A
May 5, 2008 Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy[89][90] Anna Wintour, George Clooney, Julia Roberts Giorgio Armani N/A
May 4, 2009 The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion[91][92] Anna Wintour, Kate Moss, Justin Timberlake Marc Jacobs N/A
May 3, 2010 American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity[93][94][95] Anna Wintour, Oprah Winfrey, Patrick Robinson None Lady Gaga
May 2, 2011 Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty[96][97] Anna Wintour, Colin Firth, Stella McCartney François-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek Florence and the Machine
May 7, 2012 Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations[98] Anna Wintour, Carey Mulligan, Miuccia Prada Jeff Bezos Bruno Mars
May 6, 2013 Punk: Chaos to Couture[99][100] Anna Wintour, Rooney Mara, Lauren Santo Domingo, Riccardo Tisci Beyoncé Kanye West
May 5, 2014 Charles James: Beyond Fashion[101][102][103] Aerin Lauder, Anna Wintour, Bradley Cooper, Oscar de la Renta, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch None Frank Ocean
May 4, 2015 China: Through the Looking Glass[104] Anna Wintour, Jennifer Lawrence, Gong Li, Marissa Mayer, Wendi Murdoch Silas Chou Rihanna
May 2, 2016 Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology[105] Anna Wintour, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Jonathan Ive Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada The Weeknd
May 1, 2017 Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between[106] Anna Wintour, Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams Rei Kawakubo Katy Perry
May 7, 2018 Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination[107] Anna Wintour, Amal Clooney, Rihanna, Donatella Versace Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman Madonna
May 6, 2019 Camp: Notes on Fashion[108] Anna Wintour, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Serena Williams, Alessandro Michele None Cher
TBA[109] About Time: Fashion and Duration[110] Anna Wintour, Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Nicolas Ghesquiere None TBA

Controversy[edit]

Models Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour pulled out of attending the 2009 Gala at the last minute, in a show of support for designer Azzedine Alaïa.[111][112] After he found out that none of his work was included in the Costume Institute exhibit, Alaïa asked the models not to wear the dresses he had designed for them to the gala and they chose not to attend altogether. Alaïa was well-known for his close relationships with models so his exclusion from the "Model as Muse" exhibit was seen as a snub.[113] He criticized Wintour (with whom he had a longtime feud)[114] for having "too much power over this museum."[115]

When the Met Gala announced a white tie dress code in 2014, a number of media outlets pointed out the difficulty and expense of obtaining traditional white tie, even for the celebrity guests.[116][117]

In 2015, the theme "China: Through the Looking Glass" was previously named "Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film and Fashion".[118] The same year's theme was met with critics saying it was "A reminder of the subtle institutionalised racism that's been compounded by centuries of Asian isolationism across the board, and enduring Western stereotypes exacerbated by ignorance and the meme-able nature of social media."[118]

In 2016, Madonna, whilst channeling the theme "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology", provided one of the most controversial outfits in the gala's history. She appeared in an ensemble designed by Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci exposing both her breasts and buttocks.[119] Madonna hit back on her official social media channels by stating "We have fought and continue to fight for civil rights and gay rights around the world. When it comes to women’s rights we are still in the dark ages. My dress at the Met Ball was a political statement as well as a fashion statement".[120]

The 2018 Gala had a Roman Catholic theme, and included Rihanna wearing a papal mitre. Critics on social media called it "blasphemous" and "sacrilegious cosplay", even though the Catholic Church lent more than forty papal vestments from the Vatican, and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan attended.[121][122] Kyle Smith argued that the Catholic Church was in fact "abetting the mockery of its symbols".[123]

As of 2018, Wintour announced that guests may not be allowed to attend the gala before the age of 18.[124]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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