The Met Gala returns: A guide to fashion’s big night
NEW YORK — It all started in 1948 with a midnight social dinner, and it wasn’t even at the Met.
Fast forward more than 70 years, and the Met Gala is something entirely different, one of the most photographed events in the world for its stunning red carpet – although the famous carpeted steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art are not always red. We talk about Rihanna as a bejeweled pope. Zendaya as Cinderella with a luminous dress. Katy Perry in a chandelier turning into a burger. Also: Beyoncé in her “naked dress.” Kim Kardashian in a face-covering bodysuit. Billy Porter as the Egyptian sun god, carried on a litter by six shirtless men. And Lady Gaga’s 16-minute striptease.
Not to mention, the Met Gala is always a fundraiser — last year the evening raised more than $16.4 million for the Met’s Costume Institute. Let’s also not forget that he launches the annual spring fashion exhibition which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the museum.
But it’s the Met Gala carpet itself (now watchable for everyone, live) that catches the eyes of the world, with the guest list strategically curated until the last minute – a collection of movie stars, music, fashion, sports, politics and more that probably makes the biggest celebrity in watts per square foot of any party in the world.
Here is an introduction to the 2022 Met Gala, which will take place on May 2:
Yes, we just did that in the fall. The annual fundraiser for the Met’s Costume Institute traditionally takes place on the first Monday in May, but due to the pandemic a postponed gala was held in September.
WHO IS HOSTING THE 2022 MET GALA?
This year’s hosts are Regina King, power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The September host list included Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman and Naomi Osaka.
Of course, Vogue’s Anna Wintour is overseeing the whole shebang as she has since the ’90s. Her fellow honorary co-chairs are designer Tom Ford and Instagram executive Adam Mosseri.
IS THERE A THEME FOR THE MET GALA?
Sure. The Met Gala theme for this year is “Gilded glamour, white-tie,” guests said.
As usual, the sartorial theme comes from the exhibition launched by the gala: “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”, which is the second of star curator Andrew Bolton’s two-part exhibition exploring the roots of American style. .
This one will feature lesser-known designers, as well as top directors, including Sofia Coppola, Martin Scorsese, host King and last year’s Oscar-winning actress Chloe Zhao. Their work will be on display in the American Wing’s period rooms, so expect some big fashion, like these dresses from HBO’s “The Gilded Age.” Cleverly ripped jeans this time? Not really.
IS EVERYBODY FOLLOWING THE MET GALA THEME?
Not really. Some avoid it and opt for the big and crazy. But expect some guests to have carefully researched the theme and be in perfect sync with the exhibit. It was hard to beat the rug, for example, when the theme was “the Catholic imagination” and Rihanna came as pope, Zendaya channeled Joan of Arc, and Perry navigated the crowd with a set of huge angel wings.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I PAY FOR A MET GALA TICKET?
Bad question. You cannot just “buy” a ticket. The right question is: IF I was famous or powerful and I was invited, how much would it cost?
IF I WERE INVITED TO THE MET GALA, HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST?
Well, you might not pay yourself. Generally, companies buy tables. A fashion brand – Michael Kors, for example – would then house its desired celebrities, or fashion muses. But each paid seat would cost around $35,000, although some guests are invited for free.
SO WHO IS INVITED TO THE MET GALA?
This year there will be 400 guests, which is similar to the September gala and lower than pre-pandemic highs of 500-600. Trying to forecast? Get out your pen and jot down a few A-listers, the louder the better.
New Oscar or Grammy winners, for example, or fashion favorites like Chalamet, who wore white Converse shoes last year. Do the same with pop music, sports, politics, fashion of course…and Broadway, a Wintour favorite (and remember, Miranda is the host this year). Now cross everyone off your list except the very first one.
At the Met Gala, everyone is on the A list.
THIS MUST BE AN EXAGERATION.
Not really. Ask Tina Fey. She went there in 2010 and later described walking around trying to find someone “normal”, i.e. not too famous, to sit and talk with. It ended up being Barbara Walters.
HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE IN THE MET GALA?
Well, these days you can watch the entire mat unfold live. And really, the rug is the party. (Ask Gaga!)
If you’re in New York, you can also join the fans in front of the museum on Fifth Avenue, and even further down Madison Avenue, pressed against police barricades. You might get lucky: Last year, Chalamet ran to greet his admirers.
DO WE KNOW WHO’S COMING? AND WHO IS NOT?
Like we said, it’s secret. But reports slip, often on who does not come. Fashion favorite Zendaya has confirmed she has other plans. And Rihanna is about to give birth, so we’re assuming she’s going to jump, but again, it’s Rihanna, so let’s not assume.
WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE THE MET GALA?
Upon entering the museum, guests pass an incredibly huge floral arrangement in the lobby (one had over 250,000 white roses) and cocktail parties, often held in Petrie’s airy courtyard. Or, they head to the exhibition.
Around 8 p.m., they’re called in for dinner — perhaps by a bugle team (“Are they going to do that between classes?” Actor Gary Oldman asked aloud a year.) We personally can’t help describe beyond that, either the dinner or the musical performance, but you can find snippets of Rihanna singing on the tables in the documentary “The First Monday in May”, and it sounds fun.
IS IT FUN FOR EVERYONE?
Sometimes someone says no. Fey, in a comedic rant to David Letterman in 2015, described the gala as a “parade of jerks” and said it included everyone you’d want to punch, if you had millions of arms.
Amy Schumer said she felt uncomfortable and left “earlier than expected”. But most claim to have fun.
Then there was Joan Collins, who arrived channeling her imperious “Dynasty” character, Alexis, in 2018 ready to have a blast, but in search of liquid food. “I’m having a great time,” she told The Associated Press. “I’d be even better off if I had a drink.”