The Met Gala has grown from a simple fundraiser to one of the most exclusive and expensive red-carpet events of the year built around a theme—this year it’s the late designer Karl Lagerfeld—that informs an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum.
The themed gala, which occurs on the first Monday of every May, raises millions of dollars for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.
The gala’s theme—this year, it’s “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”—-is inspired by the Costume’s Institute’s major exhibition for the year, which is unveiled at the party.
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who’s been running the event since 1995, is joined by co-chairs actress Penélope Cruz (a fifth-year Chanel ambassador), pop star Dua Lipa and writer-actress Michaela Coel (who both appeared on Vogue covers in 2022) along with tennis great Roger Federer (a reportedly close friend of Wintour).
When Is The Met Gala? How Much Are Tickets? And Where To Watch It?
The event is Monday, May 1.
Each of the 400 or so invited guests must purchase a ticket for $50,000—tables cost at least $300,000 each.
The Met Costume Institute And The History Of The Met Gala
The Met Gala started in 1948 as the Costume Institute Benefit, a so-called “midnight supper” led by publicist and fashion promoter Eleanor Lambert, who also invented New York Fashion Week. The event expanded into one of the most exclusive events of the year under the leadership of two Vogue editors-in-chief—Diana Vreeland from 1972 to 1989 and Anna Wintour, who took the role in 1995. Wintour is credited with turning the party into a who’s who of fashion and entertainment and even politics. The Costume’s Institute’s exhibitions are housed in the Met’s Anna Wintour Costume Center.
This Year’s Theme And How It Was Chosen
The Costume Institute’s yearly exhibit and corresponding gala theme is created by the institute’s chief curator Andrew Bolton and researched for years before being approved. Bolton tells Vogue France that he looks for topics that generate conversation and tries to switch between broad concepts and themes honoring specific people.
Once Bolton and his team dream up a concept, the theme must be approved by the director and president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art—Max Hollein and Daniel H. Weiss, respectively—and Wintour, a process that can take up to a year.
This year’s theme honors designer Karl Lagerfeld, who spent five decades in the fashion industry, designing for brands like Chanel and Fenti before his death in 2019. Attendees have been instructed to dress “in honor of Karl,” which could mean anything from wearing brands he worked with—including his eponymous label “Lagerfeld”—-to mimicking his iconic personal style.
Experts expect some celebrities to reference Lagerfeld’s beloved Birman cat, Choupette, who is rumored to have received a large inheritance from Lagerfeld upon his death. Some guests might come with stuffed (or real) cats, while others might wear fabrics in “Choupette blue,” a color inspired by the cat’s eyes that Lagerfeld debuted during his time at Chanel.
Notable Met Gala Looks From The Past
The Met Galas past themes—a two-part look at American fashion entitled “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” and “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” in 2022 and 2021, respectively, an exploration of the dramatic in 2019’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion,’ and 2018’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” to name a few—have yielded hundreds of iconic looks. Here are some of the looks counted among Vogue’s 130 most memorable styles.
Impact Of Met Gala On Fashion Trends
The gala is an advertising hub for brands in all kinds of industries. Though celebrities often don elaborate and inaccessible outfits, marketers say the gala can boost sales for fashion brands’ off-the-rack collections, which are often the businesses’ main money-makers. Conversely, appearing at the Met Gala can heighten the image of traditionally less-exclusive brands like H&M. Fashion brands aren’t the only ones to get boosts— sponsors like Apple benefit from the event’s publicity, too.
This story was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.
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