A COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE MET GALA

A COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE MET GALA

by Juliette Eleuterio
7 min
@metmuseum ©

The Met Gala is just a few hours away and the question on everyone’s mind is whose outfits are going to slay and whose are going to flop. For being a “no phones allowed inside” event, the Met Gala remains one of the most talked about nights in the world. With celebrities, fashion designers and other industry professionals all gathering to get their pictures snapped on the red-carpeted steps of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the whole ordeal is hard to miss. But what is the actual point of it?

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WHAT IS THE MET GALA?

The Met Gala, also referred to as the Met Ball, is the annual fundraising event dedicated to NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, that every A-list celebrity attends. The event takes place annually, on the first Monday of May, unless in the unlikely event of a global pandemic that would force a September reschedule. 

The evening starts off with a slew of actors, musicians, fashion designers and other famous people arriving onto the paparazzi-swarmed red carpet, most having struggled to leave their hotel room unseen to reveal their highly-anticipated outfits on the Mets steps. After a million photo ops and a quick interview with the Met Gala host – throwback to Gigi Hadid and Emma Chamberlain’s big slay moment – the celebrities are rushed inside and that’s all the public gets to see. At least until everyone leaves to attend the after parties which, of course, demands an outfit change.

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WHO RUNS IT?

Every decision taken – from the flower arrangements to the very important guest seating – is run by and approved by the cutthroat Anna Wintour. Always in attendance, she chairs the event, a position that is often shared with other attendees. This year’s co-chairs include Dua Lipa, Michaela Coel, Penélope Cruz and Roger Federer.

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WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE THEME?

Every year, Anna Wintour sets a theme for the evening, this year being Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty. Some years, the theme is dedicated to a specific designer, such as 2017’s Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, while other years the theme is broader, like 2019’s Camp: Notes on Fashion, which Karlie Kloss famously looked in the eye.

With each theme, that will also be the name of the exhibition held at the Met Museum which generally opens to the public within the following week, attendees are expected to follow it. As history has shown, this isn’t always the case, but every year there are at least a handful of looks that save the night by truly capturing the essence of the theme.

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WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS INSIDE?

Guests explore the exhibition before taking to their seats. Dinner is served, champagne is flowing and everyone is mingling inside, or so we presume. Over the years, the Met Gala’s mystic nature has slightly unfolded, thanks to the famous bathroom selfies and Frank Ocean’s film camera takeover. We also know that the dinner is accompanied by a musical performance, including Rihanna’s 2015 performance, which unfortunately we have no record of due to the anonymous nature of the night.

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WHO IS INVITED?

The Met Gala follows a tight guest list of around 600 people, all of which have to be approved by Anna Wintour of course. While the attendees remain top secret until the night, we can expect some familiar faces such as Billie Eilish, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Jared Leto, Cara Delevigne, and the Kardashian sisters, though rumours have been flying around about them not being invited this year. Considering Kris Jenner is in charge of them, we doubt this is true.

While the night is filled with some of the most powerful faces in fashion and culture, no celebrity can just waltz into the event. There are two ways of getting in: being invited or having a ton of money. The way in which the Met Gala works is that fashion houses, or companies like Instagram, will buy seats for the event which will be then filled with their celebrity invitees, both designer muses or personal recommendations from Anna Wintour. The second way in will be either by being a generous donator to the Costume Institute or by spending $25,000 on an individual ticket, though both still have to be approved by Anna. If you don’t fall under any of these categories, there is still a way in: become an attendee’s +1 or get a waiting job at the catering company just for the night.

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AND WHY IS IT SUCH A BIG DEAL?

Met Gala this, Met Gala that… Why do we care? Because there’s something so intrinsically pleasure-inducing about judging celebrities’ outfits while we remain stuck at home, in our pyjamas scrolling through our feeds. 

Other than this selfish performance, the Met Gala is the most fashionable night of the year, celebrating creativity from some of the biggest houses, and oftentimes, honouring the legacy of a late designer. It is a marker of culture and is to fashion what the Super Bowl is to sports, what the Oscars is to cinema and what the Grammy’s are to music. So naturally, it’s a big deal.

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