Met Gala: All you need to know about fashion’s biggest annual affair

Party of the year


By Phyll Wu

Images courtesy of Getty Images and @kyliejenner on Instagram
Met Gala: All you need to know about fashion’s biggest annual affair

As the month of May approaches, the anticipation for fashion’s biggest night of the year to kick off is only amplifying by the day. Of course, we’re talking about none other than the annual Met Gala, the world’s most prestigious fashion affair.

While the ritzy fete is unfamiliar to none, the Met Gala is beyond just extravagant red-carpet ensembles and celebrity appearances. Attendees pay tens of thousands every year for an extremely coveted ticket, even those who could care less for the spotlight. That said, the hefty cost for admission and the elite’s hankering for an invite makes us wonder—what’s it all for and why is everyone so obsessed with it? If you’re wondering the same, scroll ahead to have your questions answered!



What is the Met Gala?


Formally referred to as the Costume Institute Gala or the Costume Institute Benefit, the Met Gala, or the Met Ball, is an annual fundraising event for the benefit of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Chaired by Vogue’s Global Editorial Director Anna Wintour, the gala is held on the first Monday of May each year at the historic museum. The glamorous evening also celebrates the launch of the Costume Institute’s newest fashion exhibit of the year, and guests are expected to dress accordingly to match the exhibition’s theme.


History of the Met Gala


Established in 1948 by legendary fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, the early days of the Met Gala were like any other invite-only charity benefit, primarily attended by New York socialites and the city’s fashion elites. Back then, the event was held every December at some of New York’s most iconic locations, such as Central Park, Waldorf Astoria, and the Rainbow Room, with tickets as low as 50 USD per guest.



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It was only until in 1972, when Vogue’s former Editor-in-Chief Diana Vreeland was appointed as the Costume Institute’s special consultant, the gala started developing into the glamorous, star-studded affair that we know of today. Thanks to Vreeland, themes were introduced to correspond with each exhibition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art became the gala’s official venue, and celebrities from all around the globe began gracing the red carpet.

Following Vreeland’s passing in 1989, hosting duties were taken over by Patricia Buckley, a renowned socialite who co-chaired the Met Gala during Vreeland’s tenure. Years later, in 1995, Vreeland’s role was finally succeeded by Anna Wintour.



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With Wintour as the chairwoman of the Met Gala, exclusive celebrity performances were introduced to entertain guests, which saw the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Cher, Kanye West, and Madonna taking centre stage. Wintour also moved the gala’s official date to the first Monday of May in 2005, and it has remained as such since then.


Who gets to attend the Met Gala?

In keeping with the standards of Vogue, the Met Gala’s guest list has been meticulously curated by Anna Wintour and her team since 1995, with only around 600 people making the list each year. Various high-profile figures in fashion, film, Broadway, music, sports, business, politics, and social media will be invited with Wintour’s approval—but she’s very picky.



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Unless you’ve donated a huge sum of money or you’re one of Wintour’s favoured A-list celebrities, landing a spot on the Met Gala’s guest list is nearly impossible. Attendees are required to pay around 35,000 USD for a ticket, although some may attend for free if they were chosen to be dressed by a fashion house. These fashion houses will typically purchase a table and fill it with Wintour-approved celebrities and influencers, all of which they’ve dressed for the evening. Depending on the size of the brand and its relationship with Vogue, a table can cost anywhere from 75,000 to 300,000 USD.


What’s the theme for this year’s Met Gala?

For 2023, the Met Gala’s theme is ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’, which pays tribute to the late designer and his creations.

READ: Karl Lagerfeld’s most iconic designs and what we’re hoping to spot at the 2023 Met Gala





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