What Exactly Is The Met Gala?

06 May 2020
Style, Fashion, Met Gala, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Alexander McQueen, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jared Leto
Images: Getty Images
From who's attending this year's Met Gala to what the theme is going to be, this is all you need to know about the biggest night on the fashion calendar

If there is one overarching event in the fashion calendar, it's the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. Commonly known across the board as the Met Gala, it brings together the most famous faces in fashion, film, music and art.

Starting life in 1948, the Met Gala was founded by publicist Eleanor Lambert as an attempt to raise funds for the museum, by way of New York's high society. Today the idea is still the same and the Met Gala continues to fall on the first Monday in May, which heralds the opening of the Costume Institute's latest exhibition.

Alexander McQueen and Sarah Jessica Parker attending the 2006 Met Gala: AngloMania: Tradition And Transgression In British Fashion (Image: Getty Images)

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The Met Gala focuses on the theme of the institute for that year, which in turn has those in attendance pull out all the stops. In previous years themes have ranged from “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion And The Catholic Imagination” to “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology”, “Punk: Chaos To Couture” and “China: Through The Looking Glass”. Since 1995 US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has chaired the Met Gala and each year she enlists cochairs to help her out, ranging from Rihanna and Beyoncé to Katy Perry and Amal Clooney.

The 2019 Met Gala, sponsored by Gucci, was one of the biggest yet, marking the 71st anniversary of the annual event. Curated by Andrew Bolton, the theme was “Camp: Notes On Fashion” and the cochairs were Harry Styles, Lady Gaga, Serena Williams and Gucci's Alessandro Michele. Last year's guest list included Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Travis Scott, Tom Ford, Donatella Versace, Miuccia Prada, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Lewis Hamilton, Richard Madden, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, Rami Malek, Dev Hynes, Tommy Hilfiger and Ezra Miller. Previous years have seen the likes of Jaden Smith, Donald Glover and Jared Leto make seriously stylish red carpet appearances.

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West attending the 2016 Met Gala: Manus x Machina (Image: Getty Images)

On 6 May 2019, guests joined Anna Wintour et al for an extensive dinner, while being entertained by musical performances, orchestrated in coordination with Baz Luhrmann (previous years have seen Rihanna, Kanye West and Florence And The Machine perform).

And last year's theme was one of the most exciting yet (it got Harry Styles into a pearl earring after all), with Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele saying it was “a very important moment because we [collaborated] on the creation of this fantastic exhibition that has a DNA that is related to my work, working to the expression of human nature... Camp is a beautiful word.”

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And unfortunately, due to the current worldwide pandemic and a global need to stay inside and practice social distancing, the 2020 Met Gala has been postponed, with a date yet to be announced. Originally taking place today, on the first Monday in May, the theme would have been “About Time: Fashion And Duration”. In lieu of the opening and the annual corresponding launch party, many are still planning to mark the occasion online, via what American Vogue has dubbed the “Net Gala”.

The 2020 Met Gala “A Moment With The Met” YouTube livestream will be on Monday 4 May and Anna Wintour has announced that she has enlisted a “few friends to join [her] for a simple moment – one that [she hopes] will bring us all a bit of joy”. What we do know is that there will be a special live performance by Florence And The Machine and a DJ set from Louis Vuitton creative director Virgil Abloh.


Via British GQ