It’s the Oscars of the Fashion world and should probably become a worldwide bank holiday due to its capabilities to stop everyone, everywhere just to see who is wearing what.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala brings some of the worlds most iconic and famous people within the fashion industry to one one location on one night, to raise funds for the Museums Costume Institute (one of the only departments which has to do so). The Gala is also used as a way to celebrate and unveil the newest exhibition within the museum.
Unlike the many other blogs that you will probably read today, I’m not going to mention the best or worst dressed of the night. Instead I’m going to talk about why this event is so important to not just those who attend, but to all of us.
As I mentioned above, the Costume Insititue doesn’t get funded by the MET, instead it needs outside resources for it to stay open and bring in the many visitors it gets every year, just to see their specific collections and events.
The tickets are sold at $30,000 and to get a table? Just the $275,000 you have lying around. However all of the money made from this goes towards the Institute. This doesn’t mean that you are paying for the Gala to be put on, infact the exhibition and the Gala are sponsored by many people. This year it was Apple who spent the big bucks.
Due to this, about $12.5 million is raised each year.
Now, not everyone has to buy a ticket. Many celebrities who you see on the MET steps are invited by designers who also dress them for the night, usually in custom pieces. Anna Wintour (the chair woman of the Gala) also tends to invite upcoming designers for free and scatters them around the place.
I think the latter mentioned here is so important. Wintour is not only funding the future of the MET but she is also creating a future for upcoming designers. This is an opportunity for them to mix with the already established, and many designers who they aspire to be. A career defining moment for many I’m sure.
Just incase you’re thinking about saving up for a ticket, don’t bother. Wintour invites all 600 attendees, clears who sits with who and which brands invite who.
The MET Gala was first established in 1948 by Eleanor Lambert, who should be called the Queen of PR. The idea of the Gala has always been to raise money, however since Anna Wintour took over from Lamberts successor Pat Buckley, she has turned the event from philanthropic get together to party central and social media crazy. Wintour really knows how to play with us commoners who can’t afford a ticket. There are no pictures allowed inside until after the event, making us want to know what goes on even more! All we know is that there is a dinner, live music (this year it was The Weeknd) and a lot of partying away from the paparazzi.
Every year the gala has a theme based on the exhibition it is celebrating, This year it is “Manus X Machina:Fashion in an Age of Technology”. The exhibition focuses on the process from handmade to machine made in Couture and Avant Garde design. This means some stunning dresses are on show with incredible needle work and attention to detail. The exhibition takes you through the years from hand sewing to 3D printing and what we can expect from the future.
In terms of outfits relating to the theme, it is all open for interpretation. Some are easy and some are a little bit tricky. Every year there is mixed bag of what is appropriate and what isn’t. For example, last year many people got confused with the “China: Throughthe Looking Glass” theme with outfits verging on Japanese rather than Chinese. In terms of cultural appropriation, it isn’t great to get them mixed up. However some people also hit the nail on the head (read this article if you want to know the difference!)
This year I have noticed that many people have opted for a more futuristic, glamorous side of the theme. Where that relates to celebrating hand made and machine made I’m not sure. For me the lit up suits were more of a relation to the exhibition than the jewelled donned Kardashians in Balmain as usual (yawn).
The exhibitions over the years draw attention to beautiful work by extremely talented people within the fashion industry. Every year it is like a homage to all the amazing designers in the world. I think this is so important! Sometimes we need to take a step back and appreciate how fashion is a form of art, rather than how cheap a pair of jeans from TopShop are. I fell in love with fashion purely because of designs celebrated through this event.
It is also an opportunity for designers to show how they can adapt to the themes and present them on the catwalk.
So another year passes and we are left waiting again to sneak a peak into the lives of those who attend the Gala.