Met Gala
The Met celebrates its 150th anniversary and, of course, there must be the biggest Met Gala of them all. (Image via Instagram)
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Met Gala

From charitable fundraiser to fashion show, this enchanting evening has come a long way.

May 4, 2020 is set to be the fashion world’s biggest night of the year. The annual Met Gala has been a staple in the fashion industry for decades now and allows top-notch designers to showcase their one-of-a-kind work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Gala has been a long-standing tradition at the museum to fundraise for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and marks the opening of the institute’s annual exhibit. This event is hosted by Vogue and attendees are mainly celebrities wearing unique, designer clothes. While the red carpet is what always catches the public’s eye, this glamorous event was originally nothing like what it is today.

The Met Gala was started in 1948 by Eleanor Lambert; she hosted dinners in various locations around New York, and the event wasn’t nearly as exclusive as it is currently. Back in the day, the event was mainly for New York’s high society and people within the fashion industry. The event was by invitation only, with a cost of entry of $50.

As the years went on, the Gala started to grow and evolve. It didn’t start to rapidly expand until the 1970s when Diana Vreeland became a special consultant and Pat Buckley took over as chairwoman of the institute. Together, the two effectively reformed the Gala.

They kept the exclusivity of the event by maintaining its invite-only status but made several changes in order to revitalize the event. Vreeland moved the event to the Met, making it easier for attendees to go visit the exhibit after a cocktail party. While fashion is one of the main reasons this event has exploded over time, the evolving guest list also plays a massive role in the Gala’s success. What started off as a high society event was soon opened up to celebrities.

Buckley extended invitations to notable people, such as Princess Diana, which led to today’s Gala’s invite list. Not only are celebrities invited, but politicians, athletes and even internet influencers have been invited to attend.

The Met Gala has been known as one of the biggest parties in the fashion industry so there is definitely a high demand to get on the selective invite list. However, the upgrade in the guest list means an upgrade in entrance fees. Today, it is reported that the cost of attendance has gone up to $30,000.

The Met Gala is known for its annual theme, which corresponds with the museum’s annual fashion exhibit. These A-list attendees make an appearance at the Gala wearing designers’ interpretation of the theme put out by the museum. Every year when the theme is officially announced, the internet is filled with predictions as to what the designers might come up with and the different concepts or ideas that may be showcased through fashion.

This means that designers go all out for this one night. Since the attendees are already in the public eye, this gives designers a chance to show the world what they are capable of creating. It also helps them solidify a place within the fashion industry and gets people excited for future work. Overall, it is a lot of free publicity for these designers.

The first theme ever specified was “The World of Balenciaga” in 1973 and was introduced by Vreeland. In recent years, the themes have gotten much broader, with this year’s theme being arguably the most flexible.

In 2018, the theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” and designers looked to the Renaissance era for inspiration. This theme showed how classical art concepts can be portrayed through fashion.

The 2019 theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” When it was first announced, many concluded that the theme meant camping. However, it was revealed that the theme actually referred to Susan Sontag’s essay “Notes on Camp,” a piece that focused on how art and pop culture cross over into each other. As a result, the 2019 Met Gala featured various looks that captured classic pop culture moments. This theme was seemingly the most flexible thus far, but the 2020 theme has taken its place.

This luxurious night is held the first Monday of May. Next year, that happens to be May 4. This year the theme is set to be “time.” The official name of the 2020 Met Gala exhibit is “About Time: Fashion and Duration,” and it is heavily influenced by Virginia Woolf’s novels and Henri Bergson’s theories. Fashion has always evolved with the times and has often been a good representation of what society was like during different trends.

This year’s Met Gala theme is a visual representation of how fashion has evolved and will evolve in the future. Unlike previous themes, this definitely has a lot of room for interpretation, making it harder to predict what designers may come up with. Fashion is always changing and is highly subjective, especially in recent years. There were so many trends that shook the fashion world so seeing those make reappearances, possibly with modern twists to them, will definitely be eye-catching.

However, what will be most exciting to see is if designers will approach the concept of future fashion and what possible trends may arise. And if they do, then how will they go about it? The Met Gala has been known for paving the path for fashion, so it is quite possible that the future of fashion trends could start on the red carpet.

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