7 Things to Know about the Met Gala

Although it's always a star-studded affair, there's more to the glamorous Met Gala than the red carpet. Here's what you need to know ahead of this year's event

Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala, in a gown by Chinese designer Guo Pei. Picture / Getty

1. Described by The New York Times as the “undisputed party of the year on the New York social schedule”, the glamorous gala benefit marks the opening of the summer exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. While the focus is largely on the red carpet fashion, the gala is actually the major fundraiser for the Costume Institute.

2. The first gala was held in 1948, organised by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert. Exhibitions have explored the costumes of Royal India, Hollywood design, Victorian dress, dance, Cubism, Jacqueline Kennedy, punk, models as muse, Chinese fashion and more; with each year’s theme extending to the gala’s dress code.

3. The Met Gala red carpet is known as “fashion's Oscars”, due to its extravagance and opportunity for guests to embrace a genuine ‘fashion’ angle (in contrast to the traditionally conservative Oscars). Memorable moments include last year’s Rihanna’s yellow gown by Chinese designer Guo Pei, Sarah Jessica Parker in Alexander McQueen tartan (2006, AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion) and model Amber Valletta in a corset, Galliano skirt and 18th Century style wig (2004, Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century).

4. Vogue editor Anna Wintour is closely linked to the event. She has been gala chair since 1995, and has help raise more than $145 million for the museum. In 2014, the Costume Institute space was renamed the Anna Wintour Costume Centre.

5. Invitations are at the discretion of Wintour and her team, with tickets reportedly $25,000 each or $175,000 for a table of 10. They are purchased mainly by fashion brands and companies who host celebrity guests.

6. Last month the documentary First Monday in May was released, offering an inside look at what goes into organising the gala and exhibition.

7. This year’s exhibition is titled Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, and opens May 5. The “honorary chairs” alongside Wintour are Jony Ive, chief design officer at Apple, fashion designers Nicolas Ghesquiere, Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld and Miuccia Prada, actor Idris Elba and singer Taylor Swift.

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New Zealand Herald

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