Past the Pink Carpet

A rundown of this year’s Met Gala

Julia Lynn

Celebrities took the fashion world by storm as they strutted across the pink carpet into the Met Gala.

Each year, guests arrive at Fifth Avenue to highlight that year’s Costume Institute Exhibition.  Attendees climb the steps leading to the Met clothed in ensembles conceptualized and created by influential fashion designers, including Gucci, Versace, Anna Sui, Jeremy Scott, Prada, and Yves Saint Laurent. Celebrities and patrons of high society alike walk the steps and vanish into the Met.  

The benefit, hosted annually by the Costume Institute Of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, began in 1948 under the instruction of Eleanor Lambert as a way to fund and delineate the opening of each years’ exhibition.  Questions concerning the legitimacy of fashion as an art form left the Costume Institute without secured funding through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, unlike other curatorial departments, and the function supplemented funding for the exhibitions.  

The event began as a midnight dinner financed through tickets priced at $50.  It wasn’t until the early 1970s when Diana Vreeland, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, took on the role of special consultant for the Costume Institute that the function transformed into a glamorous high society event.  After Vreeland’s death, Anna Wintour — current editor-in-chief of Vogue and omnipotent fashion expert — took on the role of gala chair in 1995.

Wintour, along with Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton and hosts, pop icon Lady Gaga, ex boy band star Harry Styles, Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele and olympic gold medalist Serena Williams, are responsible for 2019’s Gucci-sponsored event.   

This year’s invitation-only guest list consists of 550 individuals, all personally approved by Anna Wintour. Tickets cost $35,000 and dinner tables are priced between $200,000 and $300,000. As one of the largest fundraising nights in New York City, the Met Gala has acquired over $200 million in total funding throughout the years.

This year’s theme was inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp.”  Attendees were encouraged to dress in “studied triviality,” a term coined by Oscar Wilde, Camp officiandao.  Yet, participation in the fashion extravaganza is not mandated.

This year, Frank Ocean elected to abstain from the pink carpet festivities, dressing in a classic black and white ensemble under a black windbreaker with a silver digital camera as his accessory of choice.  Kanye West’s chose to forgo the camp craze. Instead, he wore a classic black bomber to give his wife, Kim Kardashian her runway moment.

But the fun don’t stop at the Fifth Avenue runway.  Once through the paparazzi lined entrance to the Met, guests engaged in a cocktail hour followed by a dinner and entertainment.  While inside, guests were not permitted to post on social media. However, Vogue possesses unique access to the event, via Wintour, and publishes photos and articles offering glimpses of the event’s inner going ons.  

Attendees have first look at each year’s exhibit.  This year’s exhibition, titled “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” is set to run from May 9 through September 8, 2019.  The exhibit features high fashion pieces ranging from French King Louis XIV’s lavish robes to Cardi B’s 2019 Grammy’s oyster dress.