Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Met Gala: History, Themes & Styles


The Met Gala is an annual event that involves the opening of the Costume Institute exhibition, although the exhibition states the tone for the formal dress of the night...The guests are expected to pick their fashion prior to the theme of the exhibit. The alternative names for The Met Gala include:

  • Met Ball
  • Costume Institute Gala
  • Costume Institute Benefit


The Met Gala was established in 1948 as means to raise funds for the newly-founded Costume Institute and to mark the opening of its annual exhibit. 

The Gala is said to be among the most prominent and most exclusive social events in the world. It is a big fundraising night in New York City, with $9 million raised in 2013 and $12 million in 2014. The Met Gala has became one of the most reputable sources of funding for the Institute, with contributions accumulated to supercede $200 million in total after the 2019 event since Anna Wintour's resuming the chairmanship of the Institute in 1995.

The Met Costume Institute Gala has major fundraising benefit which works as an opening ground of celebration for the Institute's annual fashion exhibit. From the event's observation, the exhibition runs for several months before the conclusion of the event. Starting from 1948,  the affair was being attended by personalities from the arts, fashion, high-society, film, and music at the Met. Therefore, it is considered to be the fashion industry's premier annual red carpet event. Its red carpet fashions/moments are widely photographed, reviewed, critiqued, and emulated across the world. The museum is always closed to the general public on the first Monday of May due to the Gala event.


The event comes with a different theme every year with an inclusion of a cocktail hour and a formal dinner. During the cocktail hour, guests walk through the red carpet on their arrivals, ransack the year's special themed exhibition, and then opt for their seats before the main dinner party that comprises entertainment begins. The theme decides the tone for the annual exhibit and also for the guests who attempt to dress to uphold the theme of the year, thereby leading to controversies on specific fashion themes among the world's leading fashion retailers. One time ago, in 2013, the theme was a bit perplexed because it does not provide a crystal clear stylistic directive, while in 2014, the theme was more challenging for one gender.

In 2014, many media outlets depicted the constraint in getting a white tie dress code when the Met Gala announced a white tie dress code and even for the celebrity personalities.

In 2015, the theme "China: Through the Looking Glass" was formerly named "Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film and Fashion". There was a criticism about it, where people said "It is a reoccurence of the subtle institutionalised racism that's been piled by centuries of Asian isolationism across the board, and enduring Western stereotypes aggravated by ignorance and the practical nature of social media."

In 2016, Madonna chanelled the theme ''Fashion in an Age of Technology'' and this theme gave the most controversial outfits in the history of the gala. Madonna communicated with people on her official social media channels saying "We have fought and continue to fight for civil rights and gay rights around the world. When it comes to women’s rights we are still in the dark ages. My dress at the Met Ball was a political statement as well as a fashion statement".

In 2018, Gala used a Roman Catholic theme, which led about Rihanna wearing a papal mitre. Many criticisms came on social media as people called it names like "blasphemous" and "sacrilegious cosplay". Kyle Smith blamed a fault on the Catholic Church, that the church encouraged the mockery of its symbols.

As at 2018, Wintour announced that guests less than 18 years of age may not be allowed to attend the gala.

See some of the styles of the gala:










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