Everything you need to know about this year's Gala
On Monday 1st May, New York’s Metropolitan Museum Of Art will throw open its doors and lay down its red carpet for the 2017 MET Gala – but what’s it all about?
Here’s what you need to know about the most glamorous event on the annual fashion calendar…
1. This year’s theme is all about breaking boundaries
So the whole point of the MET Gala is, of course, to offer a grand opening for the museum’s biggest fashion exhibit of the year. And this year’s showcase, called Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between, is all about subverting norms and breaking boundaries. Her creations have been compared to abstract works of art, so expect to see some avant-garde gowns and OTT shapes. Interestingly, Rei Kawakubo will be the first living designer since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983 to be the subject of the Met’s blockbuster fashion exhibit.
2. Guests get to see the exhibition before anyone else
Yup, once they’ve done posing up a storm on the red carpet, Kim Kardashian, JLo and co head inside to examine the exhibits. You can just picture the two of them in conversation about the qualities of traditional seaming versus ultrasonic welding, can’t you?
3. Katy Perry and Pharrell will be hosts
Anna Wintour has been the chair of the event since 1995, but each year she picks a special consultant to help her rally donations, finesse the theme and generally bring even greater awareness to the already quite visible proceedings. Karl Lagerfeld, Caroline Kennedy, Taylor Swift and Beyonce have previously taken on the role, making it (surely) one of the most fabulous achievements a C.V. could ever possess.
This year sees a bit of a twist, as Kawakubo will chairperson herself, however Katy Perry will help her host, as well as Pharell Williams, who launched a fragrance with Comme Des Garçons in 2014.
4. The previous themes have been very varied
Think tech, punk, superheroes, the full history of Chinese fashion – yes, if there’s a dialogue to be had on a style subject then you can bet the MET Gala will have been all over it at some point. See a list of the last 20 years’ themes below.
5. Guests are expected to dress in keeping with said theme
The designers, editors and celebrities who attend are all supposed to choose their outfit in accordance with the theme of the year’s exhibit. This has seen some incredible successes over the years (we’re looking at you, Sarah Jessica Parker in tartan McQueen, 2006) but also some more, shall we say, fancy dress ensembles…
6. Some people just do gorgeous black tie
When the theme is something trickier like China: Through The Looking Glass, dressing the part can become a bit of a minefield. So many an A-lister chooses to ignore the dress code completely and just do full on, va va voom glam, instead. We’re not complaining, as some of the most beautiful red carpet looks of all time have been created at the MET Gala.
7. Guests are expected to bring a glamorous date
The MET Ball is a great place to be if you’re in a really, really ridiculously good-looking couple. Beyonce and Jay Z, Blake and Ryan – every A-list couple gets dressed up to go. And if you haven’t got a hot date? You become a muse and hang off the arm of your favourite designer, naturally.
8. It used to be called the Costume Institute Gala
Fun fashion fact for you there. The gala’s been going since 1946, which makes this year’s party the 70th annual event. How will the fashion elite celebrate? With bolder hairdos, flashier jewels and even more enormous couture ensembles than ever before, we’d guess.
Here are all the MET Gala themes from the last 20 years…
1995: Haute Couture
1996: Christian Dior
1997: Gianni Versace
1998: Cubism and Fashion
1999: Rock Style
2000: No gala presented
2001: Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years
2003: Goddess: The Classical Mode
2004: Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century
2005: The House of Chanel
2006: AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion
2007: Poiret: King of Fashion 2008: Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy
2009: The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion
2010: American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity
2011: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
2012: Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations
2013: Punk: Chaos to Couture
2014: Charles James: Beyond Fashion
2015: China: Through the Looking Glass
2016: Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology