Met Gala: Fashion, art and charity under one roof

The Met Gala is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated and discussed events in the fashion world. However, the primary focus of the event is charity, to which celebrities arrive in extravagant outfits attracting the attention of the press and the public.

Why charity dinner?

The Met Gala traces its history back to 1946, when the first charity dinner was organized in support of the Costume Institute, founded by Eleanor Lambert, a publicist, founder of New York Fashion Week and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Initially, the charity event was held at various venues, namely the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the Rainbow Room Club and a number of other famous places. It wasn’t until 1960 that the gala found its permanent home in the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, thus giving rise to the name “Met Gala”, derived from the abbreviation “Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala”.

From Charity Dinner to Fashion Phenomenon: The Evolution of the Met Gala

The phrase “Met Gala” is associated with fashion and luxury, but this was not always the case, and one of the most anticipated events of the year had a charitable background, eventually turning into a cultural phenomenon that is talked about months before and after the event. After resigning from her position as the editor-in-chief of Vogue US in 1972, Diana Vreeland revolutionized the Met Gala, making it one of the most anticipated events of the year in the fashion world. At the first stage of its evolution, Vreeland changed the atmosphere of the museum, creating a bright space with perfumed halls where the works of designers from famous fashion houses were showcased. She successfully integrated fashion into the museum environment.

Another significant aspect of the Met Gala is its annual theme, which serves as inspiration for reputable designers. Diana Vreeland is credited with initiating the theme selection, and Andrew Bolton, curator of the Anna Wintour Costume Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is responsible for the thematic part of the party, personally selecting and arranging all the exhibits. The editors of Vogue.com believe that 1974 was a revolutionary year in the history of the Met Gala because meticulous attention was given to the preparation of the famous guests, and one of the famous stars of the 20th century, Marisa Berenson, appeared in a dress reminiscent of the “golden age.”

Behind the scenes of the red carpet: stars, charm and fashion experiments 

In 1983, for the first time, the show was dedicated to the active designer Yves Saint Laurent, and these shows were among the last organized by Diana Vreeland. 

The next show, dedicated to the designer Christian Dior, was attended by Princess Diana, who wore a rather bold dress.

In 1997, Gianni Versace was murdered on the front steps of his mansion in Miami, and Anna Wintour decided that this show should be dedicated to her. Of course, all the guests were dressed in Versace, in particular Madonna, Salma Hayek and Donatella Versace, who chose a gold dress. 

The 2009 show was dedicated to models, from Dovima to Naomi and a number of other models, but the star of the day was Kate Moss, who appeared in a silver dress and a Marc Jacobs turban. 

The tragic death of Alexander McQueen in 2011 became a source of information for the Met Gala, and Andrew Bolton hosted the Wild Beauty exhibition, which exceeded all expectations.

The 2014 show was dedicated to couturier Charles James, and after a 2-year hiatus, the Anna Wintour Costume Center reopened.

The theme of 2016 was fashion and technology, and a number of stars preferred a silver shade to look like metal cars. Emma Watson’s dress was made from recycled plastic bottles, and Claire Danes’ dress shone in the dark. 

For the first time after 150 years of intensive activity, the Metropolitan Museum of Art suspended its work for six months in 2020.

The year 2022 was dedicated to “gilded glamour”, and the color gold prevailed at this show. Cardi B and Camila Mendes were directly in the spotlight of the theme, and the star of the day was Billie Eilish, who chose a corset gown with opera gloves.

The 2023 exhibition was dedicated to Karl Lagerfeld, during which about 150 samples were featured, and the guests kept the theme of the exhibition. In particular, Kendall Jenner and A&AP Rocky were wearing a black jacket and a white shirt, and Jared Leto decided to try on the costume of Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette.

From whispers to noise: why the Met Gala is one of the most striking events of modern fashion 

The Met Gala is indeed one of the most anticipated events in the fashion world, because during this period artists can capture the spirit of the times and fashion, see fashion trends and once again attract the attention of the public. The annual exhibition at New York’s main museum showcases outfits that transcend mere clothing, evolving into masterpieces of art. An important prerequisite is extravagance, and the more extravagant, the more impressive, and we can note that the Met Gala is a carnival of the fashion world, which attracts viewers from around the globe. 

Thanks to the Met Gala, Anna Wintour destroys world stereotypes about fashion, showing that high fashion is art.


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