TONIIIGHTTTT IS THE NIIIGHTTTT, the long awaited Annual Met Gala. For those of you wondering, The Met Gala is to Fashion as the Oscars is to Movies – the “it” crowd of fashion gathers from the highest models to the biggest designers and their muses. The Met Gala, though, is not about awards and giving accolades to those in the industry, but to kick off the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition around one fashion theme.
Although the Costume Institute and Met Gala have been around since 1948 (this is the 70th anniversary!), the first Fashion Exhibit under Anna Wintour + Vogue’s guidance, “The American Woman” debuted in 2010. The exbitit showcased all the different ways American Women have dressed through the times, from the Flapper to Cindy Crawford in denim jeans and a tee shirt. It’s fun for me to remember because I went to the exhibit kind of accidentally when I was interning in the city and totally unaware that it was the first exhibit. That year, Alexander McQueen died – a man who many lauded (and still do) in the industry for finding beauty in broken down or otherwise “ugly” parts of the world – and his exhibit at the Met was the 2nd one in 2011, and to this day one of the most influential exhibits. Given that I cried when I found out that McQueen committed suicide, i was not going to miss this exhibit. I actually made a playlist to listen to as I went through the exhibit, which let me tell you was a 4 hour wait any time i tried to go.
Then was 2012’s “Schiaparelli + Prada: An Impossible Conversation” where the real Miuccia Prada has a conversation with someone playing Elsa Schiaparelli and had researched her so in depth that they can have a current conversation on fashion that would never be possible since Schiaparelli passed away in the 70s at the age of 83.
The others all have had such beauty and such an appreciation for the industry through the ages, and i feel overwhelmingly grateful to have been able to experience them:
- 2013: Punk: Chaos to Couture
- 2014: Charles James
- 2015: China Through the Looking Glass
- 2016: Manus x Machina
- 2017: Rei Kawakubo
This year’s theme is Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination – so expect the Met Gala to be one very reminiscent of celestial inspirations, and then watch that trickle through the fashion industry and into your local stores throughout the years. When Manus x Machina debuted, focusing on technology and showing a lot of silvers and golds and brasses, the metallic trend ramped up in full force and soon, months later, every designer showed metallics in some way, all the way down to our beloved Gap and Zara.
The influence of this Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit is larger than its design inspirations and a party with pretty gowns and famous people, anyone can attend the gala technically with the purchase of a $30,000 ticket. You read that correctly. Steep as it may be, the seating is incredibly limited for these events and the POINT of the Met Gala is to raise money FOR the Costume Institute so that it can keep going and keep producing these events.
Keep in mind that for a while, the fashion world was excluded or looked down on from the Met because it wasn’t seen as a relevant art medium, something anybody in the industry would vastly argue, i think. The layers and layers of art and creativity and thought, intricacy, and unbelievable technique that lie behind each garment is remarkable and tells a very important story or dialogue. Fashion is art like a Monet is art, and understanding or appreciating Yves Saint Laurent is as important as understanding and appreciating Andy Warhol. I truly believe that the person who says “who would even wear that!?!?” when they see a garment on the runway, if they were to go to the Met Fashion Exhibits to see these pieces and read their histories/stories, they’d walk away knowing that owning a piece from Balenciaga, or YSL, or Prada is owning a piece of art from a world that has somuch history. It’s owning a Warhol, but also being able to wear it, which to me is so much more fun, ya know?