The Met Gala is a high-fashion event that celebrates and raises funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Guests are expected to choose their fashion for the evening to reflect the theme of the exhibit.
The thematic gala launches the Costume Institute’s annual exhibit that runs from May to August. This year, the theme is “China: Through the Looking Glass.” The fashion exhibit begins on May 7 and runs until August 16.
With Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, the fashion industry’s most powerful woman, at the helm for nearly two decades, the look and feel of the Met Gala evolved from a mostly local society gala to the star-studded, exclusive, $25,000 per ticket or $175,000 per table fashion event-of-the-year that it is today. Money raised from the gala alone funds the entire annual operating budget of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Each year, the Met Gala also has honorary celebrity co-chairs. In 2013, Beyoncé was an honorary chairperson. Jennifer Lawrence is one of this year’s co-chairs for the gala.
“China: Through the Looking Glass” is the subject of a documentary produced by Condé Nast Entertainment, Relativity Studios, and Vogue — which may explain the new policy prohibiting the use of social media at the gala.
Monday, A-Listers converged on New York City’s 5th Avenue red carpet for the Met Gala, wearing China-inspired high-fashion costume designs where risqué ruled. Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian-West, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna owned the evening in their jaw-dropping red carpet reveals.
“When it comes to increasing name recognition and profile, nothing compares,” said Ed Filipowski, co-president of public relations and production firm KCD. “The effect lasts far beyond one evening. A dress gets associated with a celebrity, and then it becomes known as the dress XX wore to the ball, and becomes part of history.”
Kim Kardashian-West walked the red carpet in a Roberto Cavalli-by-Peter Dundas white embroidered nude tulle dress.
Beyoncé posed in a sheerest-of-sheer custom-made Givenchy, strategically bejeweled to cover her assets.
Jennifer Lopez flawlessly donned a fire dragon-embellished sheer gown from Atelier Versace.
Not to be outdone, Rihanna’s fur-trimmed gold satin robe whose train had to be carried by three people was by Chinese designer Guo Pei.
Madonna wore a simple Moschino and Zendaya looked lovely in Fausto Puglisi.
Solange hit the red carpet in a magnificently designed Giles mini-dress.
Sarah Jessica Parker wore a flame headpiece by Philip Treacy and a custom silk gown from H&M.
[Images by Josh Harner for The New York Times]