Monday, May 1 marks the 69th annual Met Gala, where hordes of the country's most powerful and influential people flock to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art for what has become one of the biggest events on the city's social calendar. The gala is notorious for gaining attention in the media, not just for the elaborate themes, but the caliber of the celebrities in attendance. From humble beginnings in 1947, when it was just another event in a sea of charity balls, the gala has been transformed into New York's night of nights.
Since taking over as chair of the event in 1995, Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour has been credited with turning the annual gala into a star-studded affair. This year's event sees musicians Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams, as well as Tom Brady and wife, Gisele Bundchen, take on the role of hosts. The event also boasts A-list talent on stage, with the likes of Rihanna, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and Frank Ocean performing for guests in previous years.
While the event has long been exclusive, a source close to Wintour explained to Page Six that the guest list for this year's Rei Kawakubo Comme des Garçons-themed event had been cut to 610 lucky attendees to allow for a more "intimate and private" event.
"The party has shifted in size over the years according to theme... For the 'Punk' theme [in 2013] it was a slightly larger, more rambunctious crowd."
An unnamed New York socialite explains that the hyper-exclusive guest list is part of the appeal of the event, and this all comes back to Anna Wintour.
"Anna is extremely restrictive on who can buy a ticket. Many people I know who are friends, [and] who have the money to pay, have been turned down. Anna decides they can't go. Period."
And even for those lucky enough to make the guest list, there is still the matter of the ticket price. As the event is first and foremost a fundraiser for the museum's costume center, tickets range in price from $30,000 up to $50,000.
The insider told Page Six that Wintour appears to be shaking up the culture of the event, and while museum members and other friends of the Met had been all but assured tickets in the past, the editor now seems more concerned with boosting the number of high profile celebrities in attendance.
"I think [the Gala team is] more concerned with getting celebrities to fill the seats. [Vogue contributing editor] Lauren Santo Domingo and [Estée Lauder creative director] Aerin Lauder will get to go. But I know at least 10 people who are friends who were told no."
With tickets to the event such a high commodity, socialites and celebrities across the country do whatever it takes to ensure they are on the guest list. Model Coco Rocha, who has, for years, been a Met Gala fixture, has previously said that it was an honor to attend, but surprisingly did not receive an invite this year. When asked the reason behind the change Rocha replied "I don't know. You'll have to ask Anna that."
While the offices of Wintour and the Met Ball committee don't comment on such matters, it has been suggested that a past fashion feud between Rocha and host Katy Perry may be the reason she slipped off this year's guest list. Back in 2013, Rocha accused the pop star of jacking her style after Perry wore the same Emanual Ungaro gown to the MTV Video Music Awards that Rocha had worn to that year's Met Gala three months earlier.
At the time, Rocha joked to media that "I wore her dress at the Met [Gala] in 2013, so I'm going to be phoning someone up and wondering what happened there."
Similarly, celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe allegedly had her invite revoked in 2007 when she claimed in an interview that she was more influential than Wintour.
Project Runway host Timm Gunn claims that a highly publicized war between him and the Vogue head began when he told The Post that he had observed Wintour being carried down five flights of stairs by two bodyguards. Gunn claims he was asked by Vogue to retract his statement and had been officially blacklisted by Wintour ever since.
While personally offending the Vogue chief may seem like an obvious reason for being barred, a source familiar with the event claims that something as simple as passing up an invitation is enough to see one barred from the event for life.
"I know people who decided not to go one year because they weren't around or didn't like the theme. Once you do that, you're not invited back unless you're triple A-list."
It has been reported that Ivanka Trump and husband, Jared Kushner, normally fixtures of the ball, will not be attending this year due to their political commitments in Washington. It is unclear whether the couple's status will see them invited back in the future.
Despite the difficulty of obtaining a ticket, the gala is reportedly worthwhile, with the intimate environment providing a perfect environment to get to know the other attendees.
"You can talk to anyone. Everyone is very friendly there because the crowd is so selective. When the ticket is $50,000 and you received Anna's stamp of approval, it's a forgone conclusion that you're worth being there."
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/AP Images]