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What's the Met Gala? Here's what to know about fashion's biggest night

What's the Met Gala? Here's what to know about fashion's biggest night

Lady Gaga; Dan Levy; Lil Nas X at the Met Gala
Getty Images

(L-R) Lady Gaga; Dan Levy; Lil Nas X attending the Met Gala over the years.

Breaking down the history, evolution, and significance of the Met Gala over the years.

The Met Gala has been an annual tradition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City since 1948. Generally, the event aims to raise money for the Costume Institute — a sector of the museum that is entirely focused on costume and fashion design.

As we approach the 2024 edition of the Met Gala on Monday, May 6, this feels like the perfect time to freshen up on this year's event and look back at the history of fashion's biggest night. So if you need to catch up on the latest details about the 2024 Met Gala and/or want to learn more about the history of this event, we've got you covered, sis!

Where can I watch the 2024 Met Gala via streaming?

You can watch the Met Gala on Monday, May 6, 2024 via live streaming on the Vogue website, on YouTube, and on TikTok. The live-stream coverage will begin at 3pm PT/6pm ET.

What's the theme and the dress code for the 2024 Met Gala?

The theme of the Met Gala in 2024 is "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion." Moreover, the event's dress code for the red carpet is "The Garden of Time."

Vogue noted that this year's Met Gala theme has no relation to the Sleeping Beauty fairytale from the Brothers Grimm or the animated Disney film. Rather, this is meant to be a "celebration of clothing and fashion so fragile that it can’t ever be worn again — and are thus sleeping beauties in the scrupulous archives of the Costume Institute."

The Met Gala's dress code, "The Garden of Time," was inspired by the 1962 short story of the same name by English author J. G. Ballard. The original story tells the story of a count and countess who live in a villa that overlooks a garden of "crystalline flowers with translucent leaves, gleaming glass-like stems, and crystals at the heart of every bloom."

Ballard's work typically combines paradisiacal and dystopian concepts, so we can expect some interesting looks by those in attendance at the Met Gala.

According to the official theme announcement from Vogue, an estimated 250 items from the Costume Institute's permanent collection will be seen in the "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" exhibit. The collection will display costumes from designers like Stella McCartney, Phillip Lim, Connor Ives, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Hubert de Givenchy, spanning 400 years from "17th century English Elizabethan-era bodice to 21st century acquisitions."

Specifically, the pieces shown in the "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" exhibit will include elements of computer-generated imagery (CGI), artificial intelligence (AI), and other technological advancements.

Which celebrities are hosting the Met Gala in 2024 as co-chairs?

Bad Bunny, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Lopez, and Zendaya have joined Vogue's Anna Wintour as the official co-chairs for the Met Gala in 2024. There are also honorary chairs for Jonathan Anderson (Loewe and JW Anderson's creative director) and Shou Chew (TikTok CEO), as reported by Vogue.

When was the first-ever Met Gala?

Eleanor Lambert

A portrait of Eleanor Lambert.

Getty Images

Organized by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, the first Met Gala took place on Thursday, November 18, 1948 (not on the first Monday of May!). Furthermore, the first few editions of the Met Gala were held either at the Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room or at the Waldorf Astoria (not at The Metropolitan Museum of Art!), as reported by Vogue.

The first-ever Met Gala, marketed as the "Party of the Year," was a midnight supper for invited guests who each had to pay $50 in order to attend (via The Met). Since that first edition, the event was already held to raise funds for the Costume Institute.

While the Met Gala is now considered a prestigious and widely reported event, it was only covered by the publication Women's Wear Daily up until 1958.

How did Diana Vreeland impact the Met Gala?

Diana Vreeland and Yves Saint Laurent

(L-R) Diana Vreeland and Yves Saint Laurent at the Met Gala in 1983.

Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images

Diana Vreeland was the editor in chief of Vogue from 1963 to 1971. Starting in 1972 — after she was let go from Vogue — Vreeland joined the Costume Institute as a consultant, thus importing her fantastical, whimsical, and theatrical perspective of fashion to the Met Gala. And just like that, the event started focusing on putting together a fabulous fashion show rather than being so intellectual and scholarly.

It was also during Vreeland's consulting years that the Met Gala started elevating its themes. While Vogue reports that the Met Gala had themes in 1971 ("Fashion Plate") and 1972 ("Untailored Garments"), the first event under Vreeland's tenure took place on Wednesday, March 21, 1973 and was dubbed "The World of Balenciaga." This decision to celebrate the Spanish fashion house came after the passing of its founder, Cristóbal Balenciaga, in 1972.

1987 was Vreeland's final year directly curating the Met Gala and its exhibitions. The fashion legend passed away two years later, in 1989. Vreeland was replaced by Pat Buckley, a Canadian American socialite, who ran the Met Gala between 1988 and 1995.

When did Anna Wintour start running the Met Gala?

Andre Leon Talley and Anna Wintour

(L-R) Andre Leon Talley and Anna Wintour at the Met Gala in 1997.

Steve Eichner/Penske Media via Getty Images

1988 was a landmark year for the world of high fashion in the United States. Just as Buckley started running the Met Gala in 1988, Anna Wintour became the editor in chief of Vogue that same year. However, Wintour didn't take over as the co-chair of the Met Gala until 1995.

Wintour fully embraced the world of celebrity during her tenure on Vogue. Unsurprisingly, she brought that same approach to the Met Gala and effectively turned the event into a high-profile extravaganza that had actors, pop stars, and models in attendance.

In 2001, the Met Gala adopted its now-iconic schedule of taking place on the first Monday in May every single year. While press coverage of the Met Gala mostly focuses on its red carpet, attendees can visit the official exhibition and eat dinner during the event.

There's also a post-dinner performance for those in attendance — a tradition that was kicked off by Lady Gaga in 2010. Artists that have since performed at the Met Gala include Katy Perry, Frank Ocean, Rihanna, Madonna, and even a DJ set from RuPaul, among others.

In 2014, the Costume Institute inside The Met was renamed to the Anna Wintour Costume Center in a gesture of appreciation for her hard work raising money for the museum (via WWD). The curatorial department is still referred to as the Costume Institute, but the physical space at The Met has included Wintour's name for 10 years now.

Where can I watch 'The First Monday in May' documentary on streaming?

In 2016, director Andrew Rossi released the documentary film The First Monday in May, which followed the behind-the-scenes production of putting together the Met Gala. This particular documentary captured the inner workings of organizing the 2015 Met Gala, which had the theme "China: Through the Looking Glass."

The First Monday in May is now available on a streaming service, but you can rent/buy the documentary on platforms such as Apple TV+ or Amazon Prime Video.

How much does it cost for a ticket to the Met Gala?

Bad Bunny and Simon Porte Jacquemus

(L-R) Bad Bunny and Simon Porte Jacquemus at the Met Gala in 2023.

Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

A ticket to the 2024 Met Gala costs $75,000 for invited individuals. This new cost reflects an increase of 50% from last year's $50,000 ticket price to attend the 2023 Met Gala (via CBS News). The report also indicates that a 10-person table is starting at $350,000 for the 2024 edition, according to The Met.

It should be noted that attendees must be invited to the event — typically by a fashion house — and approved by Anna Wintour in order to be admitted into the Met Gala. Even the most famous celebrities and richest tech billionaires can't buy a ticket to attend the event without an actual invitation.

How much money is raised at the Met Gala?

According to Vogue Business, the 2023 edition of the Met Gala raised a record-breaking $22 million. All the event proceeds are used to support the Costume Institute department at The Met.

How many people attend the Met Gala each year?

The 2023 Met Gala red carpet

The 2023 Met Gala red carpet.

Neilson Barnard/MG23/Getty Images

An estimated 400 guests attend the Met Gala every year, as reported by the Associated Press. The entire list is reportedly approved by Wintour.

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Bernardo Sim

Bernardo Sim is a writer, content creator, and the deputy editor of Out. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim is a writer, content creator, and the deputy editor of Out. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.