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Everything You Need to Know About the Met Gala 2022

MET GALA EXPLAINER 4
The singer-songwriter Billie Eilish at the pandemic-delayed Met Gala in New York, Sept. 13, 2021. Officially known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, the themed gala features a dress code described as “gilded glamour” and tickets costing $35,000 apiece. (File photos: New York Times)
First things first: What is the Met Gala?

Officially, it’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit, a black-tie extravaganza held on the first Monday in May to raise money for the Costume Institute.اضافة اعلان

Unofficially, it’s “the party of the year,” “the Oscars of the East Coast,” and “an ATM for the Met” (the last by publicist Paul Wilmot). We think of it as the Fashion X Games or the All-Star Game of Entrances.

When does it start?

Guests are given timed entrance instructions to avoid traffic jams on the red carpet. In theory, arrivals start at 5:30 p.m., usually with the evening’s famous hosts, and end at 8 p.m. But the most famous generally arrive whenever they want, sometimes as late as 9:30 p.m. So you can’t rush Rihanna.

Wait … is Rihanna coming?

Probably not this time since she is due to give birth any moment, but who knows? That could add some red carpet drama.


Rihanna and A$AP Rocky at the pandemic-delayed Met Gala in New York, Sept. 13, 2021. Officially known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, the themed gala features a dress code described as “gilded glamour” and tickets costing $35,000 apiece.


So who are the hosts?

The special co-hosts are Regina King, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. Honorary chairs include Anna Wintour of Vogue, the real power behind the event; Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, the company that is underwriting the exhibition and party, along with Condé Nast; and Tom Ford, who will probably dress many attendees.


The British model Jourdan Dunn, left, and Cassie Ventura, the singer, model and actress, at the Met Gala in New York, May 1, 2017. Officially known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, the themed gala features a dress code described as “gilded glamour” and tickets costing $35,000 apiece.

Is there a theme?

The party signals the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual blockbuster show, and the party dress code is usually themed to the exhibition. This year’s show is “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” part two of a yearlong extravaganza about the relevancy and power of American Fashion. (Part One was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.”) The dress code is “gilded glamour.”

Didn’t the American fashion gala already happen?


It is true that, as a result of the pandemic, and for one time only, a Met gala was held in September, albeit on a slightly reduced scale, for part one of the exhibition. (To be absolutely accurate, the galas were originally held in November; they moved around a bit and settled in May in 2005.) However, because the gala was canceled in 2020, the Costume Institute, like the American fashion industry, suffered a financial blow, and the interim gala was scheduled to make up some of the shortfall — and to give the city the equivalent of a highly visible coming-out party.


U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), in a dress graffiti’ed with the words “Tax the Rich,” at the pandemic-delayed Met Gala in New York, Sept. 13, 2021. Officially known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, the themed gala features a dress code described as “gilded glamour” and tickets costing $35,000 apiece.

Speaking of the pandemic, are there any COVID precautions this year?

Attendees have to provide proof of vaccination status and a negative COVID-19 PCR test. They are also asked to wear face coverings indoors except when eating or drinking.

Back to the dress code: What is gilded glamour? Is it about income inequality?

Given that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attended September’s gala wearing a dress graffitied with the words “Tax the Rich,” that tickets are $35,000 apiece and that tables range from $200,000 to $300,000, that’s a fair assumption. But no, this is a celebration of fashion and those who wear it.

Why would anyone pay that much for a party?

Wintour, the editor of American Vogue and the artistic director of Condé Nast, became chairwoman in 1995 and took over the party’s permanent leadership in 1999. Since then, she has been instrumental in transforming a local philanthropic event into the ultimate celebrity-power cocktail: Take a jigger of famous names from fashion, add film, tech, politics, sports, and influencers, and mix.


 The singer Katy Perry at the Met Gala in New York, May 7, 2018. Officially known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, the themed gala features a dress code described as “gilded glamour” and tickets costing $35,000 apiece.

Since the Costume Institute is the only one of the Met’s curatorial departments that has to fund itself, fashion has been iffy as an art form when the department was established. The gala is its primary source of income. In 2021, the ball raised more than $16.4 million. (For some context, that same year, the New York City Ballet fall gala raised just more than $2 million.)

Also, not everyone pays. Celebs, young designers, and politicians are usually guests of big brands or the museum.

So what should we expect, fashion-wise?

If you watched “The Gilded Age,” you’ll get the idea. Think fashion between 1870 and 1890. Think Astors, Vanderbilts, Whitneys and Edith Wharton books. Think gold, corsets, bustles, and big sleeves. Think white tie, not black. Think excess!

Sounds like a costume party, Is it?

Only insofar as fashion is the costume, we all wear in everyday life. That said, though, it is the most extreme version of that costume, more extreme than the Oscars, the Cannes Film Festival, and even the MTV Video Music Awards. Because the designers who attend almost always come with their own celebrities, the guests become walking advertisements for brands as well as an ad for the event. That has created a virtuous circle of one-upmanship, as labels vie for the best stars and stars vie for the most eye-catching outfits.


The tennis star Naomi Osaka, right, at the pandemic-delayed Met Gala in New York, Sept. 13, 2021. Officially known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, the themed gala features a dress code described as “gilded glamour” and tickets costing $35,000 apiece.

In 2018, for example, for “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” Rihanna came as the pope. Katy Perry wore such enormous angel wings that she practically knocked over a fellow guest. And Sarah Jessica Parker had an entire Nativity scene on her head.

In 2019, “Camp: Notes on Fashion” took the event to a new level: Lady Gaga, a host, did a striptease of four different outfits for her entrance alone; a winged Billy Porter was borne aloft on a litter carried by six shirtless men; and Cardi B appeared to be dressed as a uterus.

Last September, when Kim Kardashian arrived in head-to-toe black Balenciaga, identifiable only by her famous silhouette, it seemed as if a turning point of sorts had been reached.


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