The first Monday of May might not mean much to the average person, but in New York City the paparazzi are buzzing and the streets are filled with an eager energy. Only the very best of the best in tinsel town can don the red carpet for the biggest night of fashion and design, the Met Gala.
Since 1946, the Met Gala has been a staple charity which takes its evolving shape in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The gala raises funds for Museum’s Costume Institute in New York City, and is considered the most prized fashion event of the year. Vogue’s Editor-In-Chief, Anna Wintour, hand curates the event to her tastings, deciding on everything from guest list to menu and annual theme to seating arrangements. It’s a well-oiled experience that takes a team of hundreds to pull off.
So why is the Met Gala still relevant after almost 70 years? Why is it that we are still intrigued and infatuated with the designs, interiors and looks from the event?
Anna Wintour and her team work endlessly to re-invent and re-inspire the ‘Met Experience’. Each year, the event is held in the exact same location at the exact same time. But it’s Vogue’s job to re-imagine the space and play with possibilities to continue to make it one of the best experiences in the world. After all, if you’re expected to pay up to $30,000 for a ticket, you’d better hope it is the experience of a lifetime.
The Met Gala pushes the envelope with fashion, and is the staple event for designers worldwide to take risks and challenges in order to make their name resonate across the red carpet. Each year, Wintour and her team decide on a theme for the gala which invited guests must take inspiration on. It’s a fun idea, and challenges the invitees to stun the audience with their choice of clothing and designer. It’s a game of collaborations, and deciding who to work with can either make you an overnight sensation or the biggest blunder of the party.
Every year the focus is placed on a designer who showcases an exhibition in the Museum, with names from Alexander McQueen to Gianni Versace and Christian Dior taking over the space to become a beautiful hub of fashion. The idea of having a fashion ‘headliner’ or ‘showcase designer’ only adds to the luxe environment that celebrities experience- they get to see one-off garments and enjoy a personal moment with some of the world’s best looks.
This is a special experience as it has a VIP edge, or “seeing things before others do” type of element. This is what makes people want to come back for more, to feel special.
The interior design of the Met Museum is kept tightly under wraps each year, with only a few photos managing to sneak their way out into the public eye. The interior is the brain-child of Wintour and select Vogue “special project consultants”, made possible by an extravagant team of production crew. The interior corresponds with the theme of the gala, and guests are banned from leaking the beautiful footage onto social media, which only adds to the luxurious experience as you either have to be there or miss out.
So why is the Met Gala still relevant today? It exemplifies the importance of creating an ‘experience’. When using the same location each year, Wintour knows it’s vital to keep the Gala evolving and intriguing. She is never too afraid to play with the space and uses large static sculptures and scenes to transform the Museum into another world. Setting the ‘luxe’ tone is made possible by the stunning environment and factors that can transform a space, think orchestras, elegantly dressed wait staff and hosts, prized celebrity performers, and feasts handcrafted by the best chefs. The Met Gala boasts an idea of elegance and VIP experience. We keep going back to look at it to see what we’re missing out on, and Wintour has done an incredible job in keeping us intrigued to see what the future event holds.
The word ‘experience’ refers to an event or occurrence which leaves an impression on someone. The Met Gala resoundingly continues to leave impressions on a worldwide scale and sets the bar for design, fashion and interior elegance. It has transformed from a small event into the biggest night of the year and continues to push the envelope, challenging those invited to help break boundaries and create a luxurious and one off experience.