Sky Cinema / Shutterstock
Often referred to as the “Super Bowl of fashion,” The Met Gala is always an exciting night filled with celebrities and ultra-chic looks. According to Vogue—who hosts the event each year—The Met Gala is “where designers, models and Hollywood stars convene in the year’s most over-the-top looks.”
But when and how did The Met Gala get its start and what can we expect from this year’s event?
AN ANNUAL FUNDRAISER FOR THE COSTUME INSTITUTE
The inaugural Met Gala took place in 1948 as “a means to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute—a mandate that remains to this day,” Vogue says. Just two years prior to the first Gala, the Costume Institute was the Museum of Costume Art, a separate entity from the MET.
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “In 1946, with the financial support of the fashion industry, the Museum of Costume Art merged with The Metropolitan Museum of Art as The Costume Institute, and in 1959 became a curatorial department.”
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Diana Vreeland was influential in transforming The Met Gala into what it is today—an elaborate and atmospheric party.
Diana Vreeland, photo by Lynn Gilbert
You may be surprised to learn that the first Met Gala didn’t take place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Until 1971, The Met Gala was held annually in December at New York venues like the Waldorf Astoria, Central Park and Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. When Diana Vreeland, fashion columnist and editor for Vogue, joined the event committee in 1971, it became a whole new event.
Vreeland was influential in transforming The Met Gala into what it is today—an elaborate and atmospheric party. There were no themes until Vreeland, who linked the gala to exhibits, including “The World of Balenciaga” in 1973, and “Vanity Fair” 1977. She served as a key contributor for The Met Gala up until her passing in 1989, producing 14 exceptional events. She embraced the power of pop culture and celebrity that is still an integral part of The Met Gala today.
In the 90s, The Met Gala continued to thrive with “exhibitions on Gianni Versace, Christian Dior, and Vreeland herself,” Architectural Digest says.
Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour hosted The Met Gala in 1996 and 1997, and then took over as the chairperson in 1999—and she still serves today. Wintour brought a new level of whimsical mystique to the event, creating fun tablescapes and embracing the power behind Vogue.
Anna Wintour, Photo by Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock
THE MET GALA IN 2022
The second part and companion to last year’s theme of “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” tonight’s Met Gala will be all about “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” While last year’s Gala opened in the Anna Wintour Costume Center, this year the May 2 event will open in the period rooms of the American Wing.
The event dress code is Gilded Glamour, so you can expect to see some dazzling celebrity looks when the live coverage from Vogue begins at 6:00 PM EST.
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ICONIC LIFE Magazine will be sharing our favorite looks from The MET Gala on our Instagram stories. Keep up to date on all things fashion by following our Instagram account here.