After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the 69th annual event formerly known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, now more famously known as the Met Gala, took place in New York City on Monday, September 13.
The Met Gala often holds the record for the greatest amount of money raised of any New York City fundraiser. This year’s gala raised a record-breaking 16.75 million dollars and is the main source of income for the institute’s budget.
The gala was established in 1948 by American fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert to raise money for the newly built Costume Institute in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For the inaugural event, ticket prices were 50 dollars to attend. To attend this year’s exclusive and eagerly anticipated event, ticket prices were 35,000 dollars apiece and tables were available for 200,000 to 300,000 dollars.
In the early years, attendees for the event were members of New York City’s high society and the city’s fashion industry. In 1972, Diana Vreeland, a columnist for “Harper’s Bazaar” and then “Vogue” became a consultant for the Met Gala, evolving it into a more glamorous evening by inviting the year’s most popular celebrities, as well as New York Cities elite.
As she’s done most years since 1995, Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief and fashion’s revered matriarch, Anna Wintour, was the chairwoman of the event where she and her team at Vogue carefully curate the guest list. That guest list includes the particular year’s A-list in every industry, from music to acting to today’s social media influencers. They wear some of the top fashion houses, which consist of new and old designs that were created exclusively for this night.
In addition to the highly curated guest list, the Vogue team also carefully chooses the event’s cochairs, which this year included a roster of young and talented Gen Zers, like actor Timothée Chalamet, singer Billie Eilish, poet and activist Amanda Gorman and professional tennis player Naomi Osaka.
The highlight of any Met Gala is the star-studded magic that takes place on the iconic Met steps and its red carpet. It is here where the gala achieves its reputation as being the biggest night in fashion. Walking the red carpet is the guests’ runway where they are photographed and interviewed by more than 200 media outlets from around the world.
Each year the gala has a theme that sets the tone for the evening and gives the designers their creative marching orders for designing the most extraordinary, and sometimes extravagant costumes for their invited attendees. Fashion designers hope they will outshine their peers’ designs and capture the headlines. In 1973, the very first theme was The World of Balenciaga, Spain’s luxury fashion house, which was created by Cristóbal Balenciaga. The outfits consisted of everything Balenciaga. For 2021, the invitation simply said, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.”
The one certainty when it comes to fashion’s biggest night is one can expect the unexpected. Some outfits fit the theme perfectly, such as Billie Eilish, who blew everyone away with her nude tulle Oscar de le Renta gown and Marylin Monroe inspired hairdo. Timothée Chalamet was looking stylish as usual with his Haider Ackermann suit and off-white converse.
Others guests could be viewed as quite strange. American media personality Kim Kardashian donned an all-black Balenciaga gown, which covered every inch of her body, from head to toe and the artist A$AP ROCKY wore a colorful quilt by ERL, which he held around his body the whole night.