The History of the Met Gala


Hannah Bezahler

Every year, The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts its most popular event, a lavish party known as “The Met Gala”. Seven hundred selected celebrities are invited to attend this lively gala and it is considered one of the biggest events in the fashion world. The red carpet is typically filled with stars in extravagant outfits to fit that year’s theme. Unfortunately, like many events held during this time, we can expect that this year’s Met will be impacted by the pandemic. 

Since 1948, The Met Gala has been held to raise money for The Costume Institute. The institute houses some of the greatest fashion pieces in history.  The Gala has raised nearly 190 million dollars for the institution in total. According to Vogue, in 2019 the gala raised a record-breaking fifteen million dollars. Though, when the Met Gala was first established by the famous fashion publicist, Eleanor Lambert, tickets only cost fifty dollars. Since Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, took over the event in 1995, the tickets that once cost fifty dollars can now cost up to 30,000 dollars for a solo ticket! If you want to go with friends, a table can cost over 250,000 dollars. Not just anybody is invited to the Met, so if you’re not one of the most popular stars at the time, don’t expect an invite. 

At The Met Gala, you can’t wear any old thing. In the ’70s the idea of themes was introduced to the event but it wasn’t until Wintour became a chairwoman that the themes really took off. All attendees are expected to wear an outfit that fits that year’s theme. The theme in 1973 was “The World of Balenciaga”, In 1995 it was “Haute Culture”, 2005’s was “The House of Chanel”and in 2019 it was “Camp”. It was recently announced that the theme of the 2021 Met Gala is “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” to honor American Fashion. In addition to themes, the event has a different co- chairman each time who helps organize it. 2021’s co-chairs have gone to singer Billie Eilish, actor Timothée Chalamet, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka and poet Amanda Gorman. These chairmen are picked based on not only their influence in the fashion world but their overall public image. Some former co-chairmen are Meryl Streep, Harry Styles, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and Jeff Bezos. 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the celebration has been pushed back to September 13th, 2021, with the exhibit that displays the fashion pieces opening on September 18th. These dates were chosen in the hopes that the celebrities will all be vaccinated by then. Even though the attendees may be vaccinated, that doesn’t mean that the gala will go on as normal. It will be smaller than usual and they must follow all CDC guidelines. This year’s Met is also a two-part event, meaning it will run from fall through spring. The second part of the exhibit will open in May 2022 so COVID protocols may change by then. 

Even though this year’s gala will be different, it is still something many are looking forward to. Tickets for the gala have already sold out which is evident of its popularity. You can still expect to see your favorite stars dawning high-fashion pieces as well as many social media-worthy moments. The Met Gala is a super important event in the fashion world and has produced countless iconic moments. With last year’s Met Gala having been canceled, this year’s is all the more anticipated and will indeed live up to all the hype.