MET Gala

From charity event to runway show

How a fundraising dinner turns into the biggest night in fashion

The MET Gala in Ocean’s 8 / Photo by PINTEREST
The MET Gala in Ocean’s 8 / Photo by PINTEREST
Ángel Pérez Ángel Pérez

Many are familiar with it and some have heard of it, but few know its origins and raison d’être. The MET Gala dates back to 1948 when the Costume Institute was inaugurated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (MET). A new department of the museum created to preserve and exhibit fashion at the level of a work of art. With the sole purpose of raising funds, a gala dinner was organized for the high society of the Big Apple. It was called the Costume Institute Ball, it had no specific theme and no one expected that what started as a simple elite dinner would become what it is today.

In 1972, Diana Vreeland, editor-in-chief of Vogue and consultant to the MET at the time, wanted to give more importance to that year’s show. She came up with the idea of having guests at the annual gala dress in keeping with the theme of the exhibition and incorporated the first MET Gala theme. Two decades after its first edition, the first theme was “The World of Fashion“. The goal was to focus on the fashion of the 1930s and 1940s.

Wintour Era

It wasn’t until 1995 that the famous fashion magazine Vogue took over the event. The president of the Costume Institute, Philippe de Montebello, wanted to work with the magazine’s newly appointed editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, because of her reputation as one of the most influential figures in fashion. According to her, “The MET Gala is the most important night of the year for fashion. It is the moment when you can see the power of fashion to transform lives and societies.” Montebello and Wintour have since worked together to give the MET Gala a fresh approach and create some of the most acclaimed fashion exhibitions in the museum’s history.

The British journalist’s arrival at the organization brought with it many changes. Most significant, and one that still carries a lot of weight today in terms of how the gala is referred to, is the date it is held. The Costume Institute Ball used to be held every year in December and Wintour, in 2005, decided to move it to the first Monday in May. This allowed the event to be held during the spring season, an important time for fashion, and to better fit the industry calendar. Since then, many refer to the MET Gala as the “First Monday in May“.

Anna Wintour at the Vogue offices / Photo by PINTEREST
Anna Wintour at the Vogue offices / Photo by PINTEREST

The evolution of the MET Gala

From Princess Diana to Rihanna, the steps of the MET have hosted a wide range of celebrities and the gala has undergone a great evolution over the years. Its theme, its scope and its impact on the world of fashion and popular culture are some of the gala’s most significant changes.

Year after year, the gala’s theme has become increasingly specific. From “The World of Fashion” to “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” guests have gone from simply wearing their best evening gowns to participating in an actual runway show. Another significant change has been the media coverage and reach of the event. Today, the MET Gala is widely covered by media outlets around the world and the live stream receives more than 10 million views each year.

Its influence on fashion

In recent years, the gala has had a significant impact on fashion. Many designers and brands use the su theme to inspire their collections and dress celebrities and prominent personalities from around the world. In addition, the event has helped boost the profile of many emerging designers and innovation in the fashion industry.

According to Marc Jacobs, fashion designer: “The MET Gala is a unique opportunity for fashion to be seen as a medium of artistic expression. It’s a time when you can experiment with style and creativity.” Tom Ford, also a designer, shares that “it’s a night where designers can showcase their most innovative and exciting creations.

Where the MET Gala is headed

There is no doubt that the MET Gala has become one of the most important events in fashion and entertainment. Over time, what started as a simple charity dinner has grown into a unique event with a lot of hard work behind it.

In the future, the event is expected to continue to explore new themes and approaches. It is also expected that the MET Gala will continue to embrace digital technologies and platforms to amplify its impact and reach a wider audience. For example, in 2021, a virtual experience was organized so that fashion fans could visit the Costume Institute exhibition from home.

Ángel Pérez

Soy un joven apasionado de la comunicación, la creatividad y el diseño. Con gran curiosidad, disfruto mucho informando sobre temas sociales o de moda. Actualmente estoy estudiando Publicidad, Relaciones Públicas y Periodismo; pero jamás cerraré las puertas a seguir aprendiendo cosas nuevas.