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The MET & THE GALA 2024: THEME AND INTRODUCTION

ASAP Rocky and Rihanna, in Valentino.Credit...Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

In the spring of 2024, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA)’s Costume Institute will exhibit rare, meticulously crafted pieces spanning across 4 centuries, with some of them too delicate to be worn again. The fragile garments, nicknamed the ‘Sleeping Beauties’ of the collection by the Costume Institute’s director Andrew Bolton, will serve as muses for the interactive showcase and be on display. 

Sponsored and supported by TikTok and Loewe, the MMA’ exhibition aims to emulate the sensory experience the land, sky and sea as ‘three zones’, whilst displaying archival pieces from the likes of Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and French haute couture fashion house, the House of Worth. With approximately 250 garments said to be on display, the Met Gala’s theme ‘Sleeping Beauties; Reawakening Fashion’ will showcase the celebration of fashion history and couture. Some enthusiasts have begun predicting which celebrity guests will be dressed and styled in which brands, with Dior, Givenchy and Schiaparelli being some of the main names in the discussions online. 

The preceding Costume Institute Benefit (Met Gala) theme, ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’, featured striking pieces from brands including Valentino, Them Browne, Schiaperelli and Versace styled on celebrities such as Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Jenna Ortega, making some viewers curious about the reappearance of these brands at the Met Gala next spring.

Photo: Getty Images

What To Expect:

The MMA’s Costume Institute have acquired image maker talent Nick Knight, of SHOWstudios, to assist in the curation of special effects and work closely with artificial intelligence for the exhibition’s visual art. The olfactory work will be developed by Sissel Tolaas, artist and smell-researcher, who will translate the communication of the scents in the exhibit. Other major aspects of the showcase include the alleged use of video animation, CGI and soundscaping to connect all elements and explore the tri-zonal collection. 

What was the theme of the Met Gala 2023?

The Met Gala of 2023 paid homage to the late fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld with its theme, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” In a departure from traditional retrospectives, Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton curated an exhibition that celebrated Lagerfeld’s legacy. Creative consultant Amanda Harlech, a close collaborator of Lagerfeld, played a key role in shaping the show. The Met Gala’s dress code, fittingly named “in honour of Karl,” inspired guests to draw from Lagerfeld’s influential tenures at Chanel, Fendi, Chloé, Patou, and his eponymous brand.

In the preceding year, the Met Gala in 2022 centered around the theme “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” Curated by Andrew Bolton, the exhibition aimed to spotlight inclusivity in the fashion industry and pay tribute to the often-overlooked heroes of American design. This theme followed the 2021 focus on “In America: The Lexicon Of Fashion.”

What Happens at the Met Gala?

In a nutshell, the Met Gala is shrouded in secrecy. Guests are bound by a strict no-phone policy, prohibiting social media updates. Notably, this rule faced defiance in 2017 when a group of celebrities broke it, indulging in smoking and selfies in the bathroom. The event typically features a prominent performer, such as Rihanna, and attendees explore the exhibition before convening for a collective dinner.

How Many People Attend the Met Gala?

Typically, the Met Gala accommodates around 600 attendees, though a smaller gathering marked the 2021 event.

Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala in 2022. Sean Zanni/Getty Images

Who Is Invited to the Met Gala?

The 2023 guest list boasted luminaries like Rihanna, Lizzo, Kim Kardashian, Billie Eilish, Michelle Yeoh, Anne Hathaway, and Erykah Badu. Designers, accompanied by their muses, added to the star-studded affair.

Met Gala 2023 Hosts

The hosts for the Met Gala 2023 were Penélope Cruz, Michaela Coel, Roger Federer, Dua Lipa, and Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who served as official co-chairs. As for the 2024 Met Gala, co-hosts are yet to be revealed.

Can I Watch the Met Gala?

Fashion enthusiasts could follow the event through Vogue’s livestream in 2023. La La Anthony, Derek Blasberg, and Chloe Fineman hosted the red-carpet coverage, while Emma Chamberlain returned as a special correspondent. Highlights are available on Vogue’s YouTube channel.

Met Gala 2023 Fashion Highlights

With Lagerfeld’s design legacy as the theme, attendees delved into his archives or paid homage with inspired designs. Memorable moments included Rihanna in a Valentino haute couture cape nodding to the Chanel bride, Kim Kardashian adorned in Schiaparelli pearls, and Olivia Wilde donning a Chloé dress reminiscent of Karl’s 1983 collection. Noteworthy nods to Karl’s beloved pet cat, Choupette, came from Doja Cat, Jared Leto, and Lil Nas X.

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