The Met Gala, formally called the Costume Institute Gala and also known as the Met Ball, is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It marks the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit.
Each year’s event celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition, and the exhibition sets the tone for the formal dress of the night, since guests are expected to choose their fashion to match the theme of the exhibit.
Each year the event also has honorary celebrity event day chairpersons.
The Costume Institute Gala is a major fundraising benefit that serves as an opening celebration for the Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. Following the event, the exhibition runs for several months.
The Gala is widely regarded as one of the most exclusive social events in New York and one of the biggest fundraising nights in the city with nine million dollars raised in 2013 twlve Million where raised in 2016
It is one of the most notable sources of funding for the Institute. The affair, attended by personalities from the arts, fashion, high-society, film and music, has been held at the Met since 1946 and is considered to be the fashion industry’s premier annual red carpet event.
Its red carpet fashions are widely photographed, reviewed, critiqued and emulated.
Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief and a chair of the event since 1995, oversees both the benefit committee and the guest list, with Vogue staffers helping assemble the list of invitees.
According to Cathy Horyn of The New York Times, the gathering rivals the West Coast’s Vanity Fair Oscar Party, which is said to have more
“star power” but less fashion panache. In 2014, the individual tickets cost $30,000 for those outside the official guest list,and Tables for $275,000 after prices were raised $10,000 from the prior year to increase the exclusivity of the event. The annual guest list includes only 650–700 people.
Each year the event has a theme, and includes a cocktail hour and a formal dinner. During the cocktail hour, guests arrive to walk on the red carpet, tour the years special themed exhibition, and be seated before the dinner party that includes entertainment from the preeminent entertainers of the day.
The theme not only sets the tone for the annual exhibit, but also for the guests who attempt to dress to uphold the theme of the year, oftentimes causing runs on certain fashion themes among the world’s leading fashion retailers. Sometimes, such as in 2013, the theme is a bit befuddling because it does not provide a clear stylistic directive, while at other times, such as 2014 the theme may be far more challenging to one gender than the other. 2015: China: Through the Looking Glass 2016: Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology
Honorary event day chairs
In addition to Wintour’s role of chairing the whole event, there are annual chairs and co-chairs for the day of the event. For this year Gala 2016, the chair was Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld and Miuccia Prada