Monday’s aren’t normally a day people look forward to, but the first Monday in May—at least for the world’s biggest names in fashion, music, film, and business—are the exception. The Met Gala is an annual event that takes place to raise money for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and since 1995, the widely known “Oscars of the East Coast” has helped raise over $145 million for the institute.
Much has changed since the gala first began in 1948, which in large part is due to the ambitious vision of Diana Vreeland, and later, one of the fashion world’s biggest names, Anna Wintour. But first, it was public relations pioneer Eleanor Lambert who introduced the idea, which she appropriately labeled “The Party of the Year.” It soon fell into the lap of Vreeland—the then Editor-in-Chief of Vogue—whose firing from the magazine in 1971 turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it paved the way for her to turn the event into the spectacle it is. She can be credited for the extravagance, innovation, and popularity that surrounds the gala.
Today, followers of the event anticipate the entrance of Hollywood elites like Rihanna, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Lily Collins, but before actresses and pop superstars hit the famous MET stairs, socialites and political tycoons owned the night. Vogue and Anna Wintour’s influence over this annual charitable function turned it into the celebrity showcase that it is today. Past honorary co-chairs include Taylor Swift, duo Marc Jacobs and Kate Moss, and Beyoncé— solidifying the nature of the celebrity-driven evening.
The chance to celebrate the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one that many in the industry are happy to participate in, if not for the exclusivity, then for the opportunity to simply dress up and raise money for a cause near and dear to them.
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