Met Gala 2024: What is the occasion, and why is it so significant? - The India Saga



Met Gala 2024: What is the occasion, and why is it so significant?

On Monday, May 6, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City hosted the yearly Met Gala. Also referred…

Met Gala 2024: What is the occasion, and why is it so significant?

On Monday, May 6, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City hosted the yearly Met Gala. Also referred to as “fashion’s biggest night,” celebrities wore a variety of stunning, odd, inspired, and puzzling ensembles to the event, as they do each year. 

However, what exactly is the Met Gala? Why do the wealthy and well-known dress for parties according to a predetermined theme, and what do they do there? Who pays for the extravagant event, and what happens with the money raised? 

What is the Met Gala?

The Met Gala, also known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, is an annual fundraising event that usually takes place on the first Monday in May to support the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Essentially, the Costume Institute is the only part of the Met that has to raise money on its own, and it pulls off a spectacular feat with its annual party. Each year, a small number of celebrities from various fields are invited to this strictly invitation-only celebration. Attendees are suggested to dress in accordance with the annual theme, which also serves as the theme for the Costume Institute exhibition for that year. A Costume Institute spokeswoman estimated that about 400 people were invited the previous year.

“Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” is the theme for this year. The New York Times reported that the structure will not be based on fairy tales or Disney but rather on priceless items from the museum’s fashion collection that are too old and delicate to be shown on mannequins. The Met Gala is a fund-raiser for a costume institute, so the costumes are exceptionally creative and fashionable, giving the internet plenty of content to ogle and meme.

What is the Costume Institute?

The Costume Institute’s collection of over thirty-three thousand objects represents seven centuries of fashionable dress and accessories for men, women, and children, from the fifteenth century to the present,” according to the museum’s website.

The Museum of Costume Art was founded in 1937 as a separate organisation from the museum. “The Museum of Costume Art merged with The Metropolitan Museum of Art as The Costume Institute in 1946 and, in 1959, became a curatorial department,” the website continues, “with the financial support of the fashion industry.”

In what ways does the Met Gala raise funds?

Every year, the Met Gala is supported by several sponsors. This time, sponsors include Condé Nast, Loewe, a high-end Spanish fashion brand, and TikTok. The money is raised through the exorbitant prices of the tickets and tables. The New York Times reports that a single ticket costs $75,000 this year, which is $25,000 more than it did last year. Tables start at $350,000. Large fashion houses and brands typically purchase the tables. 

What makes the Met Gala so significant?

The Met Gala wasn’t always a prominent occasion with widespread media coverage. It all started in 1948 when New York’s elite society was invited to a fundraising dinner by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, who set the price at $50 per ticket. When fashion columnist Diana Vreeland joined the Costume Institute as a consultant in 1972, she elevated the Gala’s prominence beyond its New York City setting by bringing in a star-studded guest list and starting the tradition of yearly themes.

The current status of the Gala is widely attributed to Anna Wintour, the global chief content officer of Condé Nast and editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Vogue. The Met Gala is a highly sought-after status symbol, with invitations from the cream of the business in fashion, politics, sports, technology, and other fields. Wintour has been the event’s chief organiser since 1999 and personally selects the guest list. For instance, when a designer purchases a table, they can invite their own guests, but Wintour and Vogue must approve the list as well. Remarkably, Wintour declared in 2017 that she would never again extend an invitation to Donald Trump—who attended the Met Gala before becoming President.  

This time, Alia Bhatt was among the Indian guests at the Gala. In addition to Wintour, the show’s official designated hosts each year are actors Chris Hemsworth from Australia, US actress Zendaya, and Latin music stars Bad Bunny and Jennifer Lopez.