It started in 1948 as a society midnight supper, which wasn’t even at the Met Museum.
Fast forward 70-plus years and the Met Gala is something totally different, one of the most photographed events in the world for its head-spinning fashions on the red carpet (although the famous carpeted steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art aren’t always red).
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: A wrap of last year’s star-studded Met Gala
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We’re talking Rihanna as a bejewelled pope.
Zendaya as Cinderella with a light-up gown.
Katy Perry as a chandelier morphing into a hamburger.
Beyoncé in her “naked dress”.
Kim Kardashian in a face-covering bodysuit.
Billy Porter as an Egyptian sun god, carried on a litter by six shirtless men.
Not to forget, the Met Gala is still a fundraiser — last year the evening earned more than a whopping $16.4 million for the Met’s Costume Institute.
Let’s also not forget that it launches the annual spring fashion exhibit that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the museum.
But it’s the Met Gala carpet itself (now watchable for everyone, on livestream) that draws the world’s eyes, with the guest list strategically withheld until the last minute — a collection of stars from movies, music, fashion, sports, politics and elsewhere that probably makes for the highest celebrity wattage-per square foot of any party in the world.
Here’s all you need to know about the 2022 Met gala, which is on May 2.
Who’s hosting the 2022 Met Gala?
This year’s hosts are Regina King, power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Of course, Vogue’s Anna Wintour is supervising the whole shebang as she has since the 1990s.
Her fellow honorary co-chairs are designer Tom Ford and Instagram head Adam Mosseri.
What is this year’s theme?
The Met Gala theme for this year is “Gilded glamour, white-tie,” guests have been told.
As usual, the sartorial theme comes from the exhibit the gala launches: “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” which is the second of star curator Andrew Bolton’s two-part show exploring the roots of American style.
This one will showcase some lesser-known designers, and also some top film directors, including Sofia Coppola, Martin Scorsese, host King, and last year’s Oscar winner Chloé Zhao.
Their work will be displayed in the period rooms of the American Wing, so expect some grand fashion, like those gowns from HBO’s The Gilded Age.
Artfully ripped jeans, this time?
Not so much.
Does everyone follow the Met Gala theme?
Some eschew it and just go for big and crazy.
But expect some guests to have carefully researched the theme and to come in perfect sync with the exhibit.
It was hard to beat the carpet, for example, when the theme was “Catholic imagination” and Rihanna came as the pope, Zendaya channeled Joan of Arc, and Perry navigated the crowd with a set of enormous angel wings.
How much does it cost to buy a Met Gala ticket?
Wrong question. You cannot just “buy” a ticket.
The right question is, IF I were famous or powerful and got invited, how much would it cost?
Well, you might not pay yourself.
Generally companies buy tables.
A fashion label — Michael Kors, for example — would then host its desired celebrities, or fashion muses.
Each paid seat reportedly costs about $35,000, though some guests are invited for free.
Who gets invited to the Met Gala?
This year, there will be 400 guests.
Trying to predict? Take out your pen and jot down some A-listers, the buzzier the better.
Newly minted Oscar or Grammy winners, for example — or fashion favorites such as Timothee Chalamet, who wore white Converse shoes last year.
Do the same with pop music, sports, politics, fashion of course … and Broadway, a special favorite of Wintour’s (and remember, Miranda’s a host this year).
Now, cross everyone off your list except the very top.
At the Met Gala, everybody’s A-list.
Ask Tina Fey.
She went in 2010 and later described walking around trying to find somebody “normal,” e.g. not too famous, to sit and talk with.
That ended up being Barbara Walters.
Do we know who is and isn’t coming?
Like we said, it’s secret. But reports slip out, often about who is not coming.
Fashion favorite Zendaya has confirmed she has other plans.
And Rihanna is about to give birth, so we’d assume she’ll skip. But, then again, she’s Rihanna so let’s not assume anything.
What happens inside the Met Gala?
Entering the museum, guests walk past an impossibly enormous flower arrangement in the lobby (one contained more than 250,000 white roses) and over to cocktails, often held in the airy Petrie Court.
Or, they head to view the exhibit.
About 8pm, they’re summoned to dinner — perhaps by a team of buglers (“Are they going to do that between every course?” actor Gary Oldman asked aloud one year.)
We can’t personally describe anything beyond that, either dinner or the musical performance, but you can find clips of Rihanna singing on the table tops in the documentary The First Monday in May, and it looks fun.
Is it fun for everyone?
Occasionally, someone says no.
Fey, in a comic rant to David Letterman in 2015, described the gala as a “jerk parade” and said it included everyone you’d ever want to punch, if you had millions of arms.
Amy Schumer said she felt awkward and left “earlier than should be allowed”.
But most profess to having fun.
Then there was Joan Collins, who arrived channeling her imperious Dynasty character, Alexis, in 2018, ready to have a blast, but seeking liquid sustenance.
“I’m having a great time,” she said. “I’d be even better if I had a drink.”