Designers, fashion icons and Hollywood’s biggest stars are set to gather Monday at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, celebrating the museum’s annual Met Gala.
The ball, which is the main source of funding for the museum’s Costume Institute—a department in the Met that hosts some 33,000 objects representing seven centuries of fashion—is often an exhibition of opulence and status. A ticket to the Met Gala, which is invite only, is hard to come by. A single ticket costs some $50,000 though designers may opt to buy an entire table for at least $300,000.
Typically hosted on the first Monday of May, this year’s controversial theme will center around the late Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019. Lagerfeld, whose decades-long career included stints as the creative designer for Chanel that undoubtedly influenced the world of fashion, was also known for problematic quips that were fatphobic, racist, and misogynistic.
Here’s what to know about the event.
Who decides the theme?
Some 400 guests are expected to attend the 2023 Met Gala, dressing to honor the theme decided by the Costume Institute’s chief curator, Andrew Bolton. (The theme is then presented to the museum’s director and president, before it’s ultimately approved.)
“Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” is this year’s official theme, which has not come without pushback from the fashion industry. Bolton, however, has previously expressed his appreciation for themes that cause buzz, saying in a 2020 interview with Vogue that every “exhibition should generate debate.”
About 150 original looks will be on exhibition at the Met, next to Lagerfeld’s sketches and a number of video interviews with Lagerfeld. “At its heart the exhibition will look at the evolution of Karl’s two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional garments,” Bolton told Vogue. “Karl never tired of telling me that fashion did not belong in a museum…He would say, ‘Fashion is not art—fashion belongs on the street, on women’s bodies, on men’s bodies.’”
Previous themes included “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” in 2018, which gave us looks including Rihanna’s pope-inspired garb and Gigi Hadid’s stained-glass inspired dress, as well as 2016’s “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.”
Who are the co-chairs?
This year’s co-chairs include Emmy-award winning British screenwriter and actress Michaela Coel, Penélope Cruz, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer and Dua Lipa. They will join Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who has almost consistently organized the event since 1995.
Their role consists of helping create the guest list, a menu for the evening and assisting interior designers with the decor, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Who is expected to attend?
The official guest list for the Met Gala is never revealed ahead of time, though some celebrities may often disclose their invitation beforehand.
Actor Elle Fanning confirmed her attendance to the event to Variety, saying she has a look that is “special to [her]” and “on theme.” Singer Rita Ora told fans via Instagram that she is attending fittings for the event, while Blake Lively recently revealed she will not be attending the ball this year.
Where can you watch the Met Gala?
The Met Gala, notably one of the most exclusive events, will be live streamed across Vogue’s social media pages and website.
Viewers can also watch the red carpet on E!, beginning at 6 p.m. ET. NBC will also be livestreaming the carpet via their website and app.
Outside of a cocktail reception and a sit-down dinner with entertainment, details about what actually happens once stars enter the museum are tight-lipped. There is a no phone and no social media policy, though stars often share a selfie or two from the event at some point during the night.