Fashion’s biggest night! While stars have been turning heads on the Met Gala red carpet in this day and age, the annual event started off with humble beginnings.
The annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City began in 1948. Publicist Eleanor Lambert came up with the idea to raise money for the newly opened Costume Institute exhibit. The gala included a midnight dinner at a special NYC location. At the time, tickets sold for $50 per head. The event continued over the following years and has had several venues around the Big Apple, including the Waldorf-Astoria, Central Park and the Rainbow Room.
However, in 1972 former Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland became a consultant for the Costume Institute and decided to mix things up. The fashion columnist transformed the soirée into a glamorous occasion by incorporating themes that matched the exhibit’s newest display. Cher, Elton John, Diana Ross and other A-listers started attending the annual gala cementing it as one of the most prominent and exclusive social events in the world.
In her second year of consulting, the concept of celebrity and socialite cochairs came into existence. Most famously, Jacqueline Kennedy — who attended the event annually — served as a cochair in 1976 and 1977.
In 1995, Vogue’s current editor-in-chief, Anna Wintourcame on board as the chairperson for the exhibit. In the role, she oversaw the staging and guest list for the star-studded affair — which occurs on the first Monday in May. Since 1997, Wintour has served as cochair for every Met Gala that has taken place except in 2021 when the fashion icon stepped back and took on the role of one of the honorary cochairs for the first time.
Today, the Met Gala is the biggest fundraising night for the historic museum. A ticket to the glitzy event now reportedly costs guests $50,000 for a solo entrance, while a table is worth $300,000.
As money is raised for a good cause, celebrities team up with some of the world’s best designers to push the limits of fashion. They’re tasked with creating an unforgettable look that corresponds to the annual theme. Beyoncé, Blake Lively, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and more have turned heads on the iconic red carpet with their one-of-a-kind ensembles.
While the world looks forward to the first Monday in May every year, there have been three occasions when the event was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. In 2000 the gala did not take place after the museum’s chief curator, Richard Martin, died n November 1999. Two years later, the gala was not held due to the aftermath of 9/11. Most recently, the Met Gala was postponed for a year in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Keep scrolling to see how the Met Gala has evolved over the years: