By Melissa Singer
Kim Kardashian at the 2022 Met Gala. Rumours have swirled for months as to whether she will attend this year.Credit:Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
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The Met Gala, which takes place on Tuesday morning Australian time, is the fashion industry’s equivalent of Christmas. But will it also be “Kris-mas” for reality TV’s most famous family, the Kardashians? Here’s what we know about the first Monday in May, from the theme, to the guest list, to why the lead-up to this year has been cloaked in controversy.
Daniela Morera (left), Andy Warhol and Raquel Welch at the 1980 Met ball.Credit:Getty
So, what is the Met Gala?
It’s the nickname given to the annual charity ball for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute – but that’s too long for an Instagram post. Over time, it has become as much a fashion show as a fundraiser.
An aerial view of the dining hall at the 2022 Met Gala. Guests are officially banned from taking photos inside.Credit:Getty
When did it start?
The event, which supports the fashion department at the Met, began as a late-night supper in the 1940s. But it was in the late 1990s that it cemented its place as the biggest social event of the year.
Beyonce, at the 2015 gala, which became the focus of the documentary film The First Monday in May.Credit:Getty
When is it?
Since 2005, the gala has taken place on the first Monday in May, except in 2020, when it was cancelled due to COVID-19, and in 2021, when it took place in September.
Anna Wintour at the Met Gala through the years … (from left) 1989, 2008 and 2019.Credit:Getty
What does it have to do with Anna Wintour, and Vogue?
Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue and the fashion industry’s chief tastemaker, has headed the Met Gala organising committee since 1999. Since then, it has gone from a humdrum fundraiser to a celebrity-studded event that last year raised more than $US17 million ($25.73 million).
Nicole Kidman (left) with Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour at the 2005 gala.Credit:Getty
Where does the money come from?
Two places: tickets, and donations. According to The New York Times, tickets this year cost $US50,000, with tables costing from $US300,000.
Australian royalty … Miranda Kerr with husband Evan Spiegel at the 2022 Met Gala.Credit:Getty
Can anyone go?
Absolutely not. The event is invitation only, and Wintour vets each of the 400 guests, based on her personal ‘who’s who’ of the past year. Usually, every invited designer brings a celebrity “muse”, but even they must be Wintour-approved.
The co-chairs, who this year are (from left) Penelope Cruz, Roger Federer and Michaela Coel, encompass fashion, the arts and sport.Credit:Getty
Who are this year’s hosts?
Each year, Wintour anoints several co-chairs. This year, Penélope Cruz, Michaela Coel, Roger Federer and Dua Lipa have the honour. The hosts, like the guest list, reflect a cross-section of fashion, the arts and sport, sometimes, but not always, in line with the year’s theme.
Some of Lagerfeld’s most iconic 1990s’ supermodel moments might inspire some red carpet looks. Credit:AP
What is this year’s theme?
The Gala theme, which corresponds to that of the exhibition, is Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty. The gala and show, which opens to the public the day after the gala, honours the late designer and creative director of Chanel (as well as Fendi and his own line), who died in February 2019.
From left: Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Venus Williams and fashion editor Andre Leon Talley at the 2008 Met gala afterparty.Credit:Getty
And how are people reacting to that?
Not since the 2018 Heavenly Bodies exhibition on the role of religion in fashion has a show generated more raised eyebrows. Few deny Lagerfeld’s influence in the fashion industry over more than five decades, but his comments on issues from body image to same-sex marriage have caused many to question whether he should be celebrated. It will be interesting to see whether the show will touch on Lagerfeld’s controversies, or just stick to the clothes.
Lady Gaga’s costume change on the 2019 red carpet was one of the most memorable arrivals in recent times.Credit:AP
Who is going?
The guest list is kept pretty tight until the day, but it’s safe to assume we will see the biggest stars of the past 12 months, as well as celebrities who have had an affiliation with Chanel. Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Bad Bunny are all rumoured to be attending.
Again, it’s not confirmed, but Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie could make the list for their past links to Chanel. Musicians Troye Sivan and Keith Urban, models Miranda Kerr and Adut Akech, and actor Hugh Jackman have all attended previous galas.
What a difference a year makes … Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson in 2022.Credit:Getty
What about the Kardashians?
Despite early news reports suggesting Wintour may have barred the reality TV family from this year’s gala, on Thursday Kim Kardashian shared a photo of herself with Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette, to her Instagram account. It’s fair to assume she’s back on the list (minus her ex, Pete Davidson), but the real coup – mainly for the family matriarch and manager Kris Jenner – would be if her half-sister, Kylie Jenner, arrives with her rumoured beau, actor Timothee Chalamet.
Diamonds … Rihanna at the 2018 Met Gala, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.Credit:AP
Enough politics. What can we expect from the clothes?
There’s the obvious: lots of vintage Fendi and Chanel, which has led some to speculate that this could be the most sustainable gala in history (hurrah!). But the biggest thrills come from guests who skilfully walk the tightrope between fashion and costume. Rihanna as a cardinal, Sarah Jessica Parker in Alexander McQueen tartan and Lady Gaga making several costume changes before she had even ascended the main stairs for 2019’s “Camp” gala are just some recent highlights.
Bathroom crew … (from left) Kate Bosworth, Dakota Johnson, Stella McCartney and Maggie Gyllenhaal in 2017.Credit:Instagram
What happens inside?
Thanks to a social media ban, it’s meant to be a heavily guarded secret. We know the guests walk through the exhibition, there’s a celebrity performer (past musical acts include Rihanna and Lady Gaga), and a dinner. Still, over the years, plenty of celebrities have broken the rules by taking photos (and smoking) in the toilets.
Fans gather on the pavement near the Met museum to catch a glimpse of the celebrity guests arriving at the gala.Credit:Getty
Can the public watch?
There is some public access along Fifth Avenue where spotters can catch a glimpse of the arriving celebrities (arrivals are staggered so no one misses their big moment). For Australians, the best way to stay across the action is to tune into our live blog, from 7am on Tuesday.
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