From the fantastical theme to the celeb hosts.
Following the success of the 2018 Met Gala exhibition’ Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is already dusting off the red carpet ahead of its next show.
And, from the sounds of it, it’s going to be even more diamond-encrusted, celebrity-filled, and serving more hair spins and gasping for air moments than a RuPaul Drag Race season finale.
But can the theme really be able to top Rihanna’s 2015 pizza-like yellow fur-trimmed gown designed by Guo Pei? Or Ariana Grande’s 2018 Vera Wang dress depicting scenes from Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgment’?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Met Gala 2019:
What is the Met Gala?
Also known as the Costume Institute Gala, the Met Gala is a massive fundraising event that celebrates the opening of a new fashion exhibition each year at the Metropolitan Museum.
Founded by publicist Eleanor Lambert, the annual benefit was first held in 1948 to encourage donations from New York’s high society. Nowadays, it’s the hottest ticket in town with everyone from Blake Lively to Lady Gaga clamouring to be invited.
Each year a different dress code is chosen as the theme of the evening to tie in with the exhibition opening. Previous themes have included ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture’ and ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’.
When is the Met Gala 2019?
As per the name of the now-legendary documentary ,’First Monday In May’, the Met Gala is, you guessed it, on the first Monday in May each year. For 2019, that means we’ll be falling into an Instagram hole of outrageous red carpet outfits on Monday 6th May.
What time is it?
If you’re stateside in New York then you can view the proceedings from 7pm. If, like us, you’re in the UK, then it’ll be late night internet trawling from midnight onwards.
Can you watch the Met Gala on TV?
Alas, the Met Gala isn’t televised with celebrities heading down the red carpet before doing a pre-opening tour of the exhibition and sitting down to a star-studded dinner. However, Instagram stalking is totally possible.
The clue is in the name, with the ‘Met’ part of the ‘Met Gala’ referring to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Each year the museum presents a new fashion exhibition with the Gala marking the opening.
What is the Met Gala 2019 theme?
Following on from this year’s Met Gala exhibition ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has finally announced its new focus of inspiration for the Costume Institute for 2019: ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’. So you can expect lots of exaggerated shapes and OTT styling.
The New York Times reports the theme in inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay ‘Notes on ‘Camp’, which is widely believed to have brought the idea of ‘camp’ to the mainstream. ‘The essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration,’ Sontag once explained in Partisan Review.
Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge of the Costume Institute, revealed he has been mulling over the theme for several years, telling New York Times:
‘We are going through an extreme camp moment, and it felt very relevant to the cultural conversation to look at what is often dismissed as empty frivolity but can be actually a very sophisticated and powerful political tool, especially for marginalised cultures.
‘Whether it’s pop camp, queer camp, high camp or political camp — Trump is a very camp figure — I think it’s very timely.
Bolton explained that a lot of high camp is ‘a reaction to something’ and its prominence increasingly touches everything in society, from fashion and politics, to music and art.
‘Sontag in her essay said not everything is camp, but since I have been working on the show, I have started to think it is everywhere, and that all fashion is on some level camp,’ Bolton said. ‘It has gained such currency it has become invisible, and part of my goal is to make it visible again.’
Alessandro Michelle, creative director of Gucci, told the New York Times: ‘Camp really means the unique ability of combining high art and pop culture; it is not kitsch.
‘The Met exhibition will give contemporary significance to Sontag’s perspective.’
Which designers will be featured in the Met Gala exhibition?
With a more lighthearted theme than previous years, the ‘Camp’ 2019 Met Gala exhibition is set to be a whole lot of fun.
Speaking at a press conference in Milan, Anna Wintour and curator Andrew Bolton revealed some of the designer pieces being featured, and yes, those Viktor & Rolf couture meme dresses have made the cut.
In addition, designs by king of camp Jeremy Scott will be on display, alongside Virgil Abloh’s ‘Little Black Dress’, a Schiaparelli flamingo hat, and Bjork’s famous Oscars dress.
How much is a ticket to the Met Gala?
In short – not cheap. Last year’s tickets were sold for a whopping $30,000 (approx £23,000) each with entire tables going for £275,000 (approx £213,000). However, it’s all for a good cause with the money raised being donated to the Costume Institute. As the only department of the Met Museum that has to fund itself, the donations are sorely needed.
In 2018, just over $12 million was raised – a healthy chunk for the fashion department.
Who will design the exhibition?
The exhibition will be designed by the scenographer Jan Versweyveld, who famously created David Bowie’s 2015 music single for his hit single ‘Lazarus’. The show will take pride of place in the Iris and Gerald B. Cantor galleries, where the ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ and ‘Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between’ have been held in previous years.
The NYT reports the exhibition will feature 175 pieces , including men’s and women’s wear, sculpture, paintings and drawings, divided into two sections.
The first will deal with the origins of camp, which Bolton explores through Versailles, with its inclusion in the dictionary of Victorian slang in 1909, and the Stonewall riots and ‘the use of camp as a language in the queer community’, he explained.
The second half of the exhibition will focus on camp as expressed in the work of contemporary designers from the likes of Charles Frederick Worth, Balenciaga, Miuccia Prada and Demna Gvasalia.