The Met Gala, the major annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, was supposed to take place on Monday, May 4. Canceled due to the pandemic, the event known as “fashion’s biggest night out” has been postponed to October 29. But that did not deter all the people who celebrated online yesterday with their own homebound outfits. 

For the first time, the Met’s social media accounts and Vogue‘s gala roundups spotlighted everyday people (including small children and also pets) dressing up and imitating celebrity getups from the past. The results, which you can peruse at #metgalachallenge on Instagram, are impressive — revealing that you don’t really need to spend thousands of dollars to make an eye-catching, designer-esque dress (with some crafting gowns out of newspaper, and crowns from crackers and Q-tips).

Twitter also had its own celebration, “High Fashion Twitter Met Gala.” The initiative had begun well before the gala was canceled. Back in November, Aria Olson, a prescient 19-year-old student at the University of Michigan, spearheaded the idea of an online Met Gala, garnering the participation of over 800 people. Yesterday, they all posted their own outfits that they’d been brainstorming and designing for months, responding to this year’s gala theme, “About Time: Fashion and Duration.” Also on-theme, there was a fundraising component — participants were encouraged to donate money to the International Medical Corps.

The October gala will maintain the same theme, so it’s no surprise that the celebrity attendees are keeping their own outfits a secret — with the exception of Katy Perry, who posted a picture of a corset that she would’ve worn over her pregnant belly (apparently an homage to Madonna in Gaultier).

What began as a benefit in 1948 as a midnight dinner, which guests could attend for 50 dollars, has since become an extravaganza of $35,000 a ticket (tables range from $200,000 to $300,000). These changes largely took place when Anna Wintour — artistic director of Condé Nast, editor-in-chief of Vogue, and a Met Trustee — started presiding over the gala in 1995. Attendance is invite-only, and have been recently capped at around 550 people. In 2019, the gala raised a record $15 million.

In late April, the Metropolitan Museum of Art estimated a total of $150 million in losses due to the pandemic. A benefit in the fall will undoubtedly be helpful, though all money is reserved for the Costume Institute.

In the meantime, we can find enjoyment and hope in the creative spirit of all the people who continued to party on in the gala of their own making.

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Elisa Wouk Almino

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

One reply on “Internet Stages Its Own Met Gala, Recreating Iconic Outfits at Home”

  1. “Iconic.” Sure. You can’t even employ a fresh metaphor. But then, given the aesthetic fail, why bother?

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