War is raging, oceans are burning, and the breaking news you’ve been waiting for is finally here: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Benefit (better known as The Met Gala) will return to its traditional spot on the first Monday of May, and this year’s chairpeople and theme have been announced! If you’re unfamiliar with the Met Gala, it’s an annual event that raises funding for the museum’s Costume Institute by encouraging the rich and famous to wear outrageous, themed costumes in a world-class menagerie of peacocking. We’re talking single-use fashion but make at six figures.
This year’s theme is “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” which follows last year’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” as a two-part series that focuses on the storied history of American fashion. That’s despite the fact that the United States has been around for less than 250 years, and spent much of that time importing fashion from France and England.
But perhaps the Met Gala felt the need to simplify things a little bit after the gala’s 2019 theme “What is Camp?” was met with a resounding sense that no one was really sure what it meant. But even the “In America” theme leaves plenty of room for controversy. Who can forget Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s dress from last year, emblazoned with “TAX THE RICH” and dripping with irony? According to reporting by the New York Times, designers and corporate sponsors generally cover the event’s $35,000 a ticket (or $200,000 to $300,000 for a table) for the gala’s guests, while NYC elected officials are special guests of the museum and do not pay to attend.
“In America: An Anthology of Fashion traces the emergence of a distinct American style, revealing underlying stories that often go unrecognized,” said Max Hollein, the Met’s director, in a statement. “As a whole, this ambitious two-part exhibition ignites timely conversations about the tremendous cultural contributions of designers working in the United States and the very definition of an American aesthetic.”
The evening’s official co-chairs are Hollywood stars Regina King, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. They will host an evening that features the second installment of the exhibition series, displaying approximately 100 fashion items dating from the 19th to the mid-to-late 20th-century. The garments will be presented throughout the Met’s American Wing period rooms, placing them in the context of more than a century of American domestic life, in an attempt to frame an “identifiable American style.” I’m imagining blue jeans.
The exhibition will also be punctuated by eight fictional cinematic vignettes, or “freeze frames,” within each room, created by filmmakers Janicza Bravo, Sofia Coppola, Julie Dash, Tom Ford, Martin Scorsese, Autumn de Wilde, Chloé Zhao, and King. Drawing a connection between fashion and Hollywood certainly underscores the incredible impact of movie-making on fashion as a cultural beacon.
Those with a hankering for fashion and celebrity will surely be tuning in to see all the hottest “lewks” being served up by the glitterati. Our eyes will especially be peeled for statement pieces in which famous people try to make the current state of world crisis somehow all about them. It will be a season to remember! You know, until the next one!
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