It started in 1948 as a society midnight supper, and it wasn’t even at the Met.
Fast forward 70-plus years, and the Met Gala is something totally different, one of the most photographed events in the world for its head-spinning red carpet .
Not to forget, the Met Gala is still a fundraiser — last year the evening earned more than a whopping $16.4 million for the Met’s Costume Institute. Let’s also not forget that it launches the annual spring fashion exhibit that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the museum.
But it’s the Met Gala carpet itself (now watchable for everyone, on livestream) that draws the world’s eyes, with the guest list strategically withheld until the last minute — a collection of stars from movies, music, fashion, sports, politics and elsewhere that probably makes for the highest celebrity wattage-per square foot of any party in the world.
Herewith, a primer for the 2022 Met gala, which is on May 2:
Yes, we just did this in the fall. The annual fundraiser for the Met’s Costume Institute is traditionally held the first Monday in May, but because of the pandemic, a postponed gala was held in September.
WHO’S HOSTING THE 2022 MET GALA?
This year’s hosts are Regina King, power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
IS THERE A THEME FOR THE MET GALA?
The theme for this year is “Gilded glamour, white-tie,” guests have been told.
As usual, the sartorial theme comes from the exhibit the gala launches: “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” which is the second of star curator Andrew Bolton’s two-part show exploring the roots of American style.
This one will showcase some lesser-known designers, and also some top film directors, including Sofia Coppola, Martin Scorsese, host King, and last year’s Oscar winner Chloé Zhao.
DOES EVERYONE FOLLOW THE MET GALA THEME?
Not really. Some eschew it and just go for big and crazy. But expect some guests to have carefully researched the theme and to come in perfect sync with the exhibit.
WHO GETS INVITED TO THE MET GALA?
This year, there will be 400 guests — similar to the September gala, and lower than pre-pandemic highs of 500-600. Trying to predict? Take out your pen and jot down some A-listers, the buzzier the better.
At the Met Gala, everybody’s A-list.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED IN THE MET GALA?
Well, these days you can watch the whole carpet unfold on livestream. And really, the carpet is the party.
If you're in New York City you can also join fans across the street from the museum on Fifth Avenue, and even further away on Madison Avenue, pressed up against police barricades.
DO WE KNOW WHO'S COMING? AND WHO ISN'T?
Like we said, it’s secret. But reports slip out, often about who is not coming. Fashion favorite Zendaya has confirmed she has other plans. And Rihanna is about to give birth, so we’d assume she’ll skip, but then again, she’s Rihanna so let’s not assume anything.
WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE THE MET GALA?
Entering the museum, guests walk past an impossibly enormous flower arrangement in the lobby (one was over 250,000 white roses) and over to cocktails, often held in the airy Petrie Court. Or, they head to view the exhibit.
Around 8 p.m., they’re summoned to dinner — perhaps by a team of buglers.