Meaning behind the MET Gala

Photo courtesy of Instagram user metgalaofficial
Selena Gomez and The Weeknd make their red carpet debut as a couple during the 2017 Met Gala.

Kate O’Hagan, Tempo Editor

We see the pictures and we talk about the fashion, but do people really know what the MET Gala is even for?

Often referred to as the “party of the year,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a benefit to raise money for the costume institute/fashion department, the only one of the MET’s curatorial departments that has to fund itself.

The Editor-In-Chief of American “Vogue,” Anna Wintour, has been the chairwoman of the event since 1999. Since then, she has been instrumental in transforming a local philanthropic event into the ultimate global celebrity ball.

Each year, the gala honors the work of a different designer and has a new theme. 2017 honored Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons with the theme, “Art of the In Between.”

Tickets for the main event are $70,000 a person or $275,000 a table. The party itself and exhibits are sponsored, so the main source of income comes from ticket sales. According to “Fortune,” more than $12.5 million was raised in 2016 from 600 attendees.

Of course, not everyone pays for his or her seat. Brands often invite celebrities to be their guests and wear their jewelry or designs.

Although a brand may be willing to pay for a celebrity to attend, the brand still has to be approved by Wintour. The MET Gala is strictly invitation only, and there is even a waiting list to get on the invitation list, according to the New York Times.

All requirements to be qualified to even receive an invitation are more based on buzz and achievement rather than having anything to do with money, regardless of the goal of the event being to raise money.

It likely needed the starry performance to pull in the $16.5 million it received this year. According to the “New York Times,” the financially challenged museum had to postpone a $600 million wing last month, with a deficit now approaching $40 million.

While the gala is held to raise money for the museum, the main takeaway for the public lies in fashion, specifically all of the extravagant outfits the attendees wear. For weeks following the annual event, people talk about the fashion.

Celebrities like Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna came in full force glam to show off their creativity while interpreting this year’s theme.

“If you can express yourself freely and not give a s*** about what anyone else thinks, then you got it,” said Minaj.

Kate O'Hagan
Kate O’Hagan is a senior public relations/advertising major. This is her first year as tempo editor for The Flyer after being a frequent contributor last year. She has very simple dreams of writing with Shonda Rhimes, eating ice cream with Joe Biden and scaring people with Ellen DeGeneres.

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