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Everything You Need to Know About the 2024 Met Gala

Everything You Need to Know About the 2024 Met Gala featured image
Getty Images / Mike Coppola / Staff

The first Monday in May is one of the biggest nights in fashion, and let’s be honest, the MET Gala never disappoints. This year’s event celebrates the 2024 Costume Institute exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, titled “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” Everything to know, ahead.

The MET Gala 2024: What Is It?

Formally known as the Costume Institute Gala and colloquially referred to as the Costume Institute Benefit, the MET Ball and MET Gala, the MET Gala is a major fundraising event held to benefit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. While in 1948 you could buy a ticket to the event for just $50, nowadays an invite to the Gala is one of the most prestigious accolades, with editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour, hand-selecting the attendees each year.

Each year, esteemed guests are expected to dress to the theme, which coincides with the selected exhibition at the MET’s Costume Institute, which runs for several weeks after the event and is open to the public to view after the opening night. While the MET steps have become the most anticipated part of the evening, as the general public isn’t allowed to see what goes on within the doors of the museum, the guests proceed to have a luxurious seated dinner and exclusive look at the exhibition after strutting their stuff up the iconic stairs.

Who Is Hosting the MET Gala?

Alongside Vogue editor-in-chief and forever-co-chair of the gala, Anna Wintour, the celebrity hosts help promote and fundraise for the event. These stars help build the guest list, curate the menu and offer insights on decor. This year, Zendaya, Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny, and Chris Hemsworth will join Wintour as co-chairs.

This week, Zendaya talked her return to the MET Gala after a five year hiatus on Live with Kelly and Mark. “Going up the steps is very daunting, and I haven’t been back for maybe four or five years,” she said. “So this is, like, my first time back at the MET in quite a while.”

The actress has been a staple in “Best of MET Gala” roundups since her very first Gala in 2015. That year’s theme, “China: Through The Looking Glass,” saw Zendaya stun in an artful Fausto Puglisi piece.

If she’s feeling nervous, there’s no shortage of advice Jennifer Lopez could give as a 13-year attendee. The actor and singer has plenty of experience rocking our world, including just last year, when she wore an ab-baring halter gown by Ralph Lauren. Singer Bad Bunny has also been on the carpet before, making his third appearance this year. Chris Hemsworth, on the other hand, will be making his MET Gala debut.

Major sponsors of the event will also serve as honorary chairs, including Jonathan Anderson, creative director of fashion label Loewe, and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew. Despite the current legally hazy condition of TikTok in the U.S., a Gala press release explained that the “exhibition and benefit are made possible by TikTok.”

The MET Gala Theme

But, what will they wear? This year’s dress code is based on a short story by English novelist and essayist J.G. Ballard, “The Garden of Time.” The theme: “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.”

A tale steeped in the cycle of creation and destruction, the story follows a wealthy couple in their garden estate. Packed with flowers and the stuff of luxury (rare books, vases, artworks), their villa stands completely alone. That is, until they spot an encroaching mob in the distance. Discovering that cutting a flower causes time to reverse, pushing the mob back, the couple adjusts and begins cutting away their garden. When nothing more will bloom and the garden is empty, the wealthy couple prepare for their utopia to come quickly crashing down.

Undoubtedly dystopian and melancholic, the story dives into the fleeting nature of human-made peace and the encroaching reality of time. Just like the gowns in the collection can no longer fulfill their original function, too delicate to ever be worn again, the “Garden of Time” hones in on the feeling of trying to capture a moment in time. Entropy means you can never succeed, but still we preserve what we can, in the ways that we can.

The Dress Code

The dress code is steeped in both botanical, natural elements and the dark and dour. So, we’re expecting to see some truly romantic looks on the MET Gala red carpet. The wide-ranging theme could easily be interpreted through the gorgeous, effervescent and delicate. But it could be just as easily embodied through moodier themes of death and change.

The Exhibition

While the name may lead us to think all things princesses and fairytales, the theme actually refers to honoring garments in the Institute’s collection that are so precious and fragile they must be encased in glass, almost like a coffin. The Costume Institute’s chief curator, Andrew Bolton explained to Vogue that this collection includes some incredibly fragile pieces. “These are the ‘Sleeping Beauties’ of the title,” Bolton says.

And in order to display them, the exhibition will instead use a combination of video animation, light projection, soundscaping, AI, CGI, and other sensorial experiences to the pieces. Designs from Schiaparelli, Givenchy, and Dior will be featured alongside acquisitions from antiquity. The collection will be structured around the 15 most delicate pieces, including an Elizabethan bodice and a Charles Frederick Worth ball gown from 1877.

Where to Watch the MET Gala:

The Costume Institute Benefit will take place on Monday, May 6, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The red carpet ahead of the event will start at 6 p.m. ET and will be streamed on Vogue‘s website and social media channels, as well as broadcasted on E!

If you’re in the New York area, the Costume Institute’s “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” exhibit will be open from May 10 through September 2, 2024.

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