A New Met Era Is On The Horizon
By Hiba Ali
The Met Gala is tonight! If you know much about the event, it is breaking from tradition in more than one way. Since last year’s gala was cancelled, it is one of the most anticipated nights of the year. This year’s event will be a two part exhibition seen over the course of 2021 and 2022. The first will open on September 18th and the second on May 5 2022. Part one is entitled ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ and will open in the Anna Wintour Costume Center and the second entitled “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” will be displayed in the period rooms of the American Wing. They will transformed to exhibit different themes such as joy, warmth or nostalgia. Andrew Bolton, curator in charge of the Costume Institute said that it was a way to appreciate American fashion and show the Costume Institute’s gratitude as the American fashion community has supported them from the beginning. The second exhibition’s theme is inspired by what is means to be American.The dress code for this years Met Gala will be inspired by American Independence.
Formally known as the Costume Institute Gala an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met Gala was established in 1948 by publicist Eleanor Lambert as a way to raise money for the newly-founded Costume Institute. The first gala was simply a dinner and tickets sold for 50 dollars each. Since then it has become the social event of the year. It was in 1972 after Diana Vreeland, Editor in Chief of Vogue become a consultant to the Costume Institute. Under her, the event became an annual homage to fashion and the glamorous occasion we know today.
Marking the Costume Institutes 75th anniversary, the Met Gala’s theme is celebrating the best of American Fashion. Hosted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it is a soiree that invites the most celebrated people across fashion, music, film including Hollywood stars, models and designers. Since 2015 the Met gala allowed for no social media to be used or cellphones and instead had a list of approved photographers who attended the event. Though this rule has often been overlooked by attendees. This year’s event is rumored to have a guest list which includes Tik Tok stars. In 2019, with some, controversy, online personalities such as James Charles, Liza Khosy, Camilla Coelho and Lily Singh were invited. While online personalities are not typically invited, many feel that it is a step in the right direction.
While influencers and Tik Tokers may not hold the same level of cultural relevance as Hollywood stars or designers, they do hold something equally important; a younger audience that is more digitally inclined. It is expected that Youtubers, Tik Tokers and personalities alike will make an appearance. The focus on young talent is already highlighted with Timothee Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanada Gorman and Naomi Osaka all co-chairs of the event. While Addison Rae and sisters Charli and Dixie D’Amelio are rumored to be attending with Olivia Rodrigo and Emma Chamberlain it is still difficult to discern the details of the Met Gala. Though Charli does not meet the age requirement and most think will not be attending.
The digital world is becoming harder to ignore, even for the Met Gala. While brands and magazines have evolved to embrace the digital age, the Met Gala, is a historic event seeped in tradition with a rigorous selection criteria of who makes the guest list. A generational change is on its way and the Met Gala is trying to catch up. Social media is an omnipresence in most events and the Met Gala is no different. Social Media outlets, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram all have tables at the Met Gala and their guests will likely be representing them. Social Media platforms enable fashion to be digitalized and allow for global access and mass opinion, something that was never possible before. Social Media stars represent a younger audience with fresh ideas, the fashion world always needs. Additionally designers and brand partnerships are an integral part on and off social media and events like the Met Gala are the perfect opportunity for brands to dress their affiliates.
While many criticize fashion especially high fashion for becoming too commercial, the reality is that the digital age allows brands and designers greater access to a diverse customer base and audience in a rapidly changing world. Marketing and editorials are greatly impacted and influenced by what’s trending on social media. Luxury brands will always be the epitome of design and quality regardless of how they are communicated to the audience. Social media has allowed fashion to be its own source of entertainment and as an industry it is shifting. Andrew Bolton’s reflection on this years theme described this phenomenon perfectly. He said “I think that the emphasis on conscious creativity was really consolidated during the pandemic and the social justice movements and I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ responses to the social and political climate, particularly around issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity, and I’m just finding their work very, very self-reflective. I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a Renaissance. I think young designers, in particular, are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”