Few events on the global fashion scene capture the imagination as magnificently as the Met Gala. Each year, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is transformed into a dazzling stage where fashion, art and culture merge for an exceptional evening. Before the Met Gala became the event it is today, it was a "simple" ball for New York high society. It opened its doors in 1946, when the Costume Institute, dedicated to the history of fashion, officially merged with the Met. At the time, fashion was not considered a major art form, so the Costume Institute received no public funding and had to find the means to survive elsewhere. The Costume Institute authorities came up with the idea of organising a fundraising event, to be held every year on the first Monday in May. The Met Gala was born.
The Met Gala, a leading event in the fashion world, is taking on a fascinating new twist this year with its theme "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion". Through this theme, participants are invited to explore and reawaken clothing styles that seem to have been forgotten or neglected over time, breathing new life into them with modernity and innovation. The "Sleeping Beauties" concept alludes to those trends or iconic pieces that have left their mark on fashion history but are rarely revisited in contemporary collections. "Reawakening Fashion" encourages designers to delve into the past to resurrect these dormant styles, adapting them to the present day with a touch of creativity and modern technology. This creates a bridge between the past and the present, offering a reflection on sustainability and the evolution of fashion. 


One of Anna Wintour's strategies has been to elevate the Met Gala to an extraordinarily exclusive event, making it virtually unreachable for the general public. Consequently, the guest list has become a topic of fervent speculation and rumor. Access is strictly limited to those with a formal invitation, the details of which are typically revealed only hours or even minutes before the event begins. As a fundraising gala, tickets are highly priced, with a single entry costing around $30,000 (approximately €28,000) in 2018. Most celebrities do not pay for their tickets; instead, their presence is sponsored by major fashion brands, which not only cover their entry but also style them for the event and reserve tables. It's said that the gala hosts around 600 guests annually, but the criteria for selecting these attendees remain shrouded in secrecy. Ultimately, the decisions, from the color of the carpet on the steps to the dinner seating arrangements, rest with Anna Wintour and her team. Over the years, Wintour has also set specific guidelines for the event, including a ban on smartphones during the evening.


The Met Gala red carpet is always a moment of high anticipation, with guests revealing their interpretations of the theme through spectacular outfits. For 'Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion', expect to see an impressive range of creations that pay homage to bygone eras while introducing futuristic elements. It will be an opportunity for designers to show how modern technologies and materials can transform historic silhouettes into contemporary masterpieces.


After exploring American heritage with the themes "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" in 2021 and "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" in 2022, and then paying tribute to Karl Lagerfeld in 2023, the famous charity gala is celebrating its 52nd edition by focusing on magnificence with a new theme: "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion". Andrew Bolton explains that the "Sleeping Beauties" mentioned do not refer so much to the Disney princesses, but rather to a selection of around fifty exceptional pieces from the collection that will be showcased at the event.


The Met Gala 2024 is not just a celebration of fashion; it is a reflection on how fashion can be a vehicle for cultural change and sustainable innovation. By resurrecting fashion's "sleeping beauties", the event highlights the importance of revisiting and re-evaluating our stylistic heritage for the future of the industry. It is an invitation to all designers and fashion lovers to think critically about how we can preserve and revitalise our cultural heritage through the prism of contemporary fashion.

May 16, 2024 — caroline rodriguez

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