Mesmerized by the Met Gala

by Paula Gail Benson

Until I watched Ocean’s 8, a female heist film featuring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchette, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter, in 2018, I wasn’t very familiar with the Met Gala. Now, after having seen that movie numerous times, I’ve become intrigued by the event and wanted to know more about it.

Wikipedia tells us it was initially organized in 1948 by Eleanor Lambert as the Costume Institute Benefit, a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute’s annual exhibit. Tickets for the first event were $50 each. According to, a ticket this year cost $75,000 (up 50% from last year’s price of $50,000), with a table for ten started at $350,000.

Except for 1996, since 1995 Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor in chief, has organized the event. Held on the first Monday in May, it showcases influencing figures from drama, sports, fashion, and other cultural pursuits, who are asked to dress conforming to a theme.

This year’s theme was “The Garden of Time,” based on a short story of that title by J.G. Ballard. In the story, two aristocrats wait in their villa as an angry mob approaches. The protagonist keeps the rebels away by picking a flower that turns back time briefly. In the end, all the flowers are gone and the villa is overtaken.

Interpretations of the theme featured many variations on floral arrangements, time, and aristocratic uniforms. Harpers Bazaar characterized the exhibit that invitees had the opportunity to view, entitled “Sleeping Beauty: Reawakening Fashion,” as spotlighting 250 historically significant designs that are “too fragile to ever be worn again.”

On the red carpet, those attending wore both regal and elegant garments (like Anna Wintour’s black embellished with colorful flowers) and structurally intricate (like Mindy Kaling’s beige, textured “Melting Flower of Time,” by Indian designer Gaurav Gupta; Demi Moore’s black column made of wallpaper and accessorized by a stunning Cartier necklace; and Tyla’s form fitting sand outfit that required she be carried up the steps and cut out).

To respect photo copyrights, please let me refer you to Vogue’s coverage of the event. Once you start looking at the designs, I think you’ll be a fan, too.

5 replies
  1. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Amazing. Thanks for respect Vogue’s copyrights. “Too fragile to be worn again.” ??? While these gowns are gorgeous and take an amazing amount of design and creativty, I submit I’m too clumsy to wear once much less again 😉 I will rent Oceans 8 to see what I’ve missed. Thanks, Paula.

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