6 Met Gala Facts I Learned From The The First Monday In May

Today is the the first Monday in May, which means it is Met Gala Monday for fashion industry insiders and fans alike. AKA That Same Fancy Party Solange Beat Up Jay Z In An Elevator.

The hottest celebs, top models, and revered fashion designers will climb the famed Met Museum steps and be treated to an over-the-top party in conjunction with the opening of this year’s annual Costume Institute exhibit Comme des Garçons, the label led by Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo. By using her as the focal point, this marks the first time a living designer is the sole subject of the exhibit since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983. Rei is more than qualified for the job, as she is regarded to be one of the most influential and innovative designers in recent years. Her distinctive style is… distinctive, and I can’t wait to see how the stars interpret this theme at the gala.

Now please picture Kim Kardashian in something akin to this.

Of course, we plebeians only think about the Met Gala once a year, but for those who work behind the scenes to make it a success having been planning for months. And if you want to peek behind the Met curtain (and don’t have $55K to attend the actual gala), you should probably watch the documentary The First Monday in May, which gives viewers an inside look at the 2015 Met Gala – AKA That Same Fancy Party Solange Beat Up Jay Z In An Elevator. Pre-showdown, of course. Planning of the gala has always been kept on the downlow, which is why this doc is the first of its kind.

“It’s very secretive,” Vogue contributing editor Plum Sykes, says of the gala. “(Anna) doesn’t want anyone to know what she’s planning or what she’s up to until the minute they walk down that red carpet and through the door.”

That being said, it v was enlightening to see what is usually unseen, so I’m here to share some of the things I learned after watching the doc. So much shit goes down, you guys. Not just in an elevator.

Anna Wintour is Anna Wintour

Anna, the American Vogue Editor-in-Chief, has been in charge of the Met Gala for more than 20 years, so she knows what she’s doing. But she also has a reputation of wanting things a certain way and isn’t afraid to tell people the harsh truth. I mean, she is the inspiration behind The Devil Wears Prada. And in the film, I’d say I didn’t really learn anything new about her personality per se. What you see is what you get. There’s a scene where she defends her persona by saying she’s “very decisive”, and I think that’s all you really need to know about her. For the gala in particular, she’s involved with every single decision – and since there’s so many (napkin design, tablecloth choices, floral arrangements etc.) anyone would have to be Type A and super decisive to maintain some sort of productive workflow.

Rihanna Is Expensive

Every year there’s a special performer at the Met Gala and for 2015, organizers had their eyes on Rihanna. But surprise surprise, she’s v expensive. They didn’t say how much she was asking for, but there’s an entire segment where event planners are worrying over her requested payout (and an “entourage budget”?). The negotiations play out behind the camera, and the movie ends with her performance of Bitch Better Have My Money with stars bobbing their heads in the audience. Not to mention, she made a triumphant entrance on the red carpet with this stunning canary yellow gown by Chinese designer Guo Pei. I remember literally gasping outloud (and maybe tearing up?) when I saw this in real time, and still dream about it. The piece is from Guo Pei’s 2010 collection and took 20 months to construct, weighs 55 pounds, which is about how heavy my hopes and dreams are.

Seating is a Nightmare

Just imagine a wedding but 10 times bigger and with angrier publicists. As previously mentioned, Anna is involved with every part of the party planning process, so when she gets in there to look over seating chart, she dives right in and rearranges the sticky notes in the order she deems correct. Anna places herself in between Bradley Cooper and George Clooney, whose wife Amal was several seats away (organizers have a penchant for not seating dates or friends next to each other in order to encourage conversation with other people). Anna even noted that an undisclosed guest “better not be on his phone the whole time” – IS IT KANYE. Also, reminder they instituted that no selfies rule at the gala, so that was a fun thing Vogue staffers had to be on the lookout for. And even though everyone in that room is a VIP, there’s even more VIP seats/tables for super VIPs. And then some people end up in a not so great table. See: Chloe Sevigny and Solange at a small table towards the back.

Curator Turned Diplomat

Besides Anna, the other main subject of the doc is Andrew Bolton, the Met’s Costume Institute Curator. China: Through the Looking Glass was much bigger than any other exhibit they had done before, so that was already a huge challenge. But the real challenge was creating an exhibit that was paying homage to a culture, and steering away from any sort of offensive matter or cultural appropriation. Andrew enlisted the help of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai as the show’s artistic director, and the two of them, along with various Chinese advisors, had a number of meetings to make sure the exhibit was held in the highest regard. Andrew’s job of curator bordered on American/British (he’s British) diplomat, and it was fascinating to see. Of course with the corresponding theme of the gala, attendees had to also toe that line – so basically an alternate theme of the night was Don’t Be Racist.

There is an Exhibit

I’m being facetious here, but friendly reminder that the reason for the gala is the exhibit. As previously mentioned, Andrew Bolton and his team spend months curating and collecting pieces, and it always turns out to be a success. The China exhibit, which more than 800,000 people saw in 2015, was enjoyed by all the celebrities who walked into the Met doors, and in the doc, we get to see them in awe of the exhibit, just like we would be. Kate Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sarah Jessica Parker, Andy Cohen, Anne Hathaway and even Justin Bieber (saluting next to a dude in a chinese soldier’s uniform) are just some of the celebs we get to see all glammed up and enjoying pieces of China in New York.

Andre Leon Talley Never Stands

OK, he obviously stands but in all his scenes in the movie, he is sitting down. I find it particularly entertaining that when he’s interviewing celebs on the red carpet for the Vogue livestream, he’s still sitting down. You do you, bb.

The First Monday in May is currently streaming on Netflix

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Your Baby Hates Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week is in full swing, and this year’s hottest accessory is a human baby. Anna Wintour hates it:
Even Queen Beyonce looks a little shady.  But nobody’s crying about it more than the babies. You know, because they are babies.

Now, you might be thinking “but Molly, what do you know about what babies hate?” Here are my qualifications:

  • I know some babies.
  • And some of my best friends are babies, so it’s not like this is an anti-baby piece.
  • Also I used to be a baby.

Whether your baby is North West or Blue Ivy, Harper Beckham or Suri Cruise, your baby hates fashion week. Fashion week goes counter to everything that baby culture stands for. To wit:

  • Babies love naps. There are no naps at fashion week.

Fashion week is all go-go-go, fueled by coffee, cigarettes, and cocaine, which parenting manuals call the “Three Cs” as a mnemonic so you remember not to give them to babies. Babies, however, are sleepy. And sleepy babies are cranky babies, and cranky babies get side-eye from Anna Wintour.

  • Babies also hate naps. So if you want your baby to sleep like a fat drool-y angel through the show, your baby will choose that time to be awake and angry.

It’s not Thanksgiving at your Aunt Pat’s. You can’t arrange the events of the day around your baby’s nap schedule. So if you think you’re going to have a gently dozing baby in the front row of the Armani collection, you’re wrong.

  • Babies like when adults make ridiculous faces. Catwalk models make no such faces.

Your baby isn’t going to giggle and clap with delight as the models pass by, because babies are interested in faces that move and show expression. If anything, your baby might be scared. I mean I’m 28 and I’m scared of them, a little.

  • Fashion Week is an entire week devoted to clothes – which babies hate.

You know what babies love? Kicking back on the changing table waving their arms and legs during no-diaper time. An event celebrating clothing is an affront to baby culture. Do you think North West likes wearing a bullet-proof vest at her dad’s Emperor’s New Spanx fashion show? She wants to wear Garanimals and pull off her socks to eat.

  • Your baby wants some apple juice and goldfish NOW.

A baby’s blood sugar is a delicate flower, but not like a lily of the valley, more like that plant in Little Shop Of Horrors that craves human flesh. Hell hath no fury like a toddler who knows her mommy has a baggie of Teddy Grahams in her purse. I remember when I was a little kid and I was so jealous of – and a little disgusted by – those kids at church whose parents brought juice boxes and bags of loose cereal to mass. Catholic mass. Which is only about 45 minutes long, maybe an hour if they sing a lot of those response bits instead of reading them. But you can’t bring food to fashion week, leading to our next item…

  • Babies are a mess.

Not YOUR baby. I’m sure your baby looks awesome. But if you know enough babies, you know what I mean. They have sticky faces and pureed sweet potatoes in their neck folds. Their hands have a layer of grime. They literally sit in their own excrement until you clean them. They spew puke (you can call it spit-up, but your baby is PUKING). There are a lot of great places to bring babies – like, say, to visit me so I can tickle their adorable chubby cheeks and make faces at them – but a room full of the finest and most expensive fabrics in the world is not one of them.

  • Nobody likes your baby as much as you like your baby.

And I say this as someone who is totally friends with a lot of babies. Try bringing your baby on a plane and you’ll see what I mean. Your cranky, snack-crazed, sticky little darling is the light of your life. But she sure as heck isn’t the light of Anna Wintour’s life.

It’s not just babies. Kids at Fashion Week have also stirred up some trouble, and kids are really just older babies so it makes sense. Before she was the Princess Of The Internet and a Broadway starlet, our much-loved Tavi Gevinson was a child fashion blogger annoying New York fashionistas with her giant bow hat.

I can’t wait to see what the next big fashion week accessory is. Maybe it will be a living dog, or a very old person, or ant farms. But based on the babies’ – and Anna Wintour’s – reaction, I think within a few years, babies at fashion shows will be “so 2015.”

Signature Hairstyles: The Mark Of A Bad Bitch

There was a time when I thought I was doing everything right to be a competent, professional lady. College? A breeze. Law school? Magna Cum Laude, like a boss (well, okay, I missed summa. But I said boss, not CEO.) Real job? Take that, tough economic times. I even have a shelter dog.

But something was missing. I was tripping on my way up the corporate ladder. I aimed my slingshot at the glass ceiling, only to find it loaded with Nerf pellets. What gives?

Well, there was one power move I seriously overlooked: the signature hairstyle. Throughout history, every lady who has done anything important has had a signature ‘do. It kills me that I’ve wasted 2 years of my career with my hair any-which-length. Learn from my mistakes, and take a cue from these distinctively-coiffed ladies:

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour, when Princess Diana was alive.

Anna Wintour, hair unchanged 16 years after Princess Diana’s death even though we all swore we’d never be the same again after that.

Anna Wintour’s bob is as precise and razor-sharp as the steel wire that encases the empty place in her chest where her heart used to be (Because hearts are for fat people. Why do you think those heart-shaped boxes are filled with chocolate candy? To make you fatter. What can happen when you get fat, whether externally or with inner fatness? Your heart ATTACKS you. All ties together).

Cher

1966 – just before shit started to get real weird out there.

Well, this is depressing.

Cher’s crazy rich. She’s absurdly famous. And she’s had the same hairdo since the mid-60s. I think she owes her success, in part, to the signature ‘do. Do you think she’d have the same panache with a nice shoulder-length cut with some bangs? You know all that hair can’t be real. At this point she should just start a hair extension company, name it Gypsies, Tramps and Weaves, and be done with it.

Little Edie Beale

I know the theme of the list is successful ladies who have signature ‘dos, and I’d say that Edie fits the bill. If slowly decaying inside of a decrepit mansion surrounded by lots of cats doesn’t sound like your idea of “making it,” just remember that Edie was such a staunch character that she carried a documentary and inspired a telefilm and a musical. Plus, she looked oddly beautiful doing it. So you know what? I think this WOULD be the best costume for the day.

Susan B. Anthony

The B stands for “Badass.” Or possibly “Bun,” because she wore one every day – ending with when she died and starting, I picture, with birth. Suze here reminds us that when you’re really committed to a cause, maybe the best thing is to pick a hairstyle and then never waste your energy thinking about it again. Also that if you work really hard for something, and commit 40 or so years to it, then maybe a few decades after you die it’ll happen!

(Screw that; I’m not even patient enough to ever let my microwave timer run all the way down.)

Diana RossTo paraphrase Mean Girls, we all know why Diana Ross’s hair is so big – it’s full of secrets. As in, the secrets to success. If you look at old pictures of Ms. Ross, it almost seems like every year her hair gets bigger and bigger. It’s like it absorbs the love of her supporters and the scorn of her detractors, so that none of it gets to Diana.

Mary, Mother Of God

Look. I’m not trying to get into one of those “mommy wars” where we debate whether raising children is a job. I don’t need to. When, for 33 years, your full-time business was raising God – changing God’s diapers, sitting through God’s Little League banquets, silently judging God’s date to the Freshman Formal – I’m calling it: it’s a job. Mary is also the only person on our list whose ‘do is actually iconic. Like, in the literal sense: she appears on a bunch of religious icons. While not a “hair” do in the traditional sense, always styling your hair underneath the same long veil is a hair statement, and the gal never wavered.

Barbara Walters

Babs, 1975

Babs, present day.

Think of a classic wardrobe staple – let’s say, a blue blazer. In any time in recent history, you could have worn a blue blazer and looked legit. Sure, in the 70s the lapel would have been bigger, and in the 90s it would have been a boxier cut, but it’s still a blue blazer.

That’s Barbara Walters’ hair. There have been some variations on the theme through the decades, but if you scalped Barbara Walters and put her hair on a mannequin -whether in 1975 or 1992 or 2013 – you’d see it and say “yep, someone scalped Barbara Walters, I guess. And this is her hair.”

Sarah Palin

Hair as tall, shining and majestic as the peaks of Denali.

I don’t care what your politics are, you have to admit that this is some power hair. The biggest boon to Palin’s run for national office -and, possibly, the biggest drawback – was hair so distinctive that you could dress as her for Halloween without really trying very hard.

Whoopi Goldberg

If we have two panel members from The View on this list, it’s only because getting paid to sit in a semi-circle and talk over people is the true meaning of “having it all.” The last time I sat around every morning with my peers talking about the events of the day, I was in kindergarten, and I wasn’t getting paid for it. It was called Circle Time. Anyway, Goldberg is so known by her unwavering, tidy dreadlocks that when you see her with straightened, loose hair in Sister Act, it’s kind of unnerving.

Marie Antoinette

Ya know … maybe if people are about to behead you you shouldn’t make your head look so damn showy.

While I painstakingly catalog every premature gray on my head, Marie Antoinette was powdering her entire enormous wig. She knew what the rest of us haven’t figured out: Gray hair has gravitas. It has dignity. It has flair. It… will not keep the proletariat from chopping your head off. So remember, while you’re cultivating your signature ‘do, don’t neglect the little people – or the little people might kill you.

Louise Brooks (Counter-Example)

Louise Brooks, in her heyday.

Louise Brooks, in her dotage.

Louise Brooks had THE iconic bob in the 20s. She was also the toast of Hollywood. Then in old age, she grew her hair long and ditched the bangs. Result? She died in our hometown of Rochester, NY. See, that’s what happens when grow out your signature hairstyle. You become a reverse Samson, losing your power because you stop cutting your hair.