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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How To Not Be An Racist Idiot At the Met Gala

Tonight is the annual Met Gala aka the fundraising event benefitting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute aka a Party Anna Wintour throws for celebs to show off their best interpretation of a given theme and have a lot of people criticize what they’re wearing (including us).

The theme of the gala goes along with that year’s Costume Institute exhibition, so for example, last year, the exhibit was Charles James: Beyond Fashion, based on the works of the British-American designer, known as “America’s First Couturier”. The exhibit featured plenty of his luxourious gowns from the 1940s, and at the Met Gala, there were plenty of white ties and flowing dresses worn by models and fashionistas alike.

B Coops in tom Ford

SJP in Oscar de la Renta

While other past themes have encompassed Jacqueline Kennedy to Superheroes to Alexander McQueen to the punk music year, this time around it’s quite an interesting one. The exhibit itself is called “China: Through the Looking Glass”, juxtaposing fashion with Chinese artwork and historical costumes.

If you can imagine, this could go horribly wrong. America is already tense with what’s happened throughout the past year and currently in Baltimore, so race is even more of a touchy subject as of late. Will this year’s batch of celebrity attendees toe the line of offense or come up with brilliant takes on an ancient fashion and the “Chinese white tie” dress code? Here’s a few simple guidelines made up by me, an Asian with no real background in fashion besides the fact my secret party trick is I can tell an Alexander McQueen from a mile away.

Don’t wear chopsticks in your hair

This example in particular is especially rachet, since it looks like she stole chopsticks from her local China Dragons restaurant. These were a fad that came and went in the ’90s/early ’00s and probably stay there for good.

Don’t wear any sort of sexy kimono

Staying on the ’90s inspired fashion, don’t be like my girl Hilary and wear whatever this is. Not only is it not flattering, but it’s also a traditional Japanese garment, so get your Asian countries correct.

Know your Chinese influences

Along the kimono lines, just do your research. Stylists and celebrities, logically, should know the different between Japanese and Korean and Chinese fashion, or at least look into it if you’re dressing for the Oscars of the fashion world. Don’t make the headlines of the New York Daily Post with a faux pas.

Interpret the exhibit, don’t just take it face value

Don’t enter the Met Gala dressed like Mulan in the scene where she sings Reflection – the whole point of the event is to interpret the theme and infuse your own style into it. For the 2013 punk theme, the gorgeous Emily Blunt was subtle with her homage to rebellion, by donning a beautiful black Carolina Herrerra gown, but added a funky hairdo and bright pink eyeshadow that didn’t go too overboard, but also didn’t make her look like she came in a costume from her latest movie about CBGB. Chinese fashion and art is detailed, like the embroidery seen in the dress above. Expect this, or at least hope for this, at the gala.

Don’t Be a Geisha

Again, Mulan should not be your fashion inspiration for the night. In life, as a strong woman warrior, yes.

Celebrate a Chinese designer

 

If you don’t even want to touch a Chinese influenced dress, how about just support diversity in fashion by putting on a dress by a Chinese designer, like Alexander Wang, as seen above. And then somehow get said designer to be your date all night. You’ll get extra street cred.

The Best (and Worst) of the Met Ball

Monday marked the annual Met Ball in New York City, and it’s regarded as one of the biggest fashion events of the year. Some have even touted it as the Academy Awards of the East. Which is weird but okay. It’s where fashion and Hollywood meet at the stairs of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and we’re not just talking Gossip Girl.

What’s great about the Met Ball is that the stars aren’t afraid to wear grand, elegant, edgy, head-turning gowns. I mean they’re rubbing elbows with the likes of Anna Wintour, Vera Wang, Tory Burch, Zac Posen, etc. etc., so they have to be on top of their game.

To help you get acquainted with the festivities, here’s some of the best and worst dressed at the Met Ball over the past few years.

Best Dressed

Solange in Rachel Roy, 2012

Emma Stone in Lanvin, 2012

Kristen Wiig in Stella McCartney, 2012

Michelle Dockery in Ralph Lauren, 2012

January Jones in Versace, 2012

Camilla Belle in Ralph Lauren, 2012

Emily Blunt in Calvin Klein, 2012 (and bonus JKras bc they’re just too cute together!)

Worst Dressed

Sarah Jessica Parker in Alexander McQueen, 2006

Victoria Beckham in Valentino, 2003

Diane Kruger in Prada, 2012

Shaliene Woodley in Christopher Kane, 2012

Chloe Sevigny in Miu Miu, 2012

Mary Kate Olsen in The Row, 2012

Elizabeth Banks in Mary Katrantzou, 2012