Art of Style

The latest update on the 2020 Met Gala

For 2019’s Met Gala – and the ultimate dramatic entrance – Lady Gaga wore four Brandon Maxwell outfits, removing each one to reveal another underneath

It’s one of the biggest annual events on the fashion calendar, with the resulting red-carpet outfits running the gamut from sublime to completely outrageous. FRANCESCA HARLING explains everything you need to know. Plus, discover everything you need to know about the Met Gala 2023 now...


The 2020 Met Gala has been postponed

On March 23, The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that the Costume Institute’s latest exhibition, About Time, was being rescheduled to run from late October to early February 2021. This good news comes after the museum stated that it would be temporarily closing all three of its locations from March 12 until July 1, pending any further direction from the state and federal governments and the Centers for Disease of Control and Prevention regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Due to the unavoidable and responsible decision by the Metropolitan Museum to close its doors, About Time, and the opening night gala, will not take place on the date scheduled [May 4]. In the meantime, we will give you a preview of this extraordinary exhibition in our forthcoming May issue,” US Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour – who co-chairs the event – said at the time.

While the new Gala date is still being finalized, the red-carpet extravaganza typically marks the opening of the headline exhibition – meaning calendars can be tentatively marked accordingly.

Discover everything you need to know about the Met Gala 2023.

What is the Met Gala?

Often referred to as the Oscars of the fashion world or the Super Bowl of fashion, the Met Gala, now entering its 72nd year, has become one of the most wonderful (and Instagrammable) events on the fashion calendar. The annual event was established in 1948 by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert as a fundraiser for the museum’s newly founded Costume Institute, and to mark the opening of its annual blockbuster exhibition.

Held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the strictly invite-only affair is an opportunity for famous faces (and the designers who dress them) to go all-out on the red carpet with the designated theme. With tickets for the evening costing $35,000, and a waiting list continually in the works, it’s safe to say the Met Gala is one of the most exclusive events – ever. It’s an unforgettable cultural moment each year, too; one that’s always held on the first Monday in May – in fact a documentary about the evening took the date as its name, such is the power of the occasion.

Last year’s theme was an exploration of camp, while 2018’s event was called “Heavenly Bodies” – a sartorial deconstruction of how Catholicism and religious art have inspired fashion and costume. At the helm of the event are US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and head curator at the Costume Institute Andrew Bolton, an influential duo busy conjuring ideas for next year’s show before the current exhibition has even opened its doors to the public.

The extravaganza that is the Met Gala is a true celebration of creative dressing and fashion as a form of applied art. This year’s theme was set to explore fashion history and the intimate link to the notion of time. Read on to find out who has owned the red carpet in the past…

Discover everything you need to know about the Met Gala 2023.

Who has ruled the red carpet in the past?

There have been too many incredible looks to list them all here, but it’s fair to say that this is an event where red-carpet dressing reaches new heights – with attendees preparing as much for the night itself as for the selfies – all in anticipation of the Instagram frenzy the following day.

Jumping back to a time when iconic looks were not yet ’grammable, we have Cher in 1974, wearing her infamous glistening “naked dress” by Bob Mackie, for the year celebrating Hollywood glamour. Meanwhile, Bianca Jagger looked beyond beautiful in 1981 in a strapless hoop ball gown for the opening of “Eighteenth Century Woman”.

The ’90s started strong with an incredibly chic Christy Turlington in a black evening ensemble featuring a pearl choker for “Fashion and History: A Dialogue” in 1992, and Naomi Campbell stunned (as always) in an embellished Versace gown in 1995 for “Haute Couture”. In the 2000s, we had Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexander McQueen bedecked in tartan for the Met’s 2006 gala, which coincided with “AngloMania”, the museum’s exploration of British design, while Kate Moss showed her support for Marc Jacobs three years later for “The Model as Muse” exhibition. And in 2015, we had Rihanna in that unforgettable golden Guo Pei gown, complete with 16-foot train and over 50,000 hours of meticulous hand-embroidery, for the “China Through the Looking Glass” show.

Discover everything you need to know about the Met Gala 2023.

Dresses to impress: Cher; Naomi Campbell and Gianni Versace; Sarah Jessica Parker with Alexander McQueen; and Rihanna

How are the themes chosen?

This year’s theme, which coincides with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 150th anniversary, is an exploration of fashion’s changing nature across time. Entitled “About Time: Fashion and Duration”, the exhibition comprises pieces from the Costume Institute’s illustrious archive, going back a century and a half. Bolton finalized the theme after becoming inspired by a scene in Sally Potter’s 1992 film adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel, Orlando. In it, Tilda Swinton enters a maze, her outfit morphing from an 18th-century robe into a mid-19th-century dress.