Inside the Met Gala 2022: everything you need to know

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky dressed in duvets. Naomi Campbell arm in arm with Gianni Versace. Princess Diana scooting up in a Dior slip dress. Jackie Kennedy gliding along the red carpet in strapless Valentino. And Kim Kardashian cloaked face-to-toe in black. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art steps have seen it all.

Yes, the countdown to Monday’s Met Gala is on, and the titans of fashion, acting, sports, and activism are franticly polishing their final looks. This mother of all fundraisers, correctly known as the Costume Institute Benefit, is the glittering soirée thrown by Vogue’s Anna Wintour to rake in cash for the museum’s costume department. We are talking millions, with tickets going for $35,000, or $300,000 for a table.

It coincides with the opening of its annual clothing exhibition — take Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2011, or Camp: Notes on Fashion, for 2019 — and has morphed into fashion’s grandest night of the year. The hottest design names dress the leading celebrities, viral moments come two-a-penny, and millions of eyes are transfixed. With four short days to go, here’s everything you need to know.

The style set

If you are thinking: “What! A year has passed since the last blasted Met Gala”, fear not. It is usually held on the first Monday in May, but 2021’s was postponed to last September due to the pandemic. This eight-month turnaround is just to get the ball rolling again.

The exhibition is In America: An Anthology of Fashion, sister to last year’s In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, and set on celebrating the unsung heroes of US design talent. And the hosts, picked by Wintour each year, count Blake Lively and her husband Ryan Reynolds — who have become staples of the event — alongside actress Regina King, Hamilton playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and honorary co-chairs Tom Ford, Instagram head Adam Mosseri, and Wintour herself. A chic set, indeed.

Mission glamour

Official invites sent to 600 or so attendees state “Gilded Glamour” as the dress code, which refers to the 1870s to 1890s Gilded Age of America. But the done thing is actually to wear whatever you want, and sort a tenuous theme link later. Duh.

Bridgerton-style would fit the bill — corsets, opera gloves and huge silk satin trains, mandatory — while American designers Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang will likely lead the way. Look for buzzy young London-trained talent, too. 2021 saw two recent Central Saint Martins graduates have Met moments — Harris Reed kitted out Iman, and Conner Ives dressed the late Kobe Bryant’s daughter Natalia.

The rules

Just because you are, say, Lady Gaga, you cannot stomp around doing what you please. Wintour keeps a notoriously tight grip on proceedings. Her hardest rule: no phones. It’s why the juiciest gossip comes from the women’s bathroom, where the selfies and smoking can commence.

There are no-no’s for the caterers too. Parsley is strictly banned, as is garlic, onion and bruschetta. If you are wearing Chanel couture, best believe you don’t want tomato rolling down it.

The show that goes wrong

The Gala has been dubbed fashion’s Oscars. And if this year’s Academy Awards taught us anything, we should expect the unexpected (though, you can be sure Will Smith is not on the list). The Met had its own punch up in 2014, but after the evening had ended. CCTV footage of Solange hitting and kicking Jay-Z in an elevator at an after party went viral.

Inside, destroying your custom frock is the greatest threat. In 2016, Karlie Kloss had red wine sloshed over her white Brandon Maxwell dress. The lesson? Keep the designers close. He whipped out his scissors and sliced it into a mini dress. It’s all razzle, dazzle, glitz and glamour but take care come Monday, guys. Everyone is watching.

Scroll the gallery at the top of the page for the best dressed at last year’s Met Gala

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