If you have the Met Gala in your diary for the first Monday in May, you’ve made it: you’ve got your hands on one of the most sought-after party tickets in the world. For just under $30,000. This is the night when even top celebrities get stage fright: only the most in-demand and most influential stars can gain admission to the party of the year. Which brings together models, actors, designers, pop stars and politicians at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The red carpet is rolled out on Broadway and the stars vie with one another to pull off the best interpretation of the black tie dress code in their luxury-label gowns. Their creators are often the main sponsors of the event and invite the stars to the party; but only stars who host Anna Wintour has judged are worthy of the honour.
Wintour, the grande dame of fashion journalism, took over as chairperson of the gala in 1999, and has since transformed it from a regional event into a celebrity hotspot. Incidentally, it’s all in the name of art: the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the only department of The Met that has to fund itself. And it does so with all means available, making an art out of collecting donations. This year it was Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Louis Vuitton’s Nicholas Ghesquière who shared the honorary event-day chairmanship. Which is why there was a particularly high number of creations by Prada, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton and Chanel for us to admire.
How do you go about planning a party on that scale? The documentary “The First Monday in May” looks behind the scenes at the fashion event and the Costume Institute itself. It follows Anna Wintour and Andrew Bolton, the visually stunning curator of the corresponding shows and thematic exhibitions, through their preparations while also capturing quick glimpses of and passing comments by numerous stars from last year’s gala, from Rihanna to Jean Paul Gaultier, from Lady Gaga to Wong Kar Wei.