If you’ve seen the Devil Wears Prada, as not doing so would be robbing your soul, you have at least a small understanding of what the fashion industry can be like. Anne Hathaway aside, the movie’s true anchor is Meryl Streep’s character: a play off of the fabulously cold Anna Wintour, the artistic director of Conde Nast and Editor in Chief of Vogue.
If you don’t know who Anna Wintour is, don’t blame yourself too hard. You’d have to be slightly obsessed with pop culture and fashion to fall into the realm where her name bears such heavy weight. To fill you in, she’s quite the cunning, British fashion mogul and she’s built her entire empire in her sunglasses (she never takes them off).
Anna Wintour and Queen Elizabeth
Anna Wintour and Selena Gomez
Even if you don’t know her name, you may have heard of a small get-together she throws every year: the Met Gala. Of course, small is an understatement; the guest list invites about 600-700 A-list celebrities and designers annually. Each year, the Met Gala has a theme created by its co-chairs, who Anna Wintour appoints. Last year’s co-chairs included Harry Styles, Lady Gaga, and Serena Williams. This year, co-chairs Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, Lin Manuel Miranda, and Nicolas Ghesquière (a fashion designer from Louis Vuitton) have chosen “About Time: Fashion and Duration” as their theme. This theme, according to Ghesquière, is inspired by French philosopher Henri Bergson’s concepts on la durée, or duration of time. The theme will explore how fashion associates itself with the past, present, and future. Alongside the red carpet, the actual exhibition in the museum will include Virginia Woolf as a ghost narrator.
So, who should you look out for? Easy: Rihanna. In general, always look out for Rihanna. But, in terms of the Met Gala, she always steals the spotlight. In 2015, she donned a 55 pound, hand tailored, brilliantly golden, Guo Pei gown which could only be topped by her outfit for 2018’s Met Gala: a pimped out and bejeweled, Pope-turned pop-star. The latter was the same year she was a co-chair for the event.
Zendaya is also one to look out for. Though a newer addition to the guest list, Zendaya’s parrot print, Dolce and Gabbana gown from 2017 was a greatly feted look that proved her a worthy addition to Wintour’s extravaganza. And, if you don’t already know, she wore a custom Tommy Hilfiger, Cinderella-inspired ball gown that literally lit up whilst she walked down the carpet. Zendaya’s stylist dressed up as Cinderella’s godmother and waved a wand over the dress to illuminate it. This look was undoubtedly inspired by a light-up gown by Zac Posen that Claire Danes wore in 2016, but the magic in Zendaya’s revelation was infinitely better.
It’s difficult to deny the event’s pretentiousness. Collecting hundreds of some of the most celebrated and glamorized figures in the country and giving them a free dinner to discuss the art that they’re wearing isn’t the most lowkey of events. However, it is important to say that the Met Gala has made itself an apex of both fashion and pop culture. If not to see your favorite celebrities play Halloween for an extra night of the year, check out photos from the Met Gala to see the direction in which art and fashion are going and how they may even make statements about the strangeness of time.