The biggest night in fashion is nearly upon us, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art gearing up to once again host the annual Met Gala.
The 2022 Met Gala, which will return to its pre-pandemic date of the first Monday in May, will follow the theme: “In America: An Anthology of fashion”. The theme is based on part-two of an exhibit from the New York City museum’s Costume Institute, and follows the 2021 theme: “In America: A Lexicon of fashion.”
In addition to an occasion to pull out all the fashion stops, the Met Gala also marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition.
Like previous years, this year’s Met Gala is likely to follow a similar schedule, with some of the biggest stars expected to pose on the iconic steps of the museum ahead of the event.
After the red carpet portion of the evening, the celebrities, influencers and other notable guests will make their way inside the museum – at which point the Met Gala becomes more shrouded in mystery, as it has never been revealed what exactly occurs inside during the invite-only party.
From a cocktail hour to a sit-down dinner and musical performance, this is what we know about what goes on inside the Met Gala.
As The New York Times’ journalist Vanessa Friedman aptly put it in 2018, what goes on inside the Met Gala is “a secret,” as she noted that attendees are “banned” from posting on social media about what happens after the red carpet.
That being said, there are certain things we know for sure, and some details that are rumoured, about what attendees do once inside the museum on the night.
According to Friedman, the beginning of the inside portion of the event is marked by a receiving line, which sees guests greet the hosts of the gala. This year, the event, which acts as a fundraiser for the museum’s Costume Institute, will see Regina King, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and Lin-Manuel Miranda serve as co-chairs, while Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour will remain as honorary co-chairs.
Once guests have greeted their hosts, they will make their way through the exhibition, according to Friedman.
According to Vogue, this year’s exhibit centres on “the tenets of American style” and celebrates the “anonymous and unsung heroes of US design,” while Andrew Bolton, head curator of the Costume Institute, said the exhibition will focus on the evolution of American style, and will include the work of tailors, dress-makers, and designers.
While Bolton said that some of the names featured in the exhibit, such as Charles James, Halston, and Oscar de la Renta, “will be very familiar to students of fashion,” he noted that “a lot of the other names really have been forgotten, overlooked or relegated into the footnotes of fashion history”.
“So one of the main intentions of the exhibition is to spotlight the talents and contributions of these individuals, and many of them are women,” he added.
In addition to the fashion, this year’s Met Gala will also see “cinematic vignettes” accompanying the exhibit, as the museum has partnered with a number of film directors, including Martin Scorsese, Sofia Coppola and Chloé Zhao.
After touring the Costume Institute’s latest exhibit, guests then reportedly make their way to a cocktail hour.
The cocktail party is followed by a sit-down dinner, which is always accompanied by entertainment, according to Friedman.
The 2021 Met Gala’s dinner became a subject of controversy last year after then-host Keke Palmer jokingly criticised the meal served once she’d completed her Vogue live-stream hosting duties.
“This why they don’t show y’all the food,” the singer captioned a photo of a dish of what appeared to be a serving of corn, tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as risotto and one mushroom on her Instagram Stories. “I’m just playinnnn.”
Palmer later apologised to Marcus Samuelsson, the celebrity chef behind the 2021 Met Gala menu, with the Hustlers star tweeting: “I just have different taste buds! I love this chef, sorry to this man.”
Palmer isn’t the only celebrity to break the “no social media” rule, as Priyanka Chopra previously shared a bathroom selfie featuring her, Tiffany Haddish, and Karlie Kloss from inside the 2018 Met Gala.
As for the performers, a former Vogue staffer previously told Bustle that “the performances always have every guest up from their tables and dancing,” while noting that the “decor is mouth-dropping” and the “high energy is palpable”.
According to Friedman, Katy Perry has performed during the event, while Bustle reported that Rihanna and The Weeknd have also performed live at the Met Gala.
As for whether you can simply purchase one of the Met Gala’s allegedly $30,000 tickets to gain access into the exclusive event, the answer is no, as each guest is personally approved by Wintour, who began leading the annual gala in 1995.
However, part two of the exhibition will open to the public on 7 May.
This year’s Met Gala will take place on 2 May 2022. You can find everything to know about the theme here, and how to watch it here.