It’s the Oscars of the fashion industry and an invite is the golden ticket for every designer, model, actor and musician. The annual Met Gala, hosted by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, is a chance for celebrities and designers alike to experiment with style, leading to what may turn out to be some of the best fashion moments of all time. But there’s much more to the event than just fashion. Here are 10 interesting and surprising facts about the Met Gala.
1. It’s the 70th year of the annual event. The Met Gala, also known as the Met Ball, has been held every year since 1946 and is held on the first Monday of May. The event, which is rumored to cost upwards of $2 million to produce, raises money for the annual budget of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. Formally called the Costume Institute Benefit, the gala marks the grand opening of the institute’s annual fashion exhibit.
2. This year’s theme is “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Previous themes have ranged from punk to Chinese fashion. Event attendees are expected to dress in accordance with the theme of the exhibit. The dinner menu also reflects the exhibit.
3. You can buy a ticket, but only if Anna Wintour approves. An individual ticket can cost a cool $25,000. But the Vogue editor, who has been the chair of the Met Gala since 1995, ultimately decides who’s on the entry list to the year’s most exclusive event.
4. Most tickets are purchased by the world’s top fashion houses and companies, like Versace and Chanel. They give the tickets to celebrities of their choice to showcase their luxe designs at the star-studded extravaganza. Some corporations even buy entire tables at the gala, which range in price from $75,000 to $250,000, according to NBC News.
5. Taylor Swift is the honorary chairperson of this year’s event. She will help Wintour with rallying donations and finessing the event’s theme, among other things. Beyoncé and Karl Lagerfeld were previously selected for the role, according to Marie Claire magazine.
6. Just over 700 people attend the gala each year. Wintour shortened the guest list even further last year, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Marshall Heyman, who has covered the event for several years.
7. No one eats. Heyman said there aren’t any appetizers at the champagne reception, and the beautiful meals served at dinner are usually left untouched. That’s probably because guests are too nervous to eat, or perhaps they’re worried about fitting into their tight gowns. “Of course, nobody eats dinner,” he said in an interview with WSJ Live after the 2015 event.
8. Celebs must leave their entourages at home. No managers, agents or publicists are allowed. But Giuliana Rancic and E! News will be on the Met Gala red carpet for the first time ever this year to bring mainstream coverage of the high fashion event, New York magazine reported.
9. The after-parties are more fun. Traditionally, the Met Gala included lots of dancing. These days, there’s less grooving and more shoulder-rubbing. But celebs let their hair down at the wild after-parties, Heyman said.
10. The cost of nearby hotels spike during peak Met Gala time. A room at the Mark, a five-star luxury hotel located less than a half mile from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, currently costs $1,250 to $1,195. A room at the Carlyle, another prime getting-ready spot for gala attendees, costs $810 to $910, according to Runway Riot.