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Met Gala 2018 Theme “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination” opens the pearly gates to fashionable revelation… along with a little controversy. Controversy attracts attention, and attention attracts dollars. In The Met’s case, women lead the way in attracting both attention and dollars.
Who are the women behind Met Gala 2018?
The Met Gala is not only the biggest charity event in New York (raising $13.5 million for The Met in 2017), it also routinely earns the honor of being the most exciting red carpet event as celebrities try to outdo each other in the name of “fashion for fashion’s sake.” It signifies the opening of the Costume Institute’s spring exhibit, chiefly curated by Andrew Bolton, which dictates the theme of the gala each year.
The 2018 event hosts included Anna Wintour, Donatella Versace, Rihanna, and Amal Clooney, along with cochairs Christine and Stephen Schwarzman. Special events director at Vogue (Eaddy Kiernan) is the woman trusted to make sure the event goes without a hitch. Think of Eaddy’s job as being the organizer for the Super Bowl of Fashion. It’s a daunting task.
U.S. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who is the driving force behind the extravagant gala, faces rumors of it being her last with stories of her departure from Condé Nast this fall. Since taking over as chair in 1995, Anna took the gala to smashing heights compared to its humble beginnings in 1948 as conceived by Eleanor Lambert. In 1960, a ticket cost $100. Today a ticket costs over $30,000, according to BusinessInsider.com, covering the $3.5 million production costs for the night. While every guest must be approved by Anna personally, celebs who wear a designer’s dress may attend free as that designer’s guest. The fashion these celebs don in front of the cameras brings awareness and raises money for the cause. All said, women are fueling this charity event both on stage and behind the scenes.
Met Gala Math
These numbers may seem astronomical, but a Forbes.com article stated the museum faced a $15 million deficit last spring with forced layoffs and program reductions. Yet, the Costume Institute remained the only curatorial department for funding itself– bringing in $12 million plus in one night. The decrease in government funding in the arts threatens to make the situation worse for the museum’s other departments in 2018. This year’s CI exhibit is bigger than ever: 25 galleries covering 60,000 square feet of space. It’s poised to attract a record number of attendees.
So, let’s say that a CI exhibit attracts 500,000 visitors at $25 per person, that adds up to $12.5 million. However, the entrance fee to the museum is voluntary and on average, only one in five visitors pay the full fee. That means events like the gala are lifesavers for the museum. That’s why organizers work tirelessly to bring in big names… like The Pope.
The Vatican takes center stage this year by loaning papal adornments from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican. It’s the inspiration for the flip side of the heavenly coin: Fashions from the early twentieth century to the present. No surprise that design house Versace is a major sponsor. The exhibit is open May 10 through October 8, 2018. View exhibit details at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s web site.
Here’s the exhibit’s official promotional video:
Madonna Debuts New Song: Beautiful Game
Madonna has had a very public love-hate relationship with the Catholic Church throughout her career. Veronica (her confirmation name) attended Catholic school, and wore her religion on her sleeve. Well, more like her chest. Music videos featuring black saints, burning crosses, and virginal attire that is no where near pious, Madonna confronts religious symbolism on her own terms. The women behind the Met Gala 2018 knew that Madonna was the woman to put in front of the gala.
The Queen of Pop did not disappoint at the Met Gala 2018. After all, moral controversy is her niche. Entering the red carpet in a black-veiled dress designed by Jean Paul Gautier, she stated the obvious about her attire: “When I first started, I was covered in rosaries. So nothing’s changed, really.” Indeed. Here’s the interview from Vogue.com.
Madonna later took the stage with an intro to “Like A Prayer,” and stepped into a preview of “Beautiful Game,” and an always tear-inducing “Hallejuah.” Network cameras and press photographers are still not allowed inside the main event, but cell phone recordings ended up on YouTube. Debuting a song to an exclusive audience is a big deal– and one that again shows Madonna’s continued star power and how it’s used for charity.
Over-40 Stars on the Red Carpet
Of course, we can’t resist the red carpet fashion. A few highlights of over-40 stars are right here, thanks to YouTube. Here’s a slideshow of the night’s best dressed according to Vogue.com. Jennifer Lopez wears Balmain (as does Alex Rodriguez, Trevor Noah, Juliette Binoche, Natalia Vodianova, Natasha Poly, and Julia Stegner). Balmain will put their designs up for auction with proceeds going to The Global Fund in partnership with RED, a non-profit that raises awareness about AIDS. Bidding starts at $1,500 if you want to get in on the action. Send us a photo if you score one!
Sarah Jessica Parker