Marriage of Fashion and Culture: The Met Gala

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

By Meg Taylor, News Editor

Lady Gaga at Met Gala 2019 (Photo Credits: Instagram)

Colloquially known as “fashion’s biggest night of the year,” the 2019 Met Gala was filled with neon, feathers, bows and theatrical entrances.

The gala is a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. The black-tie extravaganza is held the first Monday in May each year to raise money for the fashion department. They do this by selling tables. Tables can cost up to an advance of $300,000. Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief, has been the co-chair of the event for over two decades.

“Anna’s been at the helm since 1999 and she’s raised over $175 million,” said E! News Fashion Correspondent Zanna Roberts Rassi. “Once you’ve been invited to buy a table for $300,000, then your guests will all have to be approved by Anna and the team.”

The theme for this year’s ball was Camp: Notes on Fashion. Camp is the love of the unnatural, of artifice and exaggeration. Inspired by writer Susan Sontag’s 1994 essay “Notes on Camp,” Wintour hinted at her own outfit for the event to CNN Style.

“There’s a quote from Sontag’s Notes that says, ‘Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of 3 million feathers,’ so I think I might be taking inspiration from that,” Wintour revealed.

The 69-year-old editor opened the event in a Chanel pink crystal-embellished column gown with a pink and purple feathered cape. She topped off her look with jeweled necklaces but notably missing were her iconic black sunglasses.

The queen of this year’s met ball was none other than Lady Gaga. The popstar, whose own personal style throughout her career and music videos exemplified this year’s theme, managed to change her outfit four times down the pink carpet. She started down the carpet in an extravagant, hot-pink, Brandon Maxwell exclusive with a 25-foot train crowned with a bow to match. Accompanied by a slew of male dancers, Gaga strode back and forth, performing rather than appearing on the carpet.

As she made her way back to the bottom of the pink carpet, Gaga removed the bow from her head while dancers, assisted by Maxwell, unsnapped and unzipped her dress revealing a black off-the-shoulder gown. After her “Singing in the Rain” inspired poses, Gaga returned to the front of the carpet. Maxwell removed yet another layer to reveal a figure-hugging hot pink dress. Gaga paired the look with jewel encrusted sunglasses and a brick-sized 90s cell phone.

The final quick change left Gaga in a glittery black bra, underwear, fishnets and 10-inch black boots resembling her iconic look from her “Paparazzi” days. She pulled around a hot pink “House of Gaga” wagon filled with Brandon Maxwell’s branded rosé.

Billy Porter served up another dramatic entrance. The “Pose” star was carried into the event on a litter by six shirtless men. Giving a nod to Ancient Egypt, Porter wore a bejeweled catsuit by The Blonds, outfitted with 10-foot wings, a 24-karat gold headpiece, and a custom pair of gold-leaf Giuseppe Zanotti shoes coupled with fine jewels by Andreoli and Oscar Heyman.

Hailey Bieber wore one of the more controversial looks of the night. The 22-year-old donned a custom pink sequined Alexander Wang gown with a crystal nameplate thong. The model also sported a high ponytail with a black bow. Bieber looked absolutely stunning, and although some may find a thong to be an odd choice, it was incredibly fitting of the theme.

The Met Ball is about self-expression, individuality and making fashion choices that are fun and outrageous. This year’s event exceeded all expectations and housed moments that will be embedded in Met Gala history.