The Met Gala, hosted by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute (MET), is widely known as the Oscars in the world of fashion. Held annually on the first Monday of May, the fundraising gala marks the opening of the MET’s summer exhibition, and attracts a list of top international stars in both fashion and entertainment every time, all geared up in the most creative and show-stopping attires as they step onto the red carpet of the year.

For 2020, the fashion extravaganza shall return on 7 May with an additional agenda: To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the iconic American museum, so we are expecting everything to be even bigger, better and wilder. Before we dig deeper into what’s to be expected next year, we’d like to make sure you’re fully up to speed on the ins and outs of this star-studded occasion. We break it down for you below.

The Met Gala is arguably the biggest and most exclusive fashion event of the year, and the guest list is highly exclusive.

What is the Met Gala exactly?

Held every first Monday in May since 1948, the black-tie extravaganza is also known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Benefit, and it’s a night where VIPs from top social circles, celebrities, designers, and Hollywood stars all gather at the museum to celebrate the opening of its major annual fashion exhibition. It also acts as a charitable event that raises funds for the Costume Institute, which is the museum’s only curatorial department that needs to fund itself.

Can I attend?

Good luck. Unless you’re a celebrity or on the VVIP list, you’ll need a ticket to get in, and each one reportedly costs up to US$30,000 each (approx. HK$233,389), with tables priced at around US$275,000 (approx. HK$2,139,403). Even if you are willing to pay, Anna Wintour, Vogue‘s editor-in-chief, still has the final say as to who’s allowed in and who doesn’t, which means your chances are rather slim — sorry.

So Anna Wintour handles everything?

Yes and no. Wintour, who took over as the gala’s chairwoman in 1995, selects an honorary chairperson every year to help her gather donations, assist with event details, and to create even greater awareness for the occasion. For 2020, Nicolas Ghesquière, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep and Emma Stone will be acting as Wintour’s co-chairs.

If it’s so exclusive, what’s so exciting about the Met Gala?

Even though it’s a closed-door party with only 600 guests, fashion fanatics around the world still look forward to observing the glitz and glamour from afar, as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, and other celebrities hit the red carpet in outfits that will be dissected and discussed for days to come. The dress code is themed according to the Costume Institute exhibition, which is why the Met’s signature steps have seen some of the most iconic red-carpet looks and memorable entrances over the years. Remember Rihanna’s golden Guo Pei couture and Lady Gaga’s outfit change this year?

So what’s going on for 2020?

The exhibition for 2020 is titled About Time: Fashion and Duration. It is curated by Andrew Bolton, who was heavily influenced by the works of 20th-century English author Virginia Woolf and French philosopher Henri Bergson‘s concept of la durée. He was especially fascinated by Sally Potter’s 1992 film adaptation of Woolf’s novel, Orlando, which showed Tilda Swindon entering a maze in an 18th century woman’s robe à la Francaise, only to reemerge in 1850s England wearing a mid-19th century dress.

The exhibition shall display 160 women’s garments spanning one and a half centuries, all thoughtfully arranged into two sections to inspire viewers to think differently about the history of fashion. It also aims to encourage us to dissect and explore how fashion has changed and developed through time, and how these two are inextricably connected. “[Fashion] not only reflects and represents the spirit of the times,” says Bolton in an interview with The New York Times, “but it also changes and develops with the times.”

We are very intrigued to see how the stars plan to interpret the concept of time with their red carpet attire, apart from dressing up as a clock (like Katy Perry did with a chandelier this year).

Cindie Chan
Style Editor
Fashion blogger turned editor, Cindie has spent over seven years covering all things stylish in the digital world. When she’s not busy poring over the latest covetable releases or attending the most talked-about fashion events in town, you’ll find her enjoying some precious downtime with her newborn son and sweet dog Rosy.