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What is the Met Gala & why is everyone always super excited about it?

Here's everything you need to know, before the stars walk up the famous stairs of The Metropolitan Museum of Art ✨

08 May 2018

Met Gala
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Fashion's most hotly-anticipated fashion event of the year has taken place on the first Monday in May. But if you're not an industry insider, you might be wondering what on earth the Met Gala is, and why there's the yearly hype around it.

Other than the ceremony being as glamorous as it gets - seriously, nothing beats the Met Ball when it comes to showstopping outfits worthy of unforgettable photos (remember Rihanna posing on the stairs with her extremely long yellow Emilio Pucci gown? Yeah, us too) - it is also a huge night for fashion fundraising. Let us explain.

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What is the Met Gala and when does it happen?

A few paragraphs in and you've probably noticed we've already called it Met Gala and Met Ball - but fear not, it all means the same. Although the night is most commonly known by the latter, the event is formally known as the Costume Institute Gala.

Happening every first Monday of May, the gala is a fundraiser dedicated to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute - formally named The Anna Wintour Costume Center, in homage to the American Vogue's editor-in-chief, who has been a chair member of the museum's gala since 1995.

Who chairs the event?

Other than Anna Wintour, each year the event brings honorary chair members. Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace were the first designers chosen to co-chair the night, in 1995.

Since then, among many designers and fashion insiders, the gala has also made room for celebrities (and even royalty) to participate: Caroline Princess of Hanover was a chair of the 2005 Met Gala, Beyoncé was a chair member in 2013, and this year will see Rihanna, Amal Clooney and Donatella Versace co-chairing the event. Donatella is also a sponsor of the exhibition.

Why does it have a theme?

Basically, the Met Gala also marks the opening night of the Costume Institute's annual fashion exhibit, the theme of the exhibition sets the tone for the event and invitees have to dress accordingly.

Last year we saw celebrities incorporate bright colours and avant-garde designs as they walked the Met Gala 2017 red carpet which was themed 'Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons' - in homage of (you guessed it) Rei Kawakubo, the fashion designer of the avant-garde Japanese label, Comme des Garçons.

The showstopper look of the night was Rihanna wearing Comme des Garçons. Riri stole the night wearing one of her all-time most unforgettable looks.

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What is this year's theme?

The Met Gala theme for 2018 is (drum roll, please): 'Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination'.

It is certainly one of the most interesting Met Gala themes of years gone by! Here are our picks of the top 2018 Met Gala Dresses.

What to expect?

Trying to show the influence of religion and liturgical vestments in fashion, the actual exhibition has been much-anticipated. It will feature 150 garments from the archives of the likes of Balenciaga, Versace, Chanel and Dior - most of which have a history of a close relationship with religion.

As for how the celebrities will tackle the theme, we're expecting lots of Sistine Chapel-worthy dresses and looks bound to cause controversy - after all, the sole announcement of this year's theme already ruffled some feathers.

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Other than sumptuous outfits and loads of photographers trying to get an unforgettable shot, expect lots of bodyguards and fluffers. Yep, fluffers, aka people running around to make the dresses look picture-perfect. It takes a village, people!

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