No one humblebrags that they got ready for the Met Gala in 10 minutes or a little drunk. Such an admission would be tantamount to insulting Anna Wintour, the party’s host. Because while most red carpets serve as, if not just an entrance, at least a precursor to something more significant, the Met Gala’s red carpet is the lynchpin around which the event evolves. Even the carpet itself is extraordinary, all expansive and permanent-looking. It, and the people perched upon it, thoughtfully and artfully dressed, are kind of the whole thing, you know? Few seem bothered by what follows. (My research, for the record, indicates champagne, a speech and possibly a miserably hot party, per Gwyneth Paltrow.)
The focus on fashion makes complete sense. The event is, after all, held in honor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and themed around the forthcoming exhibit. This year’s honoree is visionary designer Rei Kawakubo — her, her point of view and the house she created, Comme des Garçons. According to the Met website, the exhibit, entitled “Art of the In-Between,” will attempt to break down imaginary dualisms and expose their arbitrariness.
Let’s recall her words as quoted by the press release: “I have always pursued a new way of thinking about design…by denying established values, conventions, and what is generally accepted as the norm. And the modes of expression that have always been most important to me are fusion…imbalance… unfinished… elimination…and absence of intent.”
I don’t want to overhype it, but it’s hard to imagine a theme better poised for a thought-provoking, avant-garde red carpet. I’ve never been more ready to see Sarah Jessica Parker in, say, this. So while we await the Vogue parade of the first Monday in May, I’ve curated — with the help of the team — a slideshow of memorable looks from galas past to get us in the mood. There have been some real showstoppers, for reasons both good and…interesting, and it seems almost irresponsible to not pay them due homage as we anticipate the eccentric offerings of a Rei theme. Click through to reminisce and tell me which you would permanently retire/marry yourself in if I made you choose. Or just your favorite, whatever.
Photos via Getty.