Today is the first Monday in May, which — for those in the fashion industry — is synonymous with the Met Gala.
Each year, celebrities and established and aspiring designers alike — whose attendance is carefully approved under the meticulous eye of Vogue editor and Met Gala chairwoman Anna Wintour — convene in support of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Benefit. This year, the event will commemorate the museum’s latest annual exhibit featuring the work of Rei Kawakubo, the brains behind Comme des Garçons. She is the first living designer to be honored since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983.
Beyond serving as an annual gathering of the world’s most glamorous people, the glitzy event is a significant moneymaker for both the Met and major fashion brands, which purchase tables and invite notables for free on the condition that they wear its designs. This in essence serves an advertising opportunity for brands, considering viewers from around the world tune in to watch red carpet moments on E! or follow along on social media, taking notes on their favorite frocks. Vogue is also debuting a live 360-degree experience broadcast this year using Facebook Live to showcase red carpet arrivals.
In addition to serving as a platform to flaunt the latest looks from top designers, all ticket sales support the Costume Institute. The Met Gala began in the 1940s and has since continued to evolve, becoming increasingly high-profile and extravagant. Last year’s “Manus x Machina: Fashion in Age of Technology” event featured attendees in futuristic looks, including an IBM Watson-powered smart dress designed by Marchesa adorned with pulsating LED lights.
Here’s the breakdown of the Met Gala, by the numbers.
Cost of a ticket: $30,000
Cost of a ticket in 1960: $100
Cost of a table: $275,000
Total money raised in 2016: $13.5 million
Years since the Met Gala honored a living designer: 24
Hosts: 5, including Anna Wintour, Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams.
Years Anna Wintour has been top chairwoman: 18
Honorary chairwomen: 2, Rei Kawakubo and Caroline Kennedy, former U.S. ambassador to Japan.
Corporate sponsors for 2017: 5, including Apple, Condé Nast, Farfetch, H&M and Maison Valentino.
Social media posts: Already 127,000 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as of noon on May 1.
Length of red carpet: 150 feet
Number of years in operation: 69. The first Met Gala was held in 1948.
Approved media members: More than 225, which includes photographers and reporters.
Exclusive retail items for the Met x Comme des Garçons: 11, including a NikeLab Air Pegasus 83 for Comme des Garçons.