Often referred to as the “Oscars of fashion”, the Met Gala is the most anticipated fashion event of the year.
An invitation to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute’s annual fund-raiser is a sure sign that you have arrived on the Hollywood scene and been deemed illegible to walk those iconic museum stairs.
The star-studded event is strictly by invitation only. The final guest list is approved by Vogue’s editor-in-chief and global chief content officer for Condé Nast Anna Wintour. If your favourite celebrity isn’t at The Met, then, unfortunately, they simply didn’t make the cut.
The guest list remains top secret up until the day of the event.
Having said that, an Instagram fan account, @_metgala2021, recently released what appears to be a seating plan of its rumoured guests.
Whether the mock-up is a fake or not, it certainly caught the attention of those who have been keeping a keen eye on the event and caused quite a stir.
The plan included the likes of Lady Gaga, Naomi Campbell, Donatella Versace and Beyoncé. The fact that Jay-Z doesn’t have a seat at that table, does make it a bit suspicious.
Another chart showed controversial YouTube star James Charles (who managed to secure an invitation in 2019) as well as popular TikTok star Charli D’Amelio who are appear to be seated with stars like Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift and Cara Delevingne.
In addition to this mock placement setting, it’s rumoured that the guest list has expanded to include other internet personalities and influencers. Included among them is reportedly YouTuber Emma Chamberlain and TikTok star Addison Rae.
If the rumours are true, and many believe it to be so, it begs the question: Does social media fame now offer you the same status as that of megastars like Rihanna?
Does it mean that if you’ve managed to build a great following on social media, you’ve earned a seat at the table alongside Grammy and Oscar Award winners?
It’s no secret that top brands pay social media stars are paid huge amounts to attend events, and we all know why they do so. If an influencer has a million-plus followers, it means that that’s the number of people the brand reaches. It is self-explanatory, really.
Thanks to social media and those influential social media stars, one doesn’t physically have to be at an event to know exactly what’s going on.
With these influencers attending the Met Gala, we mere mortals will be offered a glimpse into one of the most exclusive parties.
If you follow the right people, know all the hashtags, know the location and basically live on social media, you can pretty much watch events unfold in real-time.
If you can practically (virtually) walk up those famous stairs, how exclusive does it really make it?
Yes, of course, one cannot touch and smell the likes of George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez or have intimate conversations with them but, hey, you can come pretty close.
Kim Kardashian, who is regarded as the queen of reality TV, attended her first Met Gala only because she was Kanye West’s partner (and, of course, she was pregnant with their first child) and only because he was in fact he was performing on the night.
In 2014, Radar Online reported Kardashian was forbidden from attending the Met Ball by the event’s co-chair Wintour. “Anna hates Kim,” a “source” told the publication. Even though Keeping up with The Kardashian star could buy a ticket to the ball, she wouldn’t be allowed to.
Now can you imagine if, back then, Kim couldn’t get onto the guest list but some YouTuber could? The horror!
I certainly don’t think that the late Eleanor Lambert who founded the event back in 1948 would approve.
And I'm sure this was not the intention of US Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, who catapulted the event into the domain of celebrity and pop culture.
Of course, one has to move with the times but is this really the best way?
A look at this year’s hosts is an indication that Wintour is trying to include a younger crowd.
This year’s Met Gala is sponsored by Instagram and hosted by co-chairs Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, poet laureate Amanda Gorman, and tennis star Naomi Osaka.
The theme is “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”, which will delve into the modern vocabulary of American fashion.