Met Gala: So What Exactly Is It?

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On every first Monday in May, A-list stars flock to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to attend the Met Gala

It's one of the biggest events of the year and anyone who is anyone pulls out all the stops in jaw-dropping designer ensembles to wear on the museum's grand steps -- many of which go down in pop culture history. 

But if you've never been sure why the exclusive soiree ball exists in the first place, we're here to answer your questions. 

Read on to learn more about the Super Bowl of fashion, including its history, guest list and the cost to attend the fashion extravaganza, ahead of May 6.  

What Is the Met Gala? 

The Met Gala, also called the Met Ball, is a gala that raises funds to benefit the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it's the main source of funding for the department. It's an invitation-only event with a star-studded guest list that is approved by Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who has been the gala's chair since 1995. 

Beyonce at 2015 met gala

Beyonce at the 2015 Met Gala.

Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images

Who Goes to the Met Gala? 

Attendees are the who's who in film, music, fashion, business and sports, including icons and newcomers of the zeitgeist who dress to the nines in designer ensembles (many of them are custom-made!) for the special night. Reoccurring celeb attendees are Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicole Kidman, Kim Kardashian West, Jennifer Lopez and so many more. 

Each year celebs are appointed to co-chair the gala alongside Wintour. Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles and Gucci's creative director, Alessandro Michele (the brand is the exhibit's sponsor) will be this year's co-chairs. 

2019 also boasts a committee of 183 members according to The Hollywood Reporter, mainly made up of actors and actresses, such as Bradley Cooper, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas, whom we all expect to see on the red carpet. 

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas at Met Gala 2017

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas at 2017 Met Gala.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Why Is There a Theme? 

The gala marks the opening of the Costume Institute's new spring exhibit, which constitutes the gala's thematic dress code. 

This year's theme is "Camp: Notes on Fashion," curated by Andrew Bolton and based on Susan Sontag's 1994 essay, "Notes on Camp." The exhibition will display statement-making clothes and accessories dating from the 17th century to the present that explores "how the elements of irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration are expressed in fashion." 

Although attendees are encouraged to dress according to the theme, some opt for simply gorgeous gowns. 

Rihanna Met Gala 2017

Rihanna at 2017 Met Gala.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

When Did the Met Gala Start? 

The very first Met Gala took place in 1948 and was a much smaller event then, which was located off-site with a guest list that focused on New York socialites. In 1972, former Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland became a consultant for the Costume Institute. Vreeland brought more publicity and glamour to the event, which Wintour ran with and catapulted to its current A-list status when she became chair in 1995 and incorporated high-profile celebrities into the mix. 

How Much Does a Ticket Cost? 

According to The New York Times, last year's ticket cost $30,000 and a table was $250,000. Oftentimes, major fashion brands buy a table and invite celebrities to attend and wear the brand to the gala.  

What Happens Inside the Met Gala? 

Although it's a private VIP affair, from what we've seen on social media in the past (and Ocean's 8), the night includes a cocktail hour, dinner, a preview of the exhibit and a surprise musical performance. Past performers include Madonna in 2018, Katy Perry in 2017, The Weeknd in 2016 and Rihanna in 2015. 

On the night of, follow along right here at ETonline.com as we'll be live blogging the major moments and covering all the must-see fashion. 

See the most iconic looks from previous Met Galas: 

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