What happens inside the exclusive Met Gala?

·4-min read

The biggest night in fashion is nearly upon us, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art gearing up to once again host the annual Met Gala.

The 2023 Met Gala will honour the legacy of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld as the theme of its event. Vogue previously explained that the gala’s dress code was also “in honour of Karl”, with guests encouraged to dress in outfits that represent the late fashion designer’s work and style.

In addition to an occasion to pull out all the fashion stops, the Met Gala also marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition.

Like previous years, the 2023 Met Gala is likely to follow a similar schedule, with some of the biggest stars expected to pose on the iconic steps of the museum ahead of the event.

After the red carpet portion of the evening, the celebrities, influencers and other notable guests will make their way inside the museum - at which point the Met Gala becomes more shrouded in mystery, as it has never been revealed what exactly occurs inside during the invite-only party.

From a cocktail hour to a sit-down dinner and musical performance, this is what we know about what goes on inside the Met Gala.

As The New York Times’ journalist Vanessa Friedman aptly put it in 2018, what goes on inside the Met Gala is “a secret”. She noted that attendees are “banned” from posting on social media about what happens after the red carpet.

That being said, there are certain things we know for sure, and some details that are rumoured, about what attendees do once inside the museum on the night.

According to Friedman, the beginning of the inside portion of the event is marked by a receiving line, which sees guests greet the hosts of the gala. This year, the event, which acts as a fundraiser for the museum’s Costume Institute, will see Michaela Coel, Penélope Cruz, Roger Federer, Dua Lipa, and Vogue editor Wintour serve as the event’s official co-chairs.

Once guests have greeted their hosts, they will make their way through the exhibition, according to Friedman.

According to Vogue, this year’s exhibit centres on the evolution and life of Karl Lagerfeld. “At its heart the exhibition will look at the evolution of Karl’s two dimensional drawings into three dimensional garments,” Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton told WWD. “We could not do a traditional retrospective. For one thing, I think Karl would have hated that.”

After touring the Costume Institute’s latest exhibit, guests then reportedly make their way to a cocktail hour.

The cocktail party is followed by a sit-down dinner, which is always accompanied by entertainment, according to Friedman.

The 2021 Met Gala’s dinner became a subject of controversy after then-host Keke Palmer jokingly criticised the meal served once she’d completed her Vogue live-stream hosting duties.

“This why they don’t show y’all the food,” the singer captioned a photo of a dish of what appeared to be a serving of corn, tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as risotto and one mushroom on her Instagram Stories. “I’m just playinnnn.”

Palmer later apologised to Marcus Samuelsson, the celebrity chef behind the 2021 Met Gala menu, with the Hustlers star tweeting: “I just have different taste buds! I love this chef, sorry to this man.”

Palmer isn’t the only celebrity to break the “no social media” rule, as Priyanka Chopra previously shared a bathroom selfie featuring her, Tiffany Haddish, and Karlie Kloss from inside the 2018 Met Gala.

As for the performers, a former Vogue staffer previously told Bustle that “the performances always have every guest up from their tables and dancing,” while noting that the “decor is mouth-dropping” and the “high energy is palpable”.

According to Friedman, Katy Perry has performed during the event, while Bustle reported that Rihanna and The Weeknd have also performed live at the Met Gala.

As for whether you can simply purchase one of the Met Gala’s tickets to gain access into the exclusive event, the answer is no, as each guest is personally approved by Wintour, who began leading the annual gala in 1995.

This year’s Met Gala will take place on 1 May 2023. You can find everything to know about the theme here.