NEW YORK – He met Galas, he was a few. But James Corden, drunk at this year’s cocktail reception, looked around and declared that this could be his favorite yet.
“With class,” he explained. “It feels very elegant.”
The TV presenter waved his arm around the room, greeting the hundreds of guests who followed the dressmaking instructions (“golden glamor”) and came up with the best Golden Age galas they could muster. Elegant, shiny gold dresses. Classic black. and white. Tails and even some tophats. Headdresses and bundles and perhaps the complement of the night: the tiara, polished no less than by Anna Wintour of Vogue, who directs the gala, wearing a family heritage. Still allowing creativity, this was not . the night for the artfully ripped jeans.
Of course, take away a “class” letter and you have “class,” with all the complicated implications of channeling an era that has seen the creation of excessive wealth and income inequality in the United States. Some guests struggled with that thought as they reflected on the meaning of the night. Others have pointed out that the gala is funded by the Met’s Costume Institute, which hosts exhibitions such as “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” which opens this week and seeks to uncover unknown heroes and stories not told in the history of American fashion. , especially women. and women of color.
Others said the night was an important way to show that New York was back in full force, even with the pandemic still upon us. “We celebrate crafts and we celebrate America,” said famed chef Marcus Samuelsson, who this year also prepared the evening menu, choosing a list of chefs and taking the main course: a barbecue-style beef. he said, with corn and succotash. “We’re proving New York is back.”
Certainly the New York florists were back, if they hadn’t already been. The question is whether there were any pink roses left in the city after Monday’s gala. The outer steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art were lined with 50,000, with another 75,000 surrounding the centerpiece of the lobby. Another 150,000 roses bathed every inch of the Great Hall staircase, an impressive backdrop for the hosts ’reception line.
Also striking: the giant centerpiece, this year the tallest ever, was a 50-foot golden creation depicting the torch in Lady Liberty’s hand. (Museum officials said this year, for the first time, the centerpiece will remain in place another day, for public viewing).
As guests entered the red carpet, with crowds screaming outside, they passed a 12-member chamber orchestra that played American classics like “At Last” until dinner. After greeting Wintour and his famous hosts (Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Regina King), guests strolled through the Arms and Armor galleries to the American Wing and the huge Charles Engelhard Court, where cocktails were served. where the curators built a bridge to access the exhibition in the period rooms.
Guests usually avoid the cocktail display, but there was a decent influx of people in and out of the show, for which nine film directors were chosen to create film vignettes. It was, some of the directors said, an opportunity to engage in a different kind of storytelling.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Tom Ford, not just a fashion designer, but one of those nine directors. Ford assigned him a room with a large circular painting of Versailles and its gardens. he chose to dramatize the history of the Battle of Versailles – a night famous for American fashion in 1973, when American sportswear designers presented their French haute couture counterparts. Ford decided to stage a real conflict, which involved weapons such as fencing foils. “My 9-year-old son was watching a lot of‘ Mulan ’,” he joked when asked about his inspiration. “I’d better go see that now,” said actor and producer and director Mindy Kaling, who has been in talks with Ford. “Yes!” he encouraged her, and left.
Meanwhile, within the exhibition, Wilde’s (Autumn) director Autumn was showing her own work in the period rooms to friends. “That woman probably just lost the house with her game,” he said, pointing to a clearly distressed woman mannequin next to an overturned card table. “I wanted to show how messy people’s lives are,” he said. “A beautiful home does not mean a beautiful life.”
That’s when a real “Golden Age” character came in: actress Denée Benton, who stars in the HBO series of the same name. She congratulated Wilde on her work, and de Wilde told her she was “obsessed” with her show.
Benton may not have chosen to wear a bustle of the Golden Age, but Franklin Leonard did, two of them, actually. Leonard, a film executive who helped curator Andrew Bolton choose the diverse list of film directors for the show, said he was channeling Frederick Douglass with a coat that had not one bust but two, on each side, one of the smartest looks of the movie. night.
“I think it’s a double bustle,” he said, crediting designer Ken Nicholson. Leonard, attending his first gala, said it was a surreal experience. “I, the captain of the high school math team in Columbus, Georgia, never thought I was going to wear a Frederick Douglass-inspired double ball jacket at the Met Ball,” he said. “It wasn’t part of the plan.”
“Listen,” Leonard said, reflecting on the awkward balance between art and excess. “For all the excess, this is a fundraiser for the Costume Institute.” And he said he was proud to help put together the list of filmmakers for the show, which includes not only Ford and King gala hosts but also Radha Blank, Janicza Bravo, Sofia Coppola, Julie Dash, Wilde, Martin Scorsese and Chloé. Zhao. last year’s Oscar winner. “They were the best group of filmmakers there was,” he said.
Although many drinking cocktails and chewing coconut ceviche entrees were veterans of the gala, there were a number of firsts. Many commented that the most surreal thing was to see that concentration of stars from all walks of life, where there is always someone more famous around the corner. Or when, as happened on Monday, a funny band starts meandering between cocktails, with drums and tuba and a guy who leads it with a melodic, you look better and the melodic type is Jon Batiste, who just won five Grammys.
New York Mayor Eric Adams said he was delighted to attend his first gala. He wasn’t even the only mayor of New York to attend: Michael Bloomberg was there too.
Adams, who was wearing a tuxedo with the words “End Gun Violence” on the back and with symbols of the city he led for several months, he said he was thinking about the “very real” income inequality stemming from the Golden Age, while the city is now recovering from the pandemic.
Noting that the richest 2% of the city was represented in the room, he said his role was to “watch among these New Yorkers and talk about the problems that the other 98% of New Yorkers who are not in this room need … Not to divide us, but to unite. “
Adams also joked about a sensationalist news that he had been dying for years to come to the gala.
“They’ve been trying to get me to come for years,” he joked.
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Glitter, glamor and 275,000 pink roses
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