copy short urlprintemail
+ A
A -
Met Galas, he’s been to a few. But James Corden, schmoozing at this year’s cocktail reception, looked around and pronounced that this might be his favorite yet.
“Classy,” he explained. “It just feels really classy.”
The TV host waved his arm around the room, taking in the hundreds of guests who’d followed the sartorial instructions – “gilded glamour” — and came in the best Gilded Age finery they could muster. Elegant gowns, shimmering with gold. Classic black and white. Tails and even some tophats. Headpieces and bustles and perhaps the accessory of the night: the tiara, sported by none other than Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who runs the gala, wearing a family heirloom. Even allowing for creativity, this was not the night for artfully ripped jeans.
Of course, take one letter off “classy” and you have “class,” with all the tricky implications of channeling an era that saw the creation of excessive wealth and income inequality in the United States. Some guests wrestled with that thought as they pondered the meaning of the evening. Others pointed out, accurately, that the gala funds the Met’s Costume Institute, allowing for exhibits such “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” which opens this week and explores unsung heroes and untold stories in American fashion history, especially women, and women of color.
Others said the night was an important way of showing that New York was back in full force, even with the pandemic still upon us. “We’re celebrating craftsmanship and we’re celebrating America,” said celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who again this year curated the night’s menu, choosing a slate of female chefs and taking on the main course himself — a barbecue-style beef, he said, with corn and succotash. “We’re showing that New York is back.”
Certainly New York florists were back, if they hadn’t been already. The question is whether there were any pink roses left in the city after Monday’s gala. The outside steps to the Metropolitan Museum of Art were lined with 50,000, with another 75,000 surrounding the lobby centerpiece. Another 150,000 roses bathed every inch of the Great Hall staircase — a striking backdrop for the hosts’ receiving line.
As guests entered from the red carpet, with crowds screaming outside, they passed a 12-piece chamber orchestra that played American classics like “At Last” until dinner. After greeting Wintour and her celebrity hosts (Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Regina King) guests wandered through the Arms and Armor galleries toward the American Wing and the huge Charles Engelhard Court, where cocktails were served and where curators built a bridge to access the exhibit in the period rooms.
Usually, guests eschew the exhibit for the cocktails, but there was a decent flow of people in and out of the show, for which nine film directors were tapped to create cinematic vignettes. It was, said some of the directors, a chance to engage in a different kind of storytelling.
copy short url   Copy