Vogue editor Anna Wintour attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibition on May 6, 2019, in New York Source: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File

Wake Up, Sleeping Beauties. It's Almost Met Gala Time


True love's kiss or an invite to the Met Gala? Those in the rarified ranks of international celebrity – and Anna Wintour's good graces – need not choose.

Stars of film, fashion, music, sports, politics and social media will ascend the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the first Monday in May – May 6, that is – to sip cocktails, have dinner and sample the new exhibit, "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion." As fashion's biggest night approaches, it's time for The Associated Press to issue the 2024 version of our annual guide.

It started in 1948 as a society midnight supper, and wasn't even at the Met. Fast forward 70-plus years, and it's one of the most photographed events in the world, renowned for its head-spinning red carpet – though the carpet isn't always red.

It's important to note, though, that the party has a purpose, raising money for the Met's Costume Institute – nearly $22 million last year, a record for the self-funding department – and launching the annual spring exhibit that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the museum.

But it's the carpet itself that draws the world's eyes, with the 400-strong guest list the subject of rabid speculation until the last minute – a collection of luminaries that arguably makes for the highest celebrity wattage-per-square-foot of any party in the world.

Who's Hosting This Year?

"Anna Wintour Me Preguntó," Bad Bunny could sing. Multi-hyphenate Jennifer Lopez adds yet another role to her busy year. And then there are two Marvel stars who have been spending a lot of time in the desert lately: Zendaya, who has continued to stun on red carpets with her "Dune" and "Challengers" looks, and Chris Hemsworth, who is trading in Mjolnir for the upcoming "Furiosa." (Hemsworth is, in fact, a first-time gala attendee. )

And, of course, Wintour herself.

What Does the Met Gala Theme Mean?

The theme revolves around "sleeping beauties," but has little to do with fairytales. "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion," the title of the accompanying exhibit, refers to garments from the Costume Institute's collection that have been "in slumber" and now will be on display, some too fragile to hang upright lest they disintegrate. Curator Andrew Bolton picked 250 pieces spanning four centuries.

The theme is accompanied by a dress code – this year, it's "The Garden of Time." The theme and dress code are often interpreted ... loosely. So there's a chance you may see an Aurora on the carpet, after all.

How Much Do I Have to Pay for a Met Gala Ticket?

Wrong question. You cannot just buy a ticket. The right question is: If I were famous or powerful and got invited, how much would it cost?

OK, if I Were Famous or Powerful and Got Invited, How Much Would It Cost?

Well, you might not pay yourself. Generally companies buy tables. A fashion label would then host its desired celebrities. Tickets have in the past cost $50,000 for an individual, and $300,000 or more for a table.

How Can I Watch?

You can watch the whole carpet unfold on a Vogue livestream. If you're in New York, you can also join fans across the street, behind barricades, on Fifth Avenue or even further east on Madison. And the AP will have a livestream of departures from the Mark Hotel, where many gala guests get ready.

What Happens Inside?

Entering the museum, guests walk past what is usually an impossibly enormous flower arrangement in the lobby, with perhaps an orchestra playing nearby, and over to cocktails. Or, they head to view the exhibit. Cocktails are about 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., followed by dinner, but the most famous – or those who plan to make the biggest entrance – sometimes come (fashionably) later.

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