Why Would Anyone Pay That Much for a Party?
Ms. Wintour, the editor of American Vogue and the artistic director of Condé Nast, first became chairwoman in 1995. She took over annual leadership in 1999. Since then, she has been instrumental in transforming a local philanthropic event into the ultimate global celebrity/power cocktail: Take a jigger of famous names from fashion, add film, politics and business, and mix.It has become the gold standard of parties; that by which other benefits are measured. It’s such a heady combo that President Trump proposed to his wife, Melania, during the gala in 2004. (In case you are wondering: No, they are not expected this year.). It is among the hardest party tickets of the year to get — and thus, intensely coveted.
But Wait: Isn’t the Current Pope All About Poverty and Inclusion? How Does That Work?
If the Vatican doesn’t see a problem with it — and it has given a seal of approval, lending approximately 50 pieces from the Sistine Chapel Sacristy — then should you? The reasoning seems to be: Anything that celebrates Catholicism and opens it up to a broader audience is a good thing, and these exhibitions are that.
Both major Costume Institute shows in 2015 and 2016 drew the magic over-700,000 number of visitors, which makes them among the most-visited Met shows. Still, the show’s curator, Andrew Bolton, was careful to separate the church’s clothes from the designer clothes. The sacred pieces will be exhibited by themselves in the Anna Wintour Costume Center and the profane will reside in a separate space.
How Many People Get to Go to the Party?
Last year, about 550. But that was a more intimate event for a more intimate show, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” which was devoted to the cultlike Japanese designer who once said her goal with one collection was “not to make clothes.”
By contrast, “Heavenly Bodies” will be the biggest exhibition the Costume Institute has produced — about 58,600 square feet, stretching over three galleries: the Anna Wintour Costume Center and the medieval rooms in the Met on Fifth Avenue, and the Cloisters in far northern Manhattan — and odds are the gala will be equally ambitious.