Believe it or not, it is almost time for the first Monday in May, otherwise known as the MET Ball. If you subscribe to my Bulletin (which I hope you do), you’ll remember that I styled nine clients for last year’s MET, which was in September. You can read more about those “In America” looks here.
Although the 2021 MET was a real success for my clients, it was acutely hard on me, and my team. The timing was just rough. Because of the pandemic, the Ball was pushed to September, which also happened to be the same month as the Emmys, and more.
We were overworked and it was also just, weird timing. We’d just come out of quarantine, we were still deep in the grief of it all, and I don’t think we had a clear sense of where we were headed. Everything felt a bit off.
And yet, despite last year, this week I found myself feeling excited. Real, true, excitement.
I’ve decided that this year, I’m making the MET an opportunity to look towards the future. I’m doing things differently. I don’t have as many clients going, and I actually said no to styling extras. Which is something I would have never done before. But like I said, this MET is about the future. And saying “no” is part of my future.
The theme, as you may know, is Gilded Glamour. The Gilded Age.
It’s an interesting idea. Of course, the “Gilded Age” is a period known for an abundance of wealth and success in society. As a side effect, it was also a time of great economic disparity. Which of course, is not too dissimilar for the period of time we’re currently living in.
Anna Wintour expressed that she really wants the attendees to lean into glamour. After two years of Zoom, I do respect the desire to dress up. So instead of being turned off by this idea of celebrating all things shiny, I’m studying how women in The Gilded Age expressed themselves. It was a period where a woman’s role in society was very much limited. And yet, the fashion was remarkable.
I’m taking inspiration from the era, and thinking hard about what power, glamour, and excess mean to us today. I’m finding references and mining each of our designers’ archives for new ideas and inspiration. I’m paying respect to the traditions of the Ball, while staying true to our current reality.
I just love this sort of work. I love digging through archives and finding old references and imagining new ways of adapting our fashion traditions.
And hey, let’s be honest. It’s also springtime in New York City. Which is my favorite time to be in the city.
So yes, we’re coming back to the MET.
And I couldn’t be more excited.
Hofball in Wien. Aquarell, Wilhelm Gause, 1900, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien
Howard Chandler Christy's painting Halloween, as reproduced in Scribner's in January 1916
Mrs. Sidney Smith, P. A. Clark, Mrs. James T. Burden, Stanford White, James Henry Smith, Norman Whitehouse, Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish and Sidney Smith (seated) at the 1905 James Hazen Hyde costume ball.Credit...Byron Company/The Museum of the City of New York/Art Resource, NY