Fashion

Met Gala 2019: Who is on the very select guest list (and why)?

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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This is how to score a ticket to the most glitzy night in fashion. 

At the risk of sounding like Sean Bean in The Lord of the Rings franchise: one does not simply walk into the Met Gala.

Who scores an invite (and who doesn’t) to what is known as the most exclusive event on the yearly fashion calendar is a dark and mysterious art. Some say that you need to be personally selected by Anna Wintour, the Met Gala’s chair since 1995. (Here’s an idea of what the exclusive event looked like in 2009.) Others whisper that if you can front up some cash you can buy your way in.

What is the truth? Well, it’s a little bit column A and a little bit column B. You can buy your way into the Met Gala by paying for your ticket, proceeds of which go towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art itself. The cost of buying a ticket in 2019 is $35,000, or you can purchase an entire table for between $200,000 and $300,000. (This is a $5,000 increase on individual tickets from 2018.) 

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It’s rare for the guests themselves to be the ones who pay, though. The cost of a ticket is weathered by the designers, brands and businesses who purchase entire tables, which leaves them at liberty to invite their own celebrity guests to sit with them. 

Rihanna was a co-chair of the 2018 Met Gala

So how do those guests get chosen? Sometimes it’s because they have an existing relationship with a fashion brand. Ambassadors and ‘friends’ of fashion houses are the likely recipients of a coveted designer’s plus one ticket. 

But Vogue staffers, under the watchful eye of Wintour herself, will also compile lists of the hottest names in cinema, music and modelling to be curated by the magazine team and disseminated among fashion brands to cherry pick at will. If you’re a buzzy actress in the movie-of-the-moment, for example, you can expect to find yourself at the top of everyone’s list for Met Gala access.

You can also get invited the old-fashioned way: by making a donation. The Met Gala exists to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which is the wing of the museum that organises fashion exhibitions. It’s why the Met Gala guestlist is a mish-mash of longterm donors – with storied American high society surnames you’ll almost certainly recognise – and the biggest A-list stars. If you’ve donated a serious amount of money to the museum, you can expect your name to be on the guestlist.

Blake Lively at the Met Gala

Blake Lively

The other ways to score an invite are a little bit more inside baseball. Firstly, if you work for the Gala itself or for Vogue, you’re pretty much guaranteed an invitation, though the downside is that you have to work the event. Secondly, if you work for a sponsor for the Gala then you can be sure that you’ll make your way onto the guestlist. Lastly, it helps to be related to Anna Wintour in some way. (You’ll always see Wintour’s daughter Bee Schaffer walking the red carpet, for example.)

Who is on the 2019 Met Gala guestlist? 

Now that we’ve cleared that up, who is going to be on the guestlist at the 2019 event? Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Wintour has dished on some of the 183 names who form part of the Met Gala’s committee and are the first people to be invited to the ball.

Some 48% of the committee, according to Wintour, are celebrities, though “the committee isn’t reflective of the Met Gala guest list,” she told the magazine. 

Serving on the committee this year are Bradley Cooper, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. You can expect all of these celebrities to walk the red carpet at the ball in May along with, in Cooper, Boseman and Nyong’o’s case, their plus ones. (For Cooper, that will most probably be his girlfriend Irina Shayk.) 

Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk

Also confirmed on the guestlist are Wintour’s co-chairs for the evening’s events: Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles and Alessandro Michele, the creative director of the Gala’s sponsor Gucci. All of these will be able to bring a plus one, which for Williams will most likely be her husband Alexis Ohanian. Lady Gaga might bring the same plus one she brought to the Oscars, her sister Natalie.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Wintour confirmed a few extra names. Bryan Lourd and Ryan Murphy, co-creators of the television show Feud, will be attending. Cher, whose costumes feature in the exhibition, is also on the guestlist. 

The fashion invitees include Tom Ford, Donatella Versace, Miuccia Prada, Pierpaolo Piccioli from Valentino and Meghan Markle’s wedding dress designer Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy. Williams’ sister Venus is also invited, as is Kerry Washington and her husband Nnamdi Asomugha. In the philanthropist realm, guests include Annette de la Renta, Wendi Murdoch and Sean and Alexandra Parker. From the Hollywood world there’s Jared Leto, Katy Perry, Lena Waithe, Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas.

This is only a slice of the 500-strong guestlist that will walk up the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s famous steps on the first Monday in May. Only then will we have a sense of who has received a golden ticket to fashion’s most exclusive party. And, crucially, what they’ll be wearing. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel.

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