Here's what happens inside the Met Gala after the red carpet

Here’s what happens inside the Met Gala after the red carpet

On May 6, 2024, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will host its famous Met Gala to raise funds for The Costume Institute. The event will also kick off the latest costume exhibition titled “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” with “The Garden of Time” as the dress code. 

The institute was renovated in 2014 as the Anna Wintour Costume Center with the help of the Vogue editor-in-chief whose name is at its doors. A trustee of the Met, Wintour has spent decades growing the gala into what the museum calls one of the “most visible and successful charity events in the world.” 

“It was a society event. People weren’t very excited about going to it,” Wintour recounted to “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King in 2023. “To take it over and try to make a night out of it was quite intimidating.”

yearly theme and work to reference historic garments, incorporate innovative ideas and execute intricate concepts that resonate beyond the walls of the Met. 

“We are always interested in trying to reflect a cultural moment and what we feel is happening at the world in any given time,” Wintour said about the invitees. 

“Every year is different and we try and curate the guest list in a way that makes sense for whatever the theme of the exhibition is,” Wintour said. 

It’s been the setting of notable and much-discussed pop culture highlights, from Rihanna’s 2015 arrival in a lengthy Chinese cape, to Lady Gaga’s multi-faceted reveals at the 2019 Camp-themed gala. Within the last decade, fashion nerds, critics and consumers review the red carpet with keen precision to understand, through photos and videos, the efforts — and at times, mistakes— that go into preparing for the event.

Anna Wintour unveils Karl Lagerfeld exhibition ahead of Met Gala: His work “deserves celebration”


What does inside the Met Gala look like?

Though many have walked the steps into the museum and visited its exhibits, very few have done so wearing the finest pieces to party and spend thousands (sometimes millions) among titans in film, sports, business, music and society. That rarified allure is what draws many to follow and dissect the gala.

Hanan Besovic, the post-pandemic viral voice behind Instagram’s @ideservecouture, will have a seat adjacent to the action. He will join a handful of influencers at the Mark Hotel — where many gala-goers prep and primp for the event — on the day of the gala in the Upper East Side, five blocks from the Met. 

There, Besovic will watch the arrivals and make social content alongside a room of other fashion-obsessed creators hosted by Meta. 

As the hotel’s guests exit their temporary lair at the Mark after spending hours on hair, makeup and styling, they exit to a crowd of fans and press awaiting a first glimpse of their attire, before it’s time to line up by the museum’s steps. 

“Everybody has one minute of our attention and then there’s the next person,” Besovic said. 

Usually, the first to show up are the event chairs. This year Zendaya, Bad Bunny, Chris Hemsworth and Jennifer Lopez co-chair with Anna Wintour.

One by one, celebrities are carefully shuffled through the carpeted steps of the Met, where thousands of global outlets standby to photograph and record every angle. The seamless choreography is seen by what Vogue says is millions via its viral streams.

What happens at the Met Gala after the red carpet?

What happens next is what fuels the most intrigue. In a vast contrast to what goes on outside, most of what occurs inside of the Met is not recorded. 

“Those tickets are crazy expensive. The brands buy out tables,” Besovic said.

It’s widely known the night includes a dinner and a performance. Cher, Rihanna, Madonna and Lady Gaga have performed in years past, among the world’s most coveted art and notable artists.

Vogue is usually the only publication with the inside scoop. In 2023, they previewed the gala’s dinner portion, guided by what they say was one of Karl Lagerfeld‘s most famous gatherings: Paloma Picasso’s wedding reception.

Those dishes look dainty, colorful and healthy in Vogue’s images, featuring chilled spring pea soup and Ōra King salmon served on vintage plates with an assortment of fruit and vegetables for last year’s attendees.

Are pictures allowed inside the Met Gala?

“The only snippets that we get are from social media,” Besovic says about the event’s exclusivity.

Viral bathroom videos and selfies taken by celebrities are the only view inside. Katie Perry rushing back into her campy burger outfit for the 2019 gala after running into Jennifer Lopez near the stalls. The Kardashians posing with Paris Jackson and a gaggle of supermodels. Lil Nas X, Erykah Badu and Jack Harlow posing for a picture. Or, celebs post elevator videos, such as the viral moment with Reese Witherspoon chatting with Cara Delevingne, Zooey Deschanel and Kate Upton. These end up being the only glimpses inside the gala to scroll through before common folk hit the hay.

What else do they do at the Met Gala?

As the gala ends, guests rush to the after-parties, many of whom bounce around New York City all night long. The Standard Hotel’s “Boom Boom Room” usually hosts A-listers — in 2023, singer and actress Janelle Monáe was at the helm, according to Women’s Wear Daily. 

Brands and designers also unleash more fashion moments during the after-parties.

In 2016, when model Karlie Kloss hit the town after the gala, American designer Brandon Maxwell adapted her outfit for the “afters” by cutting her structured gown into a mini. This year, designers Jean Paul Gaultier and Shayne Oliver will debut a capsule collection, featuring about 50 pieces in the collaboration.