The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute has held an annual fundraiser since 1948, called the Constume Institute Gala, but usually known as the “Met Gala” or “Met Ball.” The Met Gala has frequently been called the “Party of the Year”—a nickname that was used for the very first event in 1948.
The Met Gala has also been called the “Oscars of the East Coast.” Famous guests walk on a red carpet, much like at the film industry’s “Oscars" (Academy Awards).
The Met: The Costume Institute
The fashion industry funds the work of The Costume Institute, including its exhibitions, acquisitions, and capital improvements. Each May, the annual Gala Benefit, its primary fund-raising event, celebrates the opening of the spring exhibition. Under the leadership of Trustee Anna Wintour (Artistic Director of Condé Nast and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue), who has been co-chair since 1995 (excluding 1996 and 1998), the gala has become one of the most visible and successful charity events, drawing attendees from the fashion, film, society, business, and music industries. The brainchild of publicity doyenne Eleanor Lambert, the benefit was introduced in 1948 as a midnight supper and dubbed “The Party of the Year.” Co-chairs in past years included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1977–1978) and Patricia Taylor Buckley (1979–1995).
Wikipedia: Met Gala
The Met Gala, formally called the Costume Institute Gala and also known as the Met Ball, is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It marks the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. Each year’s event celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition, and the exhibition sets the tone for the formal dress of the night, since guests are expected to choose their fashion to match the theme of the exhibit. Each year the event also has honorary celebrity event day chairpersons.
The Costume Institute Gala is a major fundraising benefit that serves as an opening celebration for the Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. Following the event, the exhibition runs for several months.
1 November 1948, Women’s Wear Daily, pg. 45, col. 4:
Patrons Listed for “Party of the Year”
An impressive list of patrons has been assembled for the “Party of the Year,” to be held Thursday night, Nov. 18, in the Rainbow Room for the benefit of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
New York (NY) Times
Still Boasting at 50: ‘Party of the Year’
Published: December 13, 1998
Dec. 7: The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrated its 50th anniversary ‘’Party of the Year,’’ the museum’s largest annual benefit. This year, it raised more than $1.5 million and drew 3,150 guests. The first party, in 1948 at the Rainbow Room, was attended by 400 and raised $20,000. Irene Lewisohn and a group of her theater friends founded the institute in 1937 as the Museum of Costume Art, at 16 West 46th Street. They had been collecting costumes since the 1920’s for their Neighborhood Playhouse, on Grand Street. When Seventh Avenue was cut off from Paris by the war, they opened the collection to the fashion industry. At first, the party was a fashion industry event, with live pageants. The collection moved to the Met in 1946, and the first party held in the museum was in 1960, the year the institute became a full-fledged department. It wasn’t until 1972 with the arrival of Diana Vreeland and her extravagant exhibitions that the party evolved into the city’s top social event.
Fashion preview of Met Costume Institute “party of the year” opening on Monday night http://snurl.com/h7uw8
10:18 AM - 2 May 2009
Of all the events on the New York social scene, the Royal Gala Costume Ball at the Met is THE “Party of the Year”... http://dlvr.it/SnJLD
3:23 AM - 24 May 2011
Savage Beauty, Alexander McQueen, “The Party of the Year” - the Met’s Costume Institute Gala - May 2011. http://fb.me/15XAENfCE
8:12 AM - 22 Jul 2011
New York (NY) Times
A Party to Mark the Party of the Year
By MATTHEW SCHNEIER APRIL 15, 2016
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which draws millions of visitors every year, is closed only four days out of 365: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and the first Monday in May.
That last, though not yet an internationally recognized holiday, is nevertheless a holiday recognized internationally: It is the annual Met Gala, the most celebrated benefit in global fashion and New York society, toasting the opening of the spring exhibition of the museum’s Costume Institute. It is of a magnitude that effectively shuts down the city’s social thrum for the evening; it also shuts down the Met.
New York (NY) Times
What Is the Met Gala, and Who Gets to Go?
ON THE RUNWAY MAY 2, 2016
Officially, it’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit, a black-tie extravaganza held the first Monday in May to raise money for the Costume Institute (a.k.a. the fashion department), the only one of the Met’s curatorial departments that has to fund itself.
Unofficially, Monday night’s festivities in New York have been called many things, including “the party of the year,” “the Oscars of the East Coast” (mostly because of the star quotient and the elaborate red carpet, in which guests pose on the grand entrance stairs to the museum) and, somewhat pointedly, “an A.T.M. for the Met,” by the publicist Paul Wilmot.
#MetGala: The Oscars of the East Coast
From the red carpet looks to the masterpieces in the exhibition, the Met Gala is just a reminder that fashion matters.
By Eros Liu - May 4, 2016
It’s that time of year again: the Met Gala. Officially, the Gala is the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s benefit, an extravaganza held the first Monday in May to raise money for the Costume Institute. This major Monday night’s festivities in New York has been called many other names, including “the party of the year,” as well as, “the Oscars of the East Coast,” mainly because stars from the industry pose on the grand entrance stairs to the museum.
Life With Luggage
August 4, 2016 at 5:23am ·
Forget the Met Ball… The party of the year is the Fur Ball. The Algonquin Hotel’s annual birthday bash for its feline-in-residence is August 10th. Proceeds from Matilda’s birthday benefit the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. For tickets: https://www.501auctions.com/algonquincelebration