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Before I started activity in 2009, it was afore amusing media and afore anybody had admission to aggregate at all times. So there was article so abstruse about it. I didn’t apperceive what actually happened at the Met gala, but I aloof knew that whoever absolved that red carpeting was transported to accession universe.

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I had no clue what the Met ablaze was until Robert Isabell, in 1995, said: “We’re activity to be animate on the Met this year.” Robert, at that time, did everyone’s weddings: the Miller sisters’ weddings, John F. Kennedy Jr.’s wedding, Whitney Houston’s wedding, Sarah Jessica Parker’s wedding. He was the guy to call. It was the Haute Couture exhibition and I was his abettor and actually abaft the scenes.

I consistently bethink Kim [Kardashian West] talking about [the Met gala] a lot. Aback I aboriginal started accepting into fashion, I anticipation of it as this adorable experience. It was so air-conditioned to me, that I thought, Oh, there’s no way I’ll anytime be arrive to this…. I anticipate aback she aboriginal told me about it, she had not alike gone yet herself.

I anticipate I became acquainted of the Met ablaze aback I went with Gianni Versace. I don’t apperceive who the aboriginal actuality I went with was, but I was acid Versace and I apperceive Gianni Versace, Donatella Versace, Christy Turlington, and Paul Beck were there. Perhaps alike Santo Versace.

When I was growing up, the Met ablaze was, for me, one of those mystical things that bodies aloof dream about but never actually experience. The aboriginal time I really, actually became bedeviled with it was the year aback Kate Moss went with Marc Jacobs and she had that turban on. It was aloof such a memorable moment for me, because Kate was such a British figure for me. That account went everywhere. I actually bethink seeing it in the newspapers, and that’s aback I accomplished the adeptness of fashion.

When I was about 12, Sofia [Coppola] alien me to the actualization world; I met Marc Jacobs and got to attack with him and I met the Rodarte sisters. It was apparently the year afore I got arrive that I became aware. I was actually a actualization aficionado myself. I would consistently accessory at and annoyance all the models’ photos into altered folders assimilate my computer. I was super-obsessed.

You knew about the Met ablaze aback you were activity to academy at Parsons, but it seemed like such a absent affair that was accident to accession on Mars or article like that.

I would see big celebrities accomplishing this absurd red carpeting every year. And I didn’t apperceive actually what it was, but I was amorous by the glamorousness of it all.

I vividly bethink that Women’s Abrasion Circadian acclimated to do these absurd covers the day afterwards the Met gala, which was afresh actual New York–society-centric. They would accord the accessory ladies, and I anticipate sometimes the men but principally the ladies, stars from one to bristles stars and the F.V. for actualization victim, which of advance was the best baleful thing. John Fairchild was a actual adamant editor in arch and Women’s Abrasion Circadian had the array of knife out for assertive socialites. I bethink one year he put F.V. beneath Audrey Hepburn, who, I charge say, was acid a actual uncharacteristically over-the-top dress, a blood-soaked glassy with a lot of feathers.

It was aback Princess Diana attended. I anticipate Liz Tilberis [then the editor in arch at Harper’s Bazaar] was the armchair that year and Princess Diana was one of the cochairs or, at least, one of the hosts. I became acquainted mainly because John Galliano had aloof been appointed aesthetic administrator at Dior and he fabricated this absurd bias-cut blooper dress for Princess Diana, and it was the aboriginal apparel that John fabricated beneath the aesthetic administration at Dior. That’s the aboriginal time the Met ablaze came assimilate my radar; it was for the aperture for the Christian Dior exhibition [in 1996].

A adroit Jacqueline Kennedy walks through the galleries at the 1979 Met gala.

Princess Diana all-powerful in Dior at the 1996 Met gala.

Nan Kempner and Pat Buckley at the 1977 Met gala.

The ladies, bodies like Nan Kempner, Pat Buckley, and Jackie Kennedy, I had been afterward them and attractive at them on the pages of Faddy aback I could remember—since I was apparently 12 or 13. And the angle of affair Mrs. Vreeland there was just…for me, it was Valhalla.

The aboriginal time that I started to deep-dive into it, to actually pay attention, was the year aback Sarah Jessica Parker wore a mohawk at the Alexander McQueen show. That was the year I affectionate of started to dream about actuality there.

I aboriginal knew of [the Met gala] aback Diana Vreeland was there. Aback in the library, at college, there was the book of her aboriginal exhibition at the Met, which was covered in gold brocade, and it was a Hollywood [“Romantic and Alluring Hollywood Design”] exhibition from 1974. I was at Central Saint Martins in London afresh and it was 1976 and we were all punks, acid elastic and accoutrement and blind about in the library with a canteen of red wine hidden in our bag. But then, I saw this book and I looked central it and aloof marveled at the images and the story. It was alleged Hollywood something, article Glamour. It was the best amazing affair I had anytime seen. I approved to abduct the book but I was begin out by the actually alarming librarian who basically rugby tackled me as I approved to skip over the access to the library…. About 15 years ago, I bought a archetype at bargain in absolute action for actually actually a bit of money.

Diana Vreeland, amidst by masked models and actresses for 1974’s “Romantic and Alluring Hollywood Design” exhibition.

The aboriginal year I went was the year Oprah [Winfrey] and Lady Gaga hosted. I remember, up on the staircase, were Anna [Wintour], Oprah, and all the cochairs. I had dressed Michelle Obama for her White House Correspondents’ Banquet in this red clothes aloof a few canicule prior, and aback Oprah saw me she said, “Oh Prabal,” and she gave me a big hug. She was like, “Michelle looked actually wonderful. Michelle looked amazing!”

I larboard Robert [Isabell] in 2004 and afresh Anna [Wintour] asked me to appear and advice her with the event. It was the 2007 Met gala, it was Paul Poiret. That was my aboriginal one and apparently still my admired to this day.

The actual aboriginal Met ablaze I went to I was 13, and it was the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibition. I went with Valentino and I went with my sister and, my god, it was aloof an absurd experience. I was freaking out that I was so adolescent and that they arrive me to go. I was sat abutting to Franca Sozzani. I wore this little—I looked like a little Oreo, in the best way—navy and white applique little abbreviate skirt.

A adolescent Elle Fanning wears bubbling Valentino couture at the 2011 Met gala.

Co chairs Tom Ford and Nicole Kidman admix with Adrien Brody at the 2003 Met gala.

Kendall Jenner wears a blush-pink Topshop to the 2014 gala.

Rita Ora in Thakoon at the 2013 Met gala.

The aboriginal Met ablaze I went to […] I was so advantageous because I had aloof started in 2002 and so it was “Goddess: The Classical Mode,” and it was amazing because Gucci was a sponsor that year, and Tom Ford was one of the cochairs. And he was advancing with Nicole Kidman and that was all arranged. And what was amazing is that aback Nicole arrived, with Tom, they additionally brought Adrien Brody, and that year they both won the Oscars. I anticipate Nicole for The Hours and Adrien for The Pianist. So you had Tom who was actually the best acclaimed artist at that time with these two Oscar winners convoying him up the red carpet. It was actually extraordinary, I bethink actually clearly.

My aboriginal year was “Charles James [:Beyond Fashion]” and I went with Topshop…. At that time I was too abashed to booty any crazy risks, because I was aloof so new and still accession it all out. So, I anticipation my dress was actually absolute for me, abnormally for my age, the time, and who I was activity with.

[When I accomplished I was attending,] I don’t apperceive if I cried or if I vomited, because it would be the scariest one minute of my life, accepting to go up those stairs. But I was aloof so honored. I thought, I can’t accept I’ve fabricated it to the point breadth I can authority my own at such a able accident with such inspiring, affecting bodies from all over the world. To be able to airing assimilate that carpeting was aloof such a huge honor. It aloof fabricated me feel so abundant bigger and assured about what I had been accomplishing in my life. It’s like a certification.

Kim Kardashian West (wearing intricately abstract Roberto Cavalli) and Kanye West at the 2015 Met gala.

Beyoncé (in about arduous Givenchy) and Jay-Z at the 2015 Met gala.

I anticipate I aboriginal heard of the Met ablaze aback I got the appointment to shoot central the accident in 2015. I anticipate I looked at Larry Fink photos the night afore because I was super-nervous and I abide to be afraid the night afore that affair anniversary year. It’s the abutting my job comes to, like, aggressive sports. Not that it’s competitive, but the stakes and the befalling are so alien and the timeframe is so short. It’s one of these times breadth you feel like you can’t alike allow to blink.

It was consistently actual nice because Gianni Versace, aback he had to do any of these accessible events, he consistently arrive us. It was actually affectionate of him to appetite to allure us, the models, and he consistently did to whatever accessible accident he had to do or if he had to accept an accolade of any kind. He didn’t accept to allure us so it was aloof nice to be arrive to adore a nice atramentous with him and Donatella.

Tommy Hilfiger was actual accommodating to allure me. We had put a lot of assignment into the Tommy x Zendaya accumulating and he’s such a acceptable person, he said, “You know, you deserve to appear and bless with us.”

I started animate with Mrs. Vreeland at the Met afterwards bottomward out of art school, and one of the best genitalia of the Met gala, or the Affair of the Year, which it was afresh called, was the agents affair the night before—the attic was opened up to all the bodies that formed on the exhibition and it was like their own little centralized party. It was very, actual charming. And everybody went—the installers, the ablaze guys, everybody, everybody. It was actually apparently the best fun allotment of it all.

I went aboriginal as a affiliate of the Faddy team, and at that time, if my anamnesis serves me right–I was aggravating to accessory things up, but they aren’t alike on Google–but it would alternating amid Faddy and Harper’s Bazaar every added year. I bethink actuality at Mrs. Vreeland’s actualization for Saint Laurent. It was at that Met, it was bench in the basement; I bethink that was actually an exhibition. God, I’ve been going…can we not say for how long? Half a century! I don’t anticipate I’ve actually absent a year if I’m activity to be actually honest.

Yves Saint Laurent, an animate Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, and Bill Blass at the 1983 Met gala.

Well, the abominable affair is that I can’t bethink which Met ablaze was my aboriginal one. Isn’t that aloof awful? I bethink Blaine Trump and Pat Buckley; I was at the Dior exhibition in 1995 and I anticipate I adeptness accept been at “Haute Couture” the antecedent year. Aback then, it was a lot of the admirable amusing women in haute couture and some American designers. The atmosphere was candidly rather Edith Wharton; there wasn’t actually a faculty of a abundant cultural mix or array of uptown, city mix so much. And afresh with Anna [Wintour] it became abundant added the Faddy mix, aloft society—sports and backroom and tech and band by layer, all those elements got added.

I anticipate 1980 was the Met ablaze that I went to. Aback in those canicule it was not the aboriginal Monday in May, it was in December. And I met Vera [Wang] while I was designing for a abundance in New York alleged Lothar’s…. And she alleged me out of the dejected and she said, “Do you appetite to go to the brawl after-party at the Apparel Institute?” Of course, afore she accomplished the sentence, I said, “Sure, when?!” Rather than abrasion atramentous tie, Vera was acid my design: a charmeuse slip—a little annihilation of a dress—with a mohair sweater angry about her waist and a bottomward jacket. Actually breaking the rules for atramentous tie. In the aboriginal days, it was not actually a lot of bodies in the brawl business, it actually was the New York amusing apple and you would watch best of them leave afterwards banquet if you were accessory the brawl affair in the Temple of Dendur. I anticipate Vera and I saw bodies like Nan Kempner, and Lee Radziwill, and Pat Buckley, and all of the ladies advancing out of the banquet portion. And abominably that night was the night that John Lennon was assassinated. And it started snowing and there were no corpuscle phones. Somehow the chat got out that he had been attempt and, of course, we all left. It was such a sad moment. Also, I anticipate at the time we didn’t apprehend that this had happened aloof beyond the park. We affectionate of acquainted like we were there.

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A army of mourners holds a candlelight acuity for John Lennon in 1980.

We architecture the carpet, the entrance, the Abundant Hall. It takes an absolute year to plan and aftermath and to get aggregate done in a anniversary in the building so it’s done in time for the party. For the architecture in the Abundant Hall, we assignment through the night from Sunday at 7 p.m. aback the building is bankrupt and everybody is gone, until apex or 2 p.m. on Monday. By that time, we accept to apple-pie up and be abiding we are accessible to accessible the doors.

I accomplished that it’s abundant bigger to alpha your beard and architecture early, so you’re not fatigued out and you’re not late. Normally the auberge you’re blockage in, everybody is blockage in, and to get your car is a accomplished mess. It’s the affliction cartage in the world. [Even though] you are blockage so abutting [to the Met], it takes you about an hour to get there. I can get all-overs accessible because I apperceive Anna would not be blessed if you’re late. Anybody has a assertive time that they’re declared to be there!

Controlling the crowds and assurance is consistently our capital priority. We’re aggravating to accept the littlest appulse on the community, the Upper East Side, and adjacent residents. Accepting this actual ample and active assembly off smoothly, it’s actual hard. We accept to try to ascendancy cartage on Fifth Avenue, because we can’t shut it bottomward and accept to accumulate cartage flowing. We accept to facilitate a declivity and analeptic with 160 to 200 atramentous cars as calmly as possible; accepting them in, accepting them out securely, not accepting bodies crash, which we’ve had in the past. There are anywhere amid 5,000 and 8,000 bodies that army to Fifth Avenue to try and celebrity sightsee. It’s tough.

Crowds band up alfresco the Met to bolt a glimpse of celebrities on their way to the Met gala.

The amusement of accoutrement and animate on Met as I did from 2013 to the 2019 was cerebration of every accessible way of cogent the story, with basal arrest to the accident itself, with as abounding credibility of actualization on that experience. It was as admitting we snuck into the building to array of admix and assignment like ninjas amid the guests. It was a absolute amusement to see Casey Neistat achieve videos; Brandon [Stanton] from Humans of New York acquaint people’s belief of the Met; and to see annihilation Daniel Arnold, Cass Bird, Bardia Zeinali, and Gordon von Steiner did as well.

It’s two canicule breadth all the celebrities appear in and eat, drink, beddy-bye at the Mark. It seems like a actually fun coma party, you know, with everybody beneath one roof, except that instead of, like, the bodies actuality in their sweats, everybody’s dressed to annihilate and attractive awfully alluring and sexy.

Selena Gomez in the building galleries at the 2017 Met gala.

A Met agents affiliate photographed the night of the 2017 Met gala.

First of all, go with the theme. Sometimes you appetite to stick to it carefully or you aloof accord a nod to it. It depends on the babe I am taking, but the catechism to ask is, “What do you appetite to acquaint the apple with what you wearing?”

Working on the headpieces for the “Anglomania” exhibition, I was thinking, Well, if I were aback in jailbait times, but animate how to achieve hats as I do now, what would I like to have? So I fabricated a Mohican out of cigarettes and I fabricated him a Mohican out of tampons, which actually went afore the building board. And it was actually actually funny because all the men were saying, “I don’’ apperceive if we can accept this?” And all the girls are laughing. It had to go afore the board, the cigarettes got through but not the tampons at first. I mean, what a chaotic world—just shows you, doesn’t it?

Headpieces advised by milliner Stephen Jones for “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion.”

Headpieces advised by milliner Stephen Jones for “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion.”

We assignment appealing backward accepting the exhibition up and we are there actual backward the night before, so it’s a admixture of burnout and bliss that I feel the night of the Met gala. You’ve accomplished this with your team, to put the exhibition on. And by that point, I’ve tweaked it so abundant because I’m array of an amaranthine tweaker. I actually do airing abroad from it. I’m still bribery up to the columnist preview, but already that has happened and I’m at the gala, I do see that as the end of me array of animate on the exhibition.

Katy Perry’s Moschino chandelier was a accomplished thing. It advised 50 pounds and the ambit of that accessory accustomed for aloof an inch and a division to ablaze the building door. I got the account of the chandelier and afresh I flagged the dimensions, like, can we alike get it this in? And there was a lot of aback and alternating on how we were activity to get her hat on and because it was array powered, how continued that array was activity live. We capital to achieve abiding that it’s as analytical as accessible with these entries so we had to time her accession so she didn’t accept to bypass the band because everyone’s important. So it was a little bit tricky. Afresh aback she was inside, she afflicted from her chandelier into a burger. I aloof ambition she had been a hot dog because it was actual difficult for her to get in amid some of the tables in the dining room.

Katy Perry had the ablaze abstraction to abrasion Moschino on the red carpeting of the 2019 Met gala.

Perry afresh afflicted into a adorable Moschino accessory already central the building at the 2019 Met gala.

You accept a best as a designer: Either you embrace the affair actually and you’re able to assassinate that to the best of your ability, or you actually aloof achieve it about your own actualization as a brand, no amount what the affair is. I anticipate bathrobe one to three bodies is manageable, but aback you alpha to get aloft bristles on that affectionate of night…it charge be acutely intense. Alike with stylists, I can’t alike imagine. It’s a lot to manage; it’s like managing a mini football team, but everybody’s in a altered uniform.

We accept a lot of requests that go through Sophie [Pape] for celebrities. Aback she calls me and she says, “Hey Mike, you know, celebrity X, Y, and Z wants to do this.” And I say “They appetite to do what? That’s not safe!” One celebrity aftermost year, her accouterments was actual active and she couldn’t fit in a approved car. So they were proposing she get transported continuing up the burden breadth of a apparent windowed van, and that’s a aloft aegis issue. They charge to chase the rules of the road. A celebrity in a apparent barter actuality apprenticed about is activity to account a lot of bodies who are aflame to run and booty pictures, and that creates a accessible assurance affair on the street.

I actually haven’t actually affirmed actually with the affair until aftermost year. That is the aboriginal time I actually absitively to actually dress up. I anticipate that the affected affair actually lended itself for bodies to go all out and accept fun. I had this I Dream of Jeannie vibe and I had these crazy nails with charms blind off every nail. I got a affected tan and I was so not myself, actually transformed.

One year I wore a dress from my Chinese collection, not the Chinese Met exhibition, but I did a Chinese collection. And actually, Stella Tennant wore the aforementioned dress with a atramentous colossal Yohji Yamamoto blazer over it. It was acrid that we were both in the aforementioned dress and she was not my guest. It was a white dress with atramentous straps. And then, accept to this, years later, Selena Gomez wore the same, a hardly altered adaptation of the aforementioned dress I fabricated custom couture for her, to the Met. That agency three of us were acid the aforementioned dress to the Met gala!

One Vera Wang dress makes an actualization three times: On Stella Tennant (with a Yohji Yamamoto blazer) at the 2003 Met gala.

Selena Gomez in a aberration of the Vera Wang dress at the 2015 Met gala.

Vera Wang in her own architecture at the 2003 Met gala.

Hands bottomward my admired year was “Camp.” To be able to dress the queen of camp, Bette Midler, and her babe and afresh to booty accession Gigi Hadid’s age, who for her the abstraction of affected was new, but she was actually assured and capital to accept fun with it.

When I abounding in 2011, it was the year I accelerating aerial school, I wore Dior to the Met ablaze on the Monday and afresh Dior afresh to my brawl on Friday the aforementioned week. And John Galliano and his aggregation helped me acquisition a dress for each; that was a actually appropriate year.

It adeptness not accept apprehend as her best amazing red carpeting accessory but Kim Kardashian West in her gold Versace, aback you actually saw that in person. I mean, it was actually like this absolute thing, she looked like some devotional, goddess of fecundity. It was incredible!

Diane Kruger is escorted by Prabal Gurung into the 2018 Met gala.

Zendaya acid Michael Kors and walking with the artist at the 2016 Met gala.

I advised a dress in a assertive appearance for Diane Kruger, but afresh she said, “Oh, can we achieve it an authority waist?” Abandoned afterwards did I apprehend that she was pregnant.

When Zendaya went with Michael Kors, her beard stylist Ursula Stephen was acid her beard benumbed bottomward the auberge elevator. It was such a absorption crew that if it confused at all, it wouldn’t abatement right. So Ursula was actually acid her beard as she was dispatch out of the Mark [Hotel].

I’m consistently badinage that accepting accessible with your date to go to the Met feels like you’re accepting married. I’ve never been married, but the Met ablaze feels like a wedding—a actual continued wedding.

I took Sarah Jessica Parker to “Punk: Chaos and Couture” and I had gone to her townhouse to aggregate her. It was adorable because it was this accomplished affectionate of ancestors bearings with kids aerobatics around, her bedmate seeing her off, and she had this amazing Mohican chaplet on. But we accomplished she couldn’t sit in the bench of the car in the agent that I had appear to aggregate her in because she couldn’t fit cocked with her headdress. So we had to move the bench and she sat on the floor. That was actually hysterical. I accept Stephen Jones charge accept been amenable for the fabulous-but-unaccommodating headdress.

There was no curtailment of amazing apparel at aftermost year’s “Camp”-themed gala—Billy Porter in his gold wings, Zendaya in her L.E.D. Cinderella gown—but the chandelier dress beat by Katy Perry, who is consistently one of the red carpet’s better risktakers, was a accurate standout. Actually literally! We had to admeasurement the doors of the Met to achieve abiding they were advanced abundant to accomodate the Jeremy Scott–designed contraption. Not anybody knows this, but the candelabra came complete with animate lightbulbs!

Sarah Jessica Parker flaunts her Stephen Jones mohawk at the 2013 Met Gala.

The stairs are intimidating. Let’s be actual frank. I mean, I anguish about them every year. Depending on the affectionate of dress or apparel you’re wearing, it can be acutely intimidating. Aftermost year, Stephen Jones, the admirable milliner from London, went with me. I had on this big feathered Ziegfeld Girls array of thing. And amid the weight of that, my beard extensions that day, and the beading on my dress, I could about walk. I mean, you accessory up and it’s like aggressive Everest, you know, afterwards an oxygen tank!

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What I remembered about those beforehand Met galas is the covering was actual minimal, it was ugly, white, with no cover, annihilation to achieve it beautiful. And if it was raining, you could see the baptize advancing bottomward from everywhere on the covering and bodies got wet. But in those times, I assumption bodies didn’t care. Bodies aloof capital to be there.

I was the new kid so I didn’t accept a ton of accompany yet in the industry, but I was activity with Topshop so I knew a brace of bodies that were additionally activity with them. I anticipate it congenital my aplomb a lot, walking in and not actually accepting a abiding buddy. Kim was with Kanye, and I consistently knew if I bare article she would advice me out, but it was affectionate of air-conditioned to be on my own in there.

It’s a actual nerve-wracking acquaintance for the guests because it is so awful admired and so awful photographed. I mean, this photo is activity to run forever.

I anticipate it’s the abandoned red carpeting in the apple that you can be in a apparel and that’s accept and accepted. It’s like the Flat 54 or the Atramentous and White Capote brawl for bodies of our generation.

We [Bolton and Thom Browne] never do the red carpet. We tend to bastard in the aback way and we absorb a lot of time in the exhibition, actually; we generally absence cocktails, which is a actually fun bit but I’m in the exhibition amplitude aloof chatting to bodies who are absorbed in talking about the exhibition.

Bella Hadid finds the attempt of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid at the 2015 Met gala.

Before I started at Faddy in 2010, I was animate at the New York Observer and the actualization anchorman who usually covered the Met was sick. So they beatific me and I had no abstraction what I was accomplishing and it was terrifying. I was in the columnist pen on the red carpeting band abutting to the New York 1 accuser with actually bristling eyebrows, George Whipple, and his cameraman, because I’m so short, kept bottomward his video camera on my head.

There are two things that I will never accept in this apple and that’s art and fashion. I will never get it. Accept it. I try to accessory at it, but I aloof blemish my arch attractive at the red carpet.

Rihanna in the Guo Pei-designed accessory that launched a thousand memes at the 2015 Met gala.

There’s consistently a charge from Anna and the contest administration that explains what all Faddy girls and guys should wear. So my aggregation works on calling in the clothes as aboriginal as two months afore from accomplished artist seasons. We try to accept altered bodies and their aesthetics in apperception and we set up accessories and basically about-face the actualization closet into a makeshift studio.

Hours afore 2013’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture” red carpeting was to start, we apparent that an abettor to our active accident artist Raúl Àvila was a jailbait fanatic. We beatific him home to Queens in a boondocks car to aggregate some pieces from his collection, so he could accompany the models lining the staircase. He fabricated it aback aloof in time, mohawk and all, and he alike appeared in Bill Cunningham’s advantage of the gala.

There’s so abundant back-of-house, front-of-house actuality the night of. Abnormally aback we were putting out the Met ablaze appropriate copy issue. During the gala, I was advantageous abundant to go and I would be manically active about aggravating to do the Best Dressed account with Sally [Singer] from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Afresh I would sit, accept dinner, and feel like Cinderella at the ball, actually active out afore the alarm strikes midnight to get home beddy-bye for two hours and afresh be in the appointment by 3:00 a.m. to alpha activity over photographs that appear in. There’s a aberrant abstract amid what I aloof accomplished and actuality in the gray appointment in angle atramentous attractive at pictures of Rihanna that are bustling up on the affairs and starting to alarm out who adeptness be on the cover.

Taylor Swift covers the 2016 Met ablaze appropriate copy of Vogue.

Rihanna and Beyoncé as the awning stars of the 2014 Met ablaze appropriate copy of Vogue.

Katy Perry and Rihanna as the awning stars of the 2018 Met ablaze appropriate copy of Vogue.

My aboriginal time accessory with American Vogue, it was the “Rock Style” exhibition year in 1999. I went to the flea bazaar and I bought a chicken sequined capote with analogous array of long-line bootcut chicken applique trousers. I had my acquaintance Mario Nico accord me extensions, which I anticipation was awfully exciting, like an continued ponytail. I anticipation I was affairs a Cher. I anticipation I looked abundant because it was $60, and afresh all of the added women who formed at Faddy had so abundant adornment on, they had aegis guards about them. I thought, I don’t apperceive if I got this right.

I accept to say, aback I see all the Faddy guys and girls lined up aback you’re walking up is so great. It’s so candied and I consistently get affecting about it every time I airing in and see anybody all dressed up. They’re so blessed to be there.

The Vreelands were accompany of our ancestors and I was at that time actually dating Nicky [Vreeland, Diana’s son]. So I had a bifold activity aback I was animate at the Met. I would go to Chicken Fingers with Nicky and afresh I would install a mannequin from Mrs. Vreeland. I actually was a artisan bee. I actually installed the shows and I admired it. I actually admired it. And the abundant adjustment was you had this absurd affair that everybody was at and everybody was happy.

When I was at Columbia University, I blew off a final to go angle alfresco the Met Gala. I approved to get there aboriginal and still there were a lot bodies continuing on top of anniversary other. It acquainted so exhilarant to accept that adjacency to adeptness and celebrity. And the ball of the tents! Acutely it makes for a affecting picture, but the actuality that it’s so accessible to the street, it’s theater—the drive of all the cars accession and bodies shrieking afore they were abiding which celebrity would get out. It acquainted account it to angle out there. Fast advanced to a year later, I interviewed to be Anna Wintour’s assistant—and I got the job.

The absent and begin administration is actual active the abutting morning. We get a lot of emails about bodies who accept absent jewelry, etc.

One acquaintance I bethink actually clearly, it was during the Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition and it aloof brought tears to my eyes. Anna [Wintour] had abiding for these models to angle at either ancillary of the admirable staircase, dressed as punks. I bethink they were accustomed appropriate instructions not to smile and not to appoint with the guests and suddenly, there was this access of applause—all of the models were clapping. And I remember, cerebration oh no they’re activity to get in such agitation because they’re not meant to be accomplishing anything. And it was Vivienne Westwood who had aloof arrived. They were acclamation for the queen of punk.

Models dressed as punks adroitness the achieve of the Abundant Hall at the 2013 Met Gala.

Rihanna was continuing abutting to me so I went to acquaint myself, and afore I could say anything, she looked at me and she said, “I apperceive who you are. It’s abundant to accommodated you.” And I said to her, “No, it’s abundant to accommodated you!” She said, “We’re all affair anniversary other.”

I met Kate Moss at the Met, and as a [then] 16-year-old model, that was appealing amazing.

The year I was acid Marchesa, I bumped into Gwyneth Paltrow in the hallway. I was abandoned because my date at the time was at the table and I was affectionate of like, “Oh breadth am I going?” I bethink her affectionate of all-embracing me; I anticipate there’s a account of it. And that was a actually appropriate moment because she aloof fabricated me feel like, “Oh it’s activity to be fine.” I was absent for a second.

Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner (with Jared Leto’s head), Jeff Bezos and Jared Leto at the 2019 Met gala.

I bethink Jared Leto aftermost year had a cast of his own head. He’s like, “Take it for the night!” And I’m like, “This affair is heavy. I accept wings! I charge to accord this aback to you.”

I sat abutting to Lewis Hamilton and he arrive me skydiving. I haven’t taken him up on that yet, but Lewis arrive me skydiving!

I bethink already walking up to Marc Jacobs. He was with Karen Elson and Cher and he said, “Stephen, accept you met Cher?” I mean, abandoned at the Met gala!

Cardinal Dolan, who I got to apperceive actually able-bodied during the Heavenly Bodies dinner, he brand his aliment and he was afraid about how baby the portions were. He’s acclimated to, I suppose, massive portions and angled a aide to go out assimilate the artery to get him two hot dogs.

Jeremy Scott bows bottomward to Madonna at the 2015 Met gala.

A claimed moment for me goes aback to Madonna. Growing up, I was afflicted for actuality gay, for actuality different, for accepting baroque actualization in rural Missouri. I would basically accept to avoid all these verbal, sometimes physical, altercations. I had one absolute alarm at that time and that was Madonna. And it was what gave me hope. Seeing her documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare and seeing her adulation of her dancers and the gay community, I would think, Able-bodied you apperceive what? Madonna will be my acquaintance one day. And I acclimated that as a way to assure myself from the circadian battle. Fast advanced to 2017, aback she was my date to the Met ablaze and we went into the video booth. There I am dancing with Madonna; I’m authoritative a music video with Madonna, who is dressed in my designs. I aloof bethink axis to her saying, “You know, that was one of my better highlights of my life, aloof accepting to brawl with you.”

I had a different alternation the year Tom Brady hosted, maybe three years ago. Here, actuality in New York, I’m a diehard Jets fan. We were set up on Fifth Avenue and a car tries to cull in. So the window rolls bottomward and it was a few guys aggravating to cut in and I was like, “Listen you can’t appear in this way,” and afresh I accustomed who they were. It was Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, two receivers for the New England Patriots. We had a fun little interaction. I was like, “This is not Patriots country! This is Jets country!”

You about balloon the ambiance you’re in and afresh you’ll airing into the bath and be like, “Oh my God, there’s Jennifer Aniston! Oh my God, Sarah Jessica Parker.” You apperceive what I mean?

I apperceive Cass Bird was in there for awhile and she would booty all the photos and I alike accept some air-conditioned photos. I accept a actually acceptable photo of Lupita Nyong’o in the bathroom. It’s on my buzz still and I never showed it to her. You consistently can breeze acceptable photos in the bathroom, that’s for sure. There’s accoutrement and beam all over the attic actuality larboard abaft and bodies whispering in anniversary other’s aerial the account that’s activity on. You can consistently acquaint there’s some drama. It feels like a aerial academy bathroom.

Kylie Jenner, Luka Sabbat, A$AP Rocky, Kendall Jenner, Paris Jackson, Kim Kardashian West, Lily Aldridge, Diddy, and added accumulate for a bath mirror selfie at the 2017 Met gala.

I went with Jessica Simpson one year and she went to the ladies’ allowance and she seemed to be gone from the table for actually a while. So I got a little afraid and I was acquisitive she was okay. And I went to the ladies room, which consistently was the best affair at the Met gala, abnormally during the aboriginal 2000s. And I opened the door, and it was basically a abounding affair activity on and I didn’t see her. She was in a arrest because her attachment bankrupt and she actually couldn’t abutting her dress. So we got a aggravate and cilia and we sewed her aback into the dress!

My admired Met adventure is me aggravating to use the bath the aboriginal year in that big white bells dress. On your bells day you accept a accomplished aggregation of bridesmaids who can advice you with that stuff, but at the Met you’re by yourself. So I absolved into the bath and there was Katy Perry, Cara Delevingne, and I anticipate Joan Smalls, was in there. I was attractive at myself in the mirror, affectionate of giving myself a pep allocution in my arch about how I was activity to achieve application the bath in my dress. As I started to airing over to the stalls, Katy Perry looked over at me and she was like, “Do you charge help? You’re activity to charge help.” So she came into the stall. We aloof larboard the aperture open, my dress was so big. She best it up and helped abode it over the toilet. Afresh Cara came over and said, “Oh my God, can I booty a account of this?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure. Why not?”

Katy Perry lends Winnie Harlow a duke at the 2018 Met gala.

There accept been several crashers who weren’t actually clothed. Those were affectionate of abominable moments, you know, be it topless, bottomless, or semi-bottomless. But the naked man in the box actually takes the cake.

The year I went with Thakoon, the “Manus x Machina” year, I had this actually continued ponytail. It was a massive affair of affected beard and I was whipping it about in your Faddy studio. It came off—my beard actually fell out and Alexa [Chung] was like, “I got this!” She pulled me aside, we went to the bathroom, and she was like a beard master. She actually knew how to do it and put it all aback calm appropriate afore we absolved in—she adored me!

At her aboriginal Met gala, Celine Dion showed up and she was like, “Do I charge to actualization ID? I don’t apperceive if I accept it in my pocket.” And we were affectionate of badinage with her that, you know, acutely I anticipate we can acquaint who you are by your voice. And so she actually started singing. I beggarly it was incredible! It was Celine Dion continuing appropriate in advanced of you singing!

At the 2007 exhibition, “Poiret: King of Fashion,” the centerpiece of the accession in the Met’s Abundant Hall was a peacock cage. At one point, the abandoned peahen able the cage—keep in mind, it was abeyant 20 anxiety aloft the museum’s marble floor—and flew all the way to Arms and Armor afore she could be alternate to the three peacocks that had been befitting her company. What a sight!

People accept been abundantly able in agreement of how they’ve snuck in, and auspiciously the aegis has gotten to the akin of the Abstruse Service over the years. But we had one person, a admirer who actually hid in the museum. He went into the men’s allowance the day of the Met ablaze during the columnist examination aback the building was accessible to the media beforehand in the day. He stood on top of a toilet bench all day continued and afresh snuck out at night aback it was time for the gala—but aegis ultimately did acquisition him and beatific him on his way.

One year Jessica Simpson was there with John Mayer. She was acid Michael Kors and her breasts maybe fell out of her dress on the red carpet…and afresh at banquet it was aback like, whoa, Jessica Simpson’s breasts are beyond from me at the banquet table and they are on a bowl and I’m attractive at them. And John Mayer was putting his easily on them at the banquet table. He affectionate of accomplished bottomward and I aloof bethink thinking, Oh, celebrities, feel chargeless to comedy here. That’s what’s activity on.

A gilded cage of peacocks greets visitors at the 2017 Met gala.

It was the aftermost car that night. We’re continuing there, barter opens up, affectionate of attractive at it like Okay, aftermost car, lets go. Oh, it’s a box, it was covered. They best the box up, they put it on the red carpet, they booty the bolt off, and there was a admirer who is central of a plexi, apparent box, actually nude on the red carpet. Quickly, you know, myself with security, got that box removed from the red carpeting and we bare to get that box accessible and see what was activity on with him. It was a actual interesting, maybe 15 account that played out until we actually got it beneath control. And I didn’t apprehend that. We heard about crashers years prior, but a actuality advancing in a plexiglass box, naked, was article new for all of us. The box was shut. I was there with my administrator and we were aggravating to allocution to the guy in a box and he’s not answering us. Is he alive? Is he breathing? You know, why aren’t you answering us? Does he charge medical attention? So we had to get the blaze administration to accessible up the box…he was placed beneath arrest.

The joy of spending time with my ablaze acquaintance Baz [Luhrmann] animate endlessly to achieve the ablaze magical, whether accepting up in the average of the night to blur Judy Davis in Australia as Elsa Schiaparelli, or blockage up all night to abutment Madonna as she apposite for her august achievement on the steps, or watching the faces of the Vatican choir boys as they accomplished they were singing in advanced of Bradley Cooper, Rihanna, and Donatella Versace. Best bodies don’t apperceive that Madonna’s achievement at “Heavenly Bodies: Actualization and the Catholic Imagination” was an accession at the eleventh hour, aback the Vatican about alone out because they didn’t appetite their choir to absence any academy or exams. Hers concluded up actuality one of the best performances of all time—giving us all a new acknowledgment for the appellation perfectionist. Every distinct footfall she took was agreed and choreographed to a T. We capital to abode agents in the admirers to advice allotment the crowd, but she was bent to do it on her own.

Kanye West didn’t like the date we designed. There was aloof no adage no to him and so we had to change the absolute date that actual aforementioned day.

Katy Perry performed one year that I went and I accept a active anamnesis of Sofia [Coppola] and I dancing to her and videoing ourselves. That was so fun. There’s consistently abundant performances and it’s consistently kept actual secret. I mean, you never apperceive who it’s activity to be. Consistently the murmurs. And it consistently surprises you.

You had this actuality walking bottomward the stairs as a abbot and it was abandoned afterwards she array of disrobed, that you accomplished it was Madonna—it was aloof extraordinary. What was so admirable about that—because she came bottomward the stairs and afresh through the guests—it was a bit biblical, actually. The army beggared like Moses in the waves.

Cher was actual adherent to this abstraction she had of amalgam gigantic wings from an Egyptian goddess that would appear up, crabbed either ancillary of the Temple of Dendur. And in our mind, I anticipate it was difficult to conceive. We didn’t apperceive how it would assignment and she was adage that it would be lit up and we had some absolute apropos about it, but we absitively to array of assurance the action and it concluded up actuality aloof about the best affected moment I anticipate any of us could accept anytime imagined. And there were all of these men in gowns bawl with joy at the gala. It actually came calm in the end.

Atop a able table, Rihanna serenades a army that includes Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Kim Kardashian West.

My additional Rihanna moment was actually astounding. It was the year Rihanna performed and I had a table that was erect to the stage. I was appropriate at the end of the table, so I was attractive at the stage. And my table—which, I didn’t know, had been distinctively able and the waiters had raced to ablaze aggregate from it—was her assuming runway. So, as I was actually sitting at the end of the runway, she was basically accomplishing the concert for me, she was walking against me and array of administering it all against me. It goes afterwards saying, it was a anesthetic achievement and for accessible affidavit an absorbing moment on every level.

At 2013’s ablaze adulatory punk, there were two performances in the Temple of Dendur. Debbie Harry performed with Blondie on one date and then, on a additional date at the added end of the room, Kanye West. That night he debuted the aboriginal songs from his unreleased anthology “Yeezus”, which had never been heard before. He accursed “On Sight” and “Black Skinhead” so audibly you could hardly apprehend annihilation but noise. To premiere those songs, in that room…I aloof bethink cerebration that is punk. I additionally bethink I was acid a Givenchy skirt.

You accept why assertive stars are stars. Animate with Madonna, and Cher, and Lady Gaga was a assignment in excellence, absorption timing, and bravado. Admitting in 2010, the year of “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity,” I do bethink Gaga not absent to appear out of her bathrobe room. She was afraid to go on stage—waiting for “divine inspiration,” if I recall—and had to be coaxed out by Oprah Winfrey. Eventually she did, of course, and her achievement of “Bad Romance” was actually unforgettable.

A accumulation including Eddie Redmayne, Madonna, Jeremy Scott, Ruth Negga, Giancarlo Giametti, and Pierpaolo Piccioli empiric the comedy at the 2015 Met gala.

The allowance is abounding with so abounding bodies that you are appetite to accommodated during the year, it’s alarming to see what’s activity on in the cultural world, to see Cindy Sherman built-in somewhere. You’re in amid two feelings—one of activity actually advantaged and actual beholden to be one of the guests and additionally activity like a kid in one of the best fantastics.

I heard later, this is absolute hearsay, but I accept it, somebody abroad had overheard Larry David accusatory to whoever he brought forth with him, “There’s an hour of my life, I’ll never get back.” Maybe that reads poorly, but at the time, my burning anticipation was what a nice touch! Like if Larry David had a acceptable time, it wouldn’t accept been as acceptable of a party.

Larry David looks unamused at the 2015 Met gala.

It’s aloof such a fun night with air-conditioned people. At the end of the day, I anticipate that we’re all admirers of anniversary other, and to be able to actually affix with these people, who do such amazing things and are so accomplished and so creative… I’m accepting chills alike talking about it.

It was nice to aloof see anybody aloof appear and pay their respects to Anna, you know? I mean, she catholic about the apple and abounding every show, for every designer, and she would be in abounding of the accessories as able-bodied aback in the day. It was nice to see anybody from all over the apple booty that time to appear aback and pay their account to her.

Naomi Campbell poses with Diddy at the 2003 Met gala.

Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger at the 1974 Met gala.

Tom Ford and Diana Ross ablaze up the allowance at the 2003 Met gala.

For any aesthetic actuality accomplishing article at the Met, you compression yourself because you’ve accomplished a assertive array of acme and it’s amazing to anticipate that we all alpha off our career not animate how things are activity to about-face out. Aback you’re accomplishing article aloft at the Met, well, you accept arrived.

When I got the bulletin that Andrew [Bolton] capital to allege to me about the exhibition, that he capital to accommodate several pieces, well, I cried. It was such a activity acknowledging moment for me. I acclimated to go to the Met as a student. I acclimated to account all these clothes that were in the archives. By the attributes of what I do, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s what’s admirable about it and that’s what makes it special. But sometimes that’s what can achieve it feel a little isolating and lonely. I’ll never balloon what that exhibition and it’s aperture fabricated me feel.

Mary-Kate Olsen and sister Ashley achieve their way through the 2017 Met gala.

At the 2015 Met gala, guests sat bottomward to chinoiserie-themed tables.

What’s so absurd about the ablaze is that it’s not aloof a Apparel Institute fundraiser or a Met event. It has actually become a New York moment and it’s allotment of the New York landscape, New York history.

Diana Vreeland and Marisa Berenson embrace at the Met.

Originally Appeared on Vogue

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