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May 29, 2024
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A Look Back at Stunning Met Gala Interiors Over the Years

A Look Back at Stunning Met Gala Interiors Over the Years

Every year, event planner Raul Ávila is given a daunting task: to transform the Metropolitan Museum of Art into an otherworldly spectacle for the annual Met Gala. For 2019’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” he created a 25-foot tall, flamboyant flamingo centerpiece comprised of 30,000 flowers. In 2018, he erected a rose recreation of a papal crown for “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” And those are just examples of floral formations: In 2007, for “Poiret: King of Fashion,” he filled a gilded birdcage with live peacocks. Minor chaos ensued when one escaped. “Everyone at the museum was chasing after her to get her back into the cage,” he recalled.

Each event brings an adventure: in 2013, Avila and his team flew in a chandelier from London and rigged it with razor blades for that year’s punk-themed bash, and “Heavenly Bodies” saw the Met’s grand staircase alight with thousands of candles. Then there are the table settings: 2019, for example, saw tablescapes with bamboo flatware, feather lampshades, floral plates, and shocking pink tablecloths.

2023’s soirée, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” honored the Chanel creative director with its decor. The Temple of Dendur boasted a set that resembled Lagerfeld’s home library, while the tablescapes took aesthetic cues for the famous wedding reception he threw for Paloma Picasso.

This year’s event—“Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion”—and its sure-to-be fantastical decor will take place on May 6. So until then, take a spin through the Met Gala interiors throughout the years, from 2005’s Chanel-themed soiree to the most recent affair in 2023.

Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty


Photographed by Flo Ngala

Karl Lagerfeld was known for his love of throwing dinner parties. For the 2023 Met Gala, the Vogue special events department and event planner Raul Àvila were inspired by most famous soirées: the wedding reception he hosted for Paloma Picasso.


In America: An Anthology of Fashion and A Lexicon of Fashion


For 2022’s “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”, guests from Blake Lively to Lizzo had dinner on plates adorned with vintage motifs sourced by Johnson Hartig of Libertine. Gracing the tables were linens based off of embroidery by American textile artist Elizabeth Jeffries, found by Vogue’s contributing editor Eaddy Kiernan in the Metropolitan Museum’s archive.


Camp: Notes on Fashion


Photographed by Corey Tenold

“Camp is all about exaggeration,” Raul Ávila said of his decor for the 2019 Met Gala. Here, a flamingo centerpiece in the museum’s Great Hall with a base comprised of 30,000 flowers.


Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination


Photographed by Corey Tenold

For the 2018 Met Gala, Ávila designed a papal crown centerpiece with 80,000 roses. Why recreate the headpiece? “The tiara is the most striking component of the Pope’s ensemble,” he said.


Rei Kawakuno /Comme des Garçons: Art of The In-Between


Photographed by Corey Tenold

For “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” a giant, violet-shaped centerpiece towered over party-goers in the Great Hall. The giant flower was a nod to Kawakaubo’s designs, many of which feature a floral motif.


Manus X Machina: Fashion In An Age of Technology


Photographed by Taylor Jewel

A design-savvy double-helix in the Great Hall for “Manus/Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”


China: Through The Looking Glass


Photographed by Eric Boman, Vogue, Met Gala 2015


Charles James: Beyond Fashion


Photographed by Eric Boman, Vogue, Met Gala 2014


Punk: Chaos to Couture


Photographed by Eric Boman


Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations


Photographed by Eric Boman


Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty


Photographed by Hannah Thomson


American Woman: Fashioning A National Identity


Photographed by Hannah Thomson


The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion


Photographed by Hannah Thomson


Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy


Photographed by Hannah Thomson


Poiret: King of Fashion


Photographed by Robert Fairer


Anglomania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion


Photographed by Michael Lisnet


Chanel


Photo: Jason Dewey/Courtesy of David Monn


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