03/05/2016
More than just the Met Gala.

Words by

Naomi Hatton

One year on from the 2015 Met Gala, the frocks have come and gone. And if you thought you’d gotten over the penis dress, the omelette gown, or how Kendall Jenner managed to rock a green (yes, green) dress, then you are about to be reminded.

Previewed in Melbourne last night, Andrew Rossi’s documentary, The First Monday in May, follows a behind-the-scenes look at the curation of last year’s China: Through the Looking Glass exhibit. More importantly, it also takes us through the Met Gala exhibit’s opening night (aka: most celebrity-endorsed fashion night of the year).

While Insta is saturated with every celebrity and their dog gathering to drink, party and size each other up, the documentary paints quite a different picture of the event.

Whoever thinks it is simply a who’s who in social status, and a glamour juggernaut... you are (partially) wrong.

The annual event, stemming from the tragic passing of provocative designer, Alexander McQueen, has turned into the widely-visited and respected Costume Institute at The Met. It’s curated by Andrew Bolton and supported by the Queen (Anna Wintour).

Approximately eight months of preparation for the exhibit and event is shown in the film. Meanwhile I can’t even decide what I want to eat for lunch tomorrow.

The documentary splices between Anna Wintour’s party planning and Andrew Bolton’s somewhat more serious planning of a historically-sensitive and tradition-respected exhibition.

If you’re under the impression all Anna Wintour does is refuse to smile, you are sorely mistaken and should say penance to the fashion Gods. From seating arrangements, to napkins, to negotiating Rihanna’s performance fee, Anna’s meticulousness in planning and business skills are reflected in the doco as truly being a catalyst to her success.

The documentary takes viewers on a journey through validating fashion as applied art and features commentary from illustrious fashion power-houses included in the exhibit.

Facing concern for decades, The Costume Institute has a great deal of pressure to produce a museum-worthy exhibit, with individuals still arguing the frivolousness of fashion. 

(Need us not remind everyone of the scene where Meryl Streep OWNS Anne Hathaway for thinking her ugly blue sweater is *~just~* a sweater, shriek).

Inbetween the flashing lights, seriously sculpted butts and sparkly gowns, the film shows how much power this event has on important histories and ideologies in fashion.

While the event could seem vain, superficial and completely bonkers to everyone not in attendance, the film gives the glamorous night legitimacy – not to mention the $12.5mil raised last year for charity.

But now it’s time to tune into the 2016 event and bask in our comparatively not-so-glamorous lives.

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