Tickets this year are $30,000 apiece, and tables are about $275,000. The party and exhibition are sponsored. All of the money from ticket sales goes to the Costume Institute, which it needs because it is the only one of the Met’s curatorial departments that has to fund itself, fashion having been an iffy proposition as an art form when the Costume Institute was established.
Last year, just over $12 million was raised. Of course, not everyone pays for a ticket. A brand will often invite celebrities to sit at its table, and Ms. Wintour also often invites up-and-coming designers who may not be able to afford a ticket and scatters them around the event. This makes them really excited and makes them feel like they owe her. If they didn’t already.
Why Would Anyone Pay That Much for a Party?
Ms. Wintour, the editor of American Vogue and the artistic director of Condé Nast, first became chairwoman in 1995. She took over annual leadership in 1999. Since then, she has been instrumental in transforming a local philanthropic event into the ultimate global celebrity/power cocktail: Take a jigger of famous names from fashion, add film, politics and business, and mix.
It has become the gold standard of parties; that by which other benefits are measured. It’s such a heady combo that President Trump proposed to his wife, Melania, during the gala in 2004. (In case you are wondering: No, they are not expected this year.). It is among the hardest party tickets of the year to get — and thus, intensely coveted.
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