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Who And How Met Gala Theme Is Decided Each Year

Do Attendees Have to Dress in Theme?
It isn’t stated that attendees have to dress like the exhibition, but it is encouraged. This can sometimes backfire. In 2015, the exhibition was “China: Through the Looking Glass,” and it created some politically incorrect moments when celebrities and the designers who dressed them got their Asian references muddled. (Lady Gaga, for example, wore a Balenciaga kimono-like look, which seemed to actually lean toward the Japanese; ditto Georgia May Jagger in Gucci.)

In 2016, the show was “Manus ex Machina,” which meant almost the entire Jenner-Kardashian clan was in sparkling Balmain motherboards. And last year, for the Kawakubo exhibition, Helen Lasichanh, wife of Pharrell Williams, gamely entered into the spirit of the evening in a red Comme des Garçons jumpsuit that flattened and haloed the body, but had no armholes. The whole eating thing was a little complicated.

This year’s dress code is “Sunday Best,” which is a witty way to acknowledge the church while remaining open-ended enough to allow guests to just choose really great party dresses. Ms. Wintour tends to always go with Chanel, though Rihanna loves a theme: In 2015, she modeled a golden cape by the Chinese designer Guo Pei to “China Through the Looking Glass” that inspired a thousand sunny-side up memes, and last year opted for chintz boa constrictor ruffles in straight-from-the-runway Comme.

So we could see a lot of very severe priestlike robing, or bejeweled crosses — or angelic iconography. Hopefully not too much of it. If Madonna attends (and really, how could a brand resist that invite), Heaven only knows what she will choose.

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