The first Monday of May this year marked the absence in the fashion world. With the cancellation of the Met Gala and the unlimited closure of the Metropolitan Museum of Art due to the coronavirus pandemic, the front steps of the museum will remain calm, empty of the crowd of celebrities and people in fashion who flock to the annual fundraising for the Institution Costumes.
The pictures from the past are interesting because of their nostalgia and retro style, but they also reveal a more relaxed atmosphere not limited to the arrival of the red carpet.
Photographer Rose Hartman, who took pictures of the gala for decades until the early 2000s, recalled the telephone when there was more freedom to move and engage with participants. In 1986, he photographed actress Lynda Carter and socialite Blaine Trump laughing.
Hartman can feel the close friendship between Linda Carter and Blaine Trump when they share laughter, but also notes how glamorous their appearances are when doing so. Credit: Picture of Rose Hartman / Getty
“They are happy to talk to each other rather than pose,” Hartman said. “I always try my best to catch people who are engaged to each other.”
Photographer Ron Galella, who has been photographing the gala since 1967 has a system for taking the best shots, from arrival at check-in to the museum floor and dinner. “It’s easy to shoot inside,” he said by email. “Only a New York Press card is required to enter.” (When press permission finally became limited, there were years he smuggled in through employee entrances.)
Cher smoked a cigarette during the 1974 Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design Exhibition. Met with the Gala. Credit: Ron Galella / Getty Pictures
For decades, since the first iteration of the event in 1948, the gala has changed from lavish parties in locations outside locations such as Manhattan’s Rainbow Room to a fashion show. Socialites and artists have highlighted the A-list celebrities, who made headlines about how they chose to interpret, or denounce, the theme of the evening.
The shift in the guest list and atmosphere was largely due to generational changes in vision. In the 1970s, Vogue editor Diana Vreeland positioned the gala as the first person to open a large exhibition of the Institute and invite the crème de la crème of the fashion world and New York society, but her successor, Anna Wintour, preferred famous musicians, actors and entertainment figures, using $ 30,000 ticket to the event to collect millions of dollars every year.
“I like the fact that they walk rather than stand up,” Hartman said. “I like their movements.”
Galella took light moments of Faith, Paloma Picasso, and Raphael Lopez Sanchez at the 1983 Met Gala, which honors the work of Yves St. Laurent. Credit: Ron Galella / Getty Pictures
Supermodels Kate Moss and Christy Turlington made a mistake at the 1995 Met Gala. Credit: Ron Galella / Getty Pictures
At the moment, the gala might take himself seriously with a cautious image, but Galella believes it is a universal feeling to want to see entertainment and elite fashion disappoint their guards. “We see them in films, we see them as superstars. But I want to see them as humans,” he told Forbes last year. “How beautiful are they when they don’t act?”