#Throwback Thursday: 1997 Was the Year the Met Gala Became the Party of the Year

Lorein Abenhaim
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met gala throwback 1997 hgeh #Throwback Thursday: 1997 Was the Year the Met Gala Became the Party of the YearLabeled as the most important social event in New York City, the Met Gala was bound to make our list of legendary parties eventually. Since 1948 the event has brought together top designers, celebrities, writers, and socialites under one roof to celebrate the opening of the Metropolitan Museum’s latest fashion exhibit at the Costume Institute. The couture, as well as the guest list, puts most style events, or really any event, to shame.
With a bevy of past Met Galas to choose from, none have topped the blow out thrown in 1997 to celebrate the Gianni Versace exhibition. With gospel flair and one celebrity showing a shocking amount of skin, it was an event that won’t soon be forgotten.
Theme: There is a new Met Gala theme each year to go along with the exhibition. In 2003 there was a goddess theme and in 2010, the event was dedicated to American women. However, in 1997 it was not a genre that determined the mood, rather a designer—Gianni Versace. The retrospective was naturally bittersweet considering the designer had been murdered earlier in the year.
Venue: Big doesn’t quite justify the actual size of the Met. This massive museum takes up about two million square feet, meaning space is never a problem. Every year the gala is hosted in a different room of the museum and in 1997 the affair was held in the white marble sculpture court.
Guest List: Being one of the most highly anticipated fashion events, anyone who is anybody plans their year around the Met Gala. In 1997 the famous faces that graced the Metropolitan Museum’s red carpet included Madonna, Cher, Sting, Gwyneth Paltrow, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Anna Wintour, Elizabeth Hurley, Sandra Bullock, Princess Diana (right before her fatal accident), and of course, Gianni’s sister, Donatella Versace.
Music: A Legendary party requires some serious entertainment. In 1997, the gala featured gospel tunes by the Harlem Memorial Baptist Church. Later that evening Sting sang a few songs, including covering Frank Sinatra’s “My One and Only Love.” While a little gospel gave the party some soul, Sting was the true highlight of the night.
Fun Fact: Gwyneth Paltrow, recently dubbed the “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” by People magazine, showed up in a transparent gown. This is not a exaggeration, as Paltrow’s black sheer dress revealed everything, so much so that now the world can accurately imagine what she looks like naked. Karl Lagerfeld, meanwhile, arrived holding a walking stick with a dagger-like end. Leave it to Lagerfeld to come bearing daring accessories.
Cost: The Met Gala is not cheap affair to put on—and it is also a fundraiser. In 1997 the cost for a seat was $2,000, which with inflation would be closer to $3,000 today. Reserving a seat at this annual blow out has continued to increase throughout the years. In 2005, it was reported that seats cost between $5,000 and $15,000, depending on the seat. All of these numbers are slim compared to last year’s record of $25,000 a seat. If you want to go to the most talked about fashion event of the year, you have to be prepared to throw down the big bucks.

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