Lifestyle

A look back at stunning Met Gala interiors over the years

By Elise Taylor

Photo: David Pruden

From a 25-foot tall, flamboyant flamingo to a a gilded birdcage with live peacocks, these are the most breathtaking backdrops for fashion's most famous night

Every year, event planner Raul Ávila is given a daunting task: to transform the Metropolitan Museum of Art into an otherworldly spectacle for the annual Met Gala. For 2019’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” he created a 25-foot tall, flamboyant flamingo centrepiece comprised of 30,000 flowers. In 2018, he erected a rose recreation of a papal crown for “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” And those are just examples of floral formations: In 2007, for “Poiret: King of Fashion,” he filled a gilded birdcage with live peacocks. Minor chaos ensued when one escaped. “Everyone at the museum was chasing after her to get her back into the cage,” he recalled.

Each event brings an adventure: in 2013, Avila and his team flew in a chandelier from London and rigged it with razor blades for that year’s punk-themed bash, and “Heavenly Bodies” saw the Met’s grand staircase alight with thousands of candles. Then there are the table settings: 2019, for example, saw tablescapes with bamboo flatware, feather lampshades, floral plates, and shocking pink tablecloths.

2022’s soirée, “America: An Anthology of Fashion”—and its sure-to-be fantastical decor—will take place on May 2. So until then, take a spin through the Met Gala interiors throughout the years, from 2005's Chanel-themed soiree to the most recent affair in 2021.

In America A Lexicon Of Fashion 2021

For September’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” gala, the Great Hall housed a grand oak tree made of recycled materials, surrounded by a wild field of wheat grass. Photo: Hunter Abrams

In 2021, each Met Gala table featured a centerpiece comprised of North American flora from various states. Photo: Hunter Abrams

Camp Notes On Fashion 2019

“Camp is all about exaggeration,” Raul Ávilez said of his decor for the 2019 Met Gala. Here, a flamingo centerpiece in the museum’s Great Hall with a base comprised of 30,000 flowers. . Photo: Corey Tenold

“The inspiration is a reflection of my Latin roots and the unique floral and fauna,” said Àvila of this year's tablescapes.“There was no room for simplicity, even when it came to the table setting.”. Photo: Corey Tenold

The Met's grand staircase, adorned in a shocking pink. Photo: Corey Tenold

Heavenly Bodies Fashion And The Catholic Imagination 2018

For the 2018 Met Gala, Ávilez designed a papal crown centerpiece with 80,000 roses. Why recreate the headpiece? “The tiara is the most striking component of the Pope’s ensemble,” he said. Photo: Corey Tenold

The museum's staircase was accented with taper candles. Photo: Corey Tenold

Rei Kawakubo / Comme Des Garçons Art Of The In Between 2017

For “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” a giant, violet-shaped centerpiece towered over party-goers in the Great Hall. The giant flower was a nod to Kawakaubo's designs, many of which feature a floral motif. Photo: Corey Tenold

Floating floral orbs. Photo: Corey Tenold

A blue and pink carpet covered the Met's staircase. Photo: Corey Tenold

Dinner was held in the Temple of Dendur, with a color palette of red, pink, and blue. Photo: Corey Tenold

Table settings, which included floral chinaware and sake cups. Photo: Corey Tenold

Manus x Machina Fashion In An Age Of Technology 2016

A design-savvy double-helix in the Great Hall for “Manus/Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”. Photo: Taylor Jewel

The 65-foot structure was made of 80,000 red roses, 200,000 red silk roses, and laser-cut lace. Photo: Taylor Jewel

An arched floral doorway welcomed guests to the Temple of Dendur. Photo: Taylor Jewel

China Through The Looking Glass 2015

Photo: Eric Boman, Vogue, Met Gala 2015

Photo: David Pruden

Photo: Kevin Tachman

Photo: Eric Boman, Vogue, Met Gala 2015

Photo: Taylor Jewel

Charles James Beyond Fashion 2014

Photo: Eric Boman, Vogue, Met Gala 2014

Photo: Mario Testino, Vogue, Met Gala 2014

Photo: Hannah Thomson, Vogue, Met Gala 2014

Photo: Kevin Tachman, Vogue, Met Gala 2014

Punk Chaos To Couture 2013

Photo: Eric Boman

Photo: Eric Boman

Photo: Eric Boman

Photo: Mimi Ritzen Crawford

Schiaparelli & Prada Impossible Conversations 2012

Photo: Eric Boman

Photo: Hannah Thomson

Photo: Julian Mackler/BFAnyc.com

Photo: Eric Boman

Alexander Mcqueen Savage Beauty 2011

Photo: Hannah Thomson

Photo: Eric Boman

Photo: Evan Sung

Photo: Mimi Ritzen Crawford

Photo: Mimi Ritzen Crawford

American Woman Fashioning A National Identity 2010

Photo: Hannah Thomson

Photo: Joshua Bright

Photo: Eric Boman

The Model As Muse Embodying Fashion 2009

Photo: Hannah Thomson

Photo: Hannah Thomson

Photo: Hannah Thomson

Superheroes Fashion And Fantasy 2008

Photo: Hannah Thomson

Photo: Michael Lisnet

Photo: Hannah Thomson

Poiret King Of Fashion 2007

Photo: Robert Fairer

Photo: Michael Lisnet

Photo: Robert Fairer

Photo: Hannah Thomson

Anglomania Tradition And Transgression In British Fashion 2006

Photo: Michael Lisnet

Photo: Michael Lisnet

Photo: Michael Lisnet

Photo: Marvi Lacar/Getty Images

Chanel 2005

Photo: Jason Dewey/Courtesy of David Monn

Photo: Jason Dewey/Courtesy of David Monn

Photo: Jason Dewey/Courtesy of David Monn

Photo: Jason Dewey/Courtesy of David Monn

Originally published on Vogue US


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