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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at LIM chapter.

This past Monday, May 1, 2017, hundreds of celebrities flocked to New York City to attend the Met Gala, formally known as the Costume Institute Gala, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This exclusive event is a fundraiser for the museum’s costume division, and is how the Costume Institute obtains the majority of their yearly budget. The Met Gala has been held yearly since 1948, and serves as an opening ceremony for the exhibit which will be featured for the year at the museum; this year, for instance, the exhibit is Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between. This exhibit is slated to run from May 4,,2017, until September 4th of the same year.

Originally, however, the Gala was not to introduce a new exhibit. From the 1940’s until 1971, the Gala was held off-premises in the Waldorf Astoria and various other locations. The event was far less glamorous, and usually consisted of dinner and light entertainment. It was not until 1972 when Diana Vreeland, the editor of Vogue at the time, became a consultant for the Costume Institute and encouraged the group to curate more ambitious pieces. A need for exhibitions of these pieces arose, and thus the Galas were used as a promotional tool as well as a social event for society’s elite.

The Met Gala became known for its luxurious attitude and attention to detail: no expense was spared during these yearly events. The popularity of the Met Gala grew and it soon became an event famously driven by fashion designers and industry elite.

In 1999, Anna Wintour became chairwoman of the Institute, and began to encourage the attendance of A-list celebrities in addition to those in the fashion industry. As the current editor of Vogue, Wintour used her knowledge of the fashion industry combined with her credibility among Hollywood’s elite in order to transform this blossoming event into the immense spectacle that it is today.

The themes throughout the years have become increasingly extravagant, featuring early themes such as Untailored Garments (1972), Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design (1974), and Costumes of Royal India (1985), to more out-of-the-box themes such as  China Through the Looking Glass (2015), Punk: Chaos to Couture (2013), Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy (2008), and last year’s Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age of Technology (2916).

This years theme however is especially noteworthy, since this is the second time in Met Gala History that a living artist has been recognized. This has not happened since Yves Saint Laurent was recognized in the 1983 Met Gala titled Yves Saint Laurent: 25 Years of Design. The rebellious Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo’s exhibit chronicles her career, highlighting the nine themes that define her work and inspire her designs: Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. Kawakubo’s work is just as ground-breaking as it is rebellious; the true genius of her work is often only fully realized when one is able to break free of the barriers of main-stream fashion and realize, as Kawakubo herself puts it, “the meaning is that there is no meaning.”

Casey Miller is a graduate student studying Fashion Marketing at LIM College. While living New York City she has interned for two national magazines as well as womenswear designer Christian Siriano. She also runs her own blog and is a digital influencer for Cosmopolitan Magazine's Social Patrol. For all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle check out her blog www.frombeginningtotrend.com.