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From Elite to Internet: Should Influencers Be Invited to The Met Gala?

We were given details into who will be attending the prestigious fashion event, the Met Gala. A few weeks ago, a rumored guest list was posted all over social media that got everyone buzzing. Along with A-list celebrities, we also saw a spike in the number of influencers who received an invitation. It was a rumor that internet stars like Emma Chamberlain, Addison Rae and James Charles would be attending. This has caused many mixed reviews about the list, more negative than positive, and brings about the question: Should influencers be allowed to attend the Met Gala?

As you all may know, the Met Gala is a black-tie charity event hosted every year on the first Monday of May with the exception of this year. Its official title is the “Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit,” as it raises money for the costume institute and marks the opening of the fashion exhibit. Celebrities work closely with designers to curate a unique piece that fits the theme, which is chosen yearly by Andrew Bolton, the institute’s chief curator.

You may be wondering: if the Met Gala is always in May, why is it being held in September this year? It is due to the fact that the event was canceled last year and postponed this year on account of Covid-19. This Met is a downscaled event – about one-third smaller than the usual number of guests – and will be youth-focused. About 70 percent of the pieces will be from young and up-and-coming designers who have never had the opportunity to attend the event or even expected their pieces would be showcased in the exhibition.

This year’s theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” which is part one of a two-part show. The second part, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” will be hosted in May of 2022. The series highlighted the relevancy, influence and strength of American fashion. “I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ responses to the social and political climate, particularly around issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity, and I’m just finding their work very, very self-reflective,” Andrew Bolton told Vogue. “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance.” The exhibition will be running until September 5th, 2022 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Costume Institute and “explore a modern vocabulary of American Fashion,” as stated by Vogue and exhibit organizers.

This year’s hosts included Keke Palmer and Ilana Glazer, who interviewed celebrities as they walked through the famous red carpet. The co-chairs were the Gen-Z superstars Timothee Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka and Amanda Gorman – who were also on the red carpet live streaming. The honorary chairs are Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, Tom Ford and of course Anna Wintour, Vogue’s Editor in Chief and the chairwoman of the event since 1995.

How are celebrities selected to attend? Well, one way to attend is by purchasing a ticket. The price ranges from $30,000 to $50,000 and doesn’t guarantee you a seat. You must be approved by Anna Wintour and her team before you can attend. The other route is by being invited personally by a designer or brand. Tables are bought by designers for $275,000-$500,000 and in the millions for tables bought by sponsors. If you are invited by a designer or brand, you are able to attend the Met Gala for free so long as you wear a dress lent to you by that specific designer and are seated at their table. The average total of the event is roughly $3.5 million, and that’s not including the prices for the attire and accessories.

Let’s move on to the big question: Should influencers be invited to the Met Gala? After seeing the rumored guest list, people were shocked and disappointed, to say the least. The list shows five tables that mingle influencers with well-known actors, singers, designers and models. At one table, we saw that Addison Rae was seated next to Naomi Campbell and Donatella Versace, while on the opposite side of that table was Beyonce next to Emma Chamberlain and Rosalia. Many questioned the motives of Anna Wintour and why she would mix the two worlds.

Here’s the thing: Some influencers have not been exposed to the fashion industry the way celebrities have. Many celebrities have worked closely with designers for the runway, collaborations, individualized pieces for the red carpet, etc. However, since influencers (specifically TikTokers) are new to the entertainment industry, they haven’t built much fashion credibility to be considered a part of the fashion industry. When comparing the Instagrams of celebrities versus influencers, we see a difference in what they are seen to be wearing. Celebrities are seen wearing more expensive and glamorous pieces, while influencers wear more casual looks and are essentially considered to be “one of us.” Celebrities are also seen wearing everyday looks, but their public appearances are known to be more high-end and unaffordable.

Although the internet believes that influencers shouldn’t be mixed in with the A-Listers, some do not come as a surprise due to their work with luxury brands. For example, Emma Chamberlain is a famous YouTuber who has dipped her toe in the fashion industry over recent years, becoming an ambassador for Louis Vuitton in 2019 and attending every show since. She has also modeled new collections for the company, most recently the pre-Fall 2021 collection.

Many were also upset due to the supposed invitation of James Charles, who has recently been in lots of drama due to the claims of messaging boys under the age of 18. Although he previously attended, many don’t feel it’s right to re-invite a celebrity with such serious allegations to the event. With numerous celebrities not receiving an invitation to this Met, people wondered why Wintour would choose to include him again.

I would say that I have very mixed feelings about the topic. On one hand, I am for the influencers going as they represent a new wave of celebrities and our generation’s culture. From a PR standpoint, it’s good publicity (as we all know, any publicity is good publicity in this industry) and has already created lots of traction that will garner more views from the younger generation. On the other hand, I am more for the traditional ideologies of the Met Gala only inviting the most prolific A-list celebrities who have made a name for themselves by doing more than a 15-second dance on TikTok.

The event occurred Monday, September 13th through the Met Gala Livestream at 5:30 pm EST, shown on the Vogue website and Vogue official Twitter. As predicted, some influencers that appeared on the list were seen at the Met Gala. Addison Rae, Dixie D’Amelio, and Emma Chamberlain were among the few who were seen on the red carpet. This is the start of a new wave of Met attendees, and we anticipate that more will be attending as years go on.

Allexea Desuyo

Montclair '23

Allexea is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Social Media and Public Relations at Montclair State University. Some of her passions include singing, traveling, taking day trips in NYC, beauty/skincare, and luxury fashion. She hopes to become a model and singer/songwriter, while also working in the field of Public Relations. With her articles, she strives to use her knowledge and personal experiences to help others be the best version of themselves!
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