The 2014 Met Ball Explained: Everything You Need To Know Before The Gala On Monday

28 April 2014 by

Charles James

In exactly one week anyone who is anyone in planet fashion will be hiking up the 72 steps in weighty couture to shake hands with fashion's gatekeeper: Anna Wintour. That's right, the 2014 Met Ball is coming people! The theme of the ball this year is... 'White Tie and Decorations' aka big 'ol ball gowns. This year's exhibition is dedicated to British-born designer (and Mr anti-punk) Charles James.

We'll forgive you if you haven't heard of him, but he is a hugely influential New York designer who created elegant ball gowns in the 40s and 50s. James was close friends with Cecil Beaton, was highly respected by the likes of Christian Dior and was often dubbed 'a great friend of the French couture.'

Discover everything you could possibly need to know about the ball on Monday 5th May below...

1. Inside the exhibition...

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Presents: Charles James [Getty]

This year's Costume Institue exhibition covers James' entire career, including a collection of 100 pieces with almost all of his major work. Harold Koda, curator in charge of the Costume Institute, said to WWD: “There will be the new gallery space, which will focus on describing James’ professional and personal biography, a timeline of his career and how he developed as an artist through to the final years at the Chelsea Hotel, where he had these remarkable collaborations with others and really was serving as a mentor to people. Upstairs, in the temporary gallery spaces, we are going to have a presentation of what is probably more familiar to people — knock-your-socks-off, glamorous clothes, but presented in a way that makes you understand what separated him from other designers.” Look out for the taxi dress among the ball gowns. “He had this funny idea that woman who wanted to dress and undress in a taxi could spiral out of this dress, and put on another dress,” Koda said to WWD.

2. Bradley Cooper AND Sarah Jessica Parker as cochairs...

SJP at the Met Ball last year [Getty]

To us Sarah Jessica Parker IS the Met Ball, and it looks like Anna Wintour thinks so too as she has appointed SJP as a cochair. So will she stand at the top of the steps hand in hand with Anna Wintour? The evening will be chaired by Aerin Lauder and other cochairs this year include Bradley Cooper, Oscar de la Renta, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch and Anna Wintour. Bradley Cooper AND 50s couture? This is going to be one big swoon fest.

3. The dress code: For women...

Charles James

As for the red carpet, expect to see lots and lots of vintage. We're talking Dior, Oscar, Viv, Balenciaga! Think Grace Kelly in High Society. Satin. Tulle. Bustles. Bosoms. Nipped in waist and blown-out skirts. Undulating ruffles and dramatic sack-back outlines. This is a theme we expect to see Sarah Jessica Parker rocking.

4. The dress code: For men...

White tie is as formal as it gets. You'll normally only see this kind of suit at a state dinner or on Downton Abbey. Think Prince Charming - white waistcoat, top hat, white bow tie and tail coat. Pharrell Williams and pals better do their research - even the Wikipedia entry for white tie is over 3,000 words. Complicated stuff. The theme isn't just white tie, but white tie and decorations, meaning that state decorations including medals and a sash may be worn in the presence of royalty. Well Anna Wintour is fashion royalty, right? Expect to see Kanye West wearing his own bronze stars and perhaps a monocle and diamond-encrusted cane...

Forget diamonds, it's all about metal this year [Getty]

5. Expect to see at least one star doing a Marlene Dietrich...

Stars are always looking to bend the Met Ball dress code. Expect to see at least one girl dressed like Fred Astaire. Our money is on Madonna. Or Sarah Jessica Parker. Or Gwen Stefani.

6. Who will go with who?

Lupita will wear.... Prada! [Getty]

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed some of this year's designer dates. So far the word is that Lupita Nyong'o and Michelle Dockery are with Prada; Zoe Saldana with Prabal Gurung; Amanda Seyfried with Givenchy; Taylor Swift with J. Mendel; Margot Robbie with Diane von Furstenberg; Zooey Deschanel with Tommy Hilfiger. So who is the brain behind these designer pairings? A source tells The Hollywood Reporter: 'The level of control is amazing. The invasion of Baghdad was nothing compared to this. If Michael Kors is coming, Anna is deciding which celebrity will wear Michael Kors and which Michael Kors outfit the celebrity will wear.'

7. A more 'exclusive' guest list...

Charles James

Last year a ticket for the Gala was an eye-watering $15,000, but it turns out the price of a car isn't enough for Anna Wintour. The Hollywood Reporter reported that Anna 'wants more exclusivity' this year, as she has raised the tickets to $25,000. Our friends over at The Cut point out that this is the average salary of an assistant at Condé Nast.

8. The Anna Wintour-approved fitness plan...

Charles James

Some of James' gowns weigh in at eighteen pounds, so US Vogue have put together a fitness plan for the attendees. Seeing as you need stamina to make your way up the 72 steps in the equivalent of a weighted vest, Vogue have spoken to trainers to get their last minute tips. David Kirsch, who trains Kate Upton, recommends planks, side planks and reps on a climbing machine. Oh and engaging your abs at all times. Vogue are taking this seriously, as the article ends: 'Belles of the ball in training take note: You are your workout.'

Want more Met Ball-ness? Look back at who wore what last year in the gallery below...

GALLERY>> Met Gala 2013

Sarah Jessica Parker in Giles Deacon at Met Gala

Beyonce in Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci at Met Gala

Diane Kruger in Chanel Couture at Met Gala

Kristen Stewart in Stella McCartney at Met Gala

Emily Blunt in Carolina Herrera at Met Gala

January Jones in Chanel at Met Gala

Rosie Huntington Whiteley in Gucci at Met Gala

Gwen Stefani in Maison Martin Margiela at Met Gala

Anne Hathaway in Valentino at Met Gala

Lily Aldridge in Tommy Hilfiger at Met Gala

Heidi Klum in Marchesa at Met Gala

Emmy Rossum in Donna Karan Atelier at Met Gala

Chanel Iman in J Mendel at Met Gala

Kate Bosworth in Balmain at Met Gala

Kelly Osbourne in Marc Jacobs at Met Gala

Carine Roitfeld in Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci at Met Gala

Sophia Coppola in Marc Jacobs at Met Gala

Lily Cole in Vivienne Westwood at Met Gala

Madonna in Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci at Met Gala

Cara Delevingne in Burberry at Met Gala

Katy Perry in Dolce & Gabbana at Met Gala

Jourdan Dunn, Ashley Madekwe and Julianne Hough in Topshop at Met Gala

Miranda Kerr in Michael Kors at Met Gala

Jennifer Lopez in Michael Kors at Met Gala

Rita Ora in Thakoon at Met Gala

Cameron Diaz in Stella McCartney at Met Gala

Carey Mulligan in Balenciaga at Met Gala

Mary Kate Olsen in vintage Chanel at Met Gala

Emma Watson in Prabal Gurung at Met Gala

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior at Met Gala

Lena Dunham in Erdem at Met Gala

Marion Cotillard in Dior at Met Gala

Blake Lively in Gucci at Met Gala

Michelle Williams in Saint Laurent at Met Gala

Gwyneth Paltrow in Valentino at Met Gala

Kylie Minogue in Moschino at Met Gala

Emma Roberts in Diane Von Fustenberg at Met Gala

Olivia Wilde in Calvin Klein Collection at Met Gala

Uma Thurman in Zac Posen at Met Gala

Christina Ricci at Met Gala

Elle Fanning in Rodarte at Met Gala

Jessica Alba in Tory Burch at Met Gala

Ashley Olsen at Met Gala

Ginnifer Goodwin in Tory Burch at Met Gala

Kerry Washington in Vera Wang at Met Gala

Karlie Kloss in Louis Vuitton at Met Gala

Miley Cyrus in Marc Jacobs at Met Gala

Hailee Steinfeld in Donna Karen Atelier at Met Gala

Alexa Chung at Met Gala

Nicki Minaj at Met Gala

Solange in Kenzo at Met Gala

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci at Met Gala

Jaime King at Met Gala

Sienna Miller at Met Gala

Chloe Sevigny

Nina Dobrev at Met Gala

Nicole Richie in Custom Topshop at Met Gala

Amanda Seyfried in Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci at Met Gala

Taylor Swift at Met Gala

Kirsten Dunst in Louis Vuitton

Dakota Fanning in Rodarte at Met Gala

Katie Holmes in Calvin Klein Collection at Met Gala

Anja Rubik at Met Gala

Karolina Kurkova in Mary Katrantzou at Met Gala

Tom Ford and Joan Smalls at Met Gala

Naomie Harris in Donna Karan Atelier at Met Gala

Rooney Mara at Met Gala

Rooney Mara in Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci at Met Gala

Giuliana Rancic at Met Gala

Hilary Rhoda in Wes Gordon at Met Gala

Riccardo Tisci and Rooney Mara in Givenchy at Met Gala

Anna Wintour in Chanel at Met Gala


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