An image inside the walls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

“I've patinated.”

Actress Blake Lively speaking of her gown, which honored New York City and some of its classic sites, at one of the world's premiere charity events — the Met Gala.

Published on

may 3, 2022

  • Lively's Versace dress highlighted a rose gold bow that transformed into a turquoise green train, which was inspired by the way bronze metal can "patina" over time and change from bronze tones to green (such as the Statue of Liberty).
  • Lively, one of the gala's hosts, said her ensemble paid tribute to New York City and its iconic architecture — including the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station's constellation-covered ceiling, and the Statue of Liberty.
  • The Gala's theme was "Gilded Glamour and White Tie," referencing a time of industrialization in America between 1870-1900 — an era of great expansion, but also of significant economic disparity between the wealthy and the rest of America. Critics point out the irony of the theme as tickets cost $35,000. "This year’s ‘gilded theme’ Met Gala, held amid the backdrop of war, pandemic and ruinous inflation, is the most tone-deaf, self-indulgent, narcissistic, hideously inappropriate ‘let them eat cake!’ orgy of vain-glorious celebrity bullsh*t in modern history," commented Piers Morgan.
  • Why It Matters: The Met Gala (aka the Costume Institute Benefit) raises millions of dollars to fund the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, which preserves 33,000 "fashionable dress and accessories" that date back centuries.

Blake Lively transforms at the Met Gala in architecture-inspired Versace gown

More context from The New York Times:

One thing to remember, if you’re taken aback by the gala in all its excess and expense (and it’s easy to be taken aback): it exists because the Costume Institute is the only curatorial department in the Met that is forced to pay for itself.

That means the Costume Institute’s expenses — for curators’ salaries, garment preservation and exhibits — do not come out of the museum’s budget, despite the fact that blockbuster exhibits such as “China Through the Looking Glass” and “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” have been among the most popular in Met history, and clearly benefit the museum. It’s the party that makes them possible.

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