By Jocelyn Novick
Jared Leto was looking for a place to hang his hat. Eh, actually his head.
Leto was walking around the cocktail reception at the Met Galashortly after his grand entrance on the mat Like Choupette, designer Karl Lagerfeld’s famous cat, in an all-white fur suit with very real eyes. Once in, the cocktails were too hot to hold the whole suit in, but he wouldn’t let go of the cape.
Some friends wanted to check the head, holding like a war trophy. Rami Malek, for example, and director Taika Waititi, who experimented with it.
But what will happen at dinner? Leto said he would find a “nice quiet seat, so that Chou Chou can take a rest.”
And so it went at the Met Gala, where the Oscar-winning actor with a gigantic cat-head looking for a nap still had to compete with plenty of other things, people, and clothes, for attention.
Here are some moments and scenes from inside the Met Gala on Monday:
Lots to recycle
As guests entered the Metropolitan Museum’s Great Hall, they passed a towering centerpiece — flanked by an orchestra playing melodies — and then climbed the grand staircase to the receiving line, with hosts Anna Wintour, Michaela Cowell, Penobe Cruz, Dua Lipa, and Roger Federer waiting. last year, The centerpiece and tray are covered in bright pink roses—275,000 of them. This time the water bottles were recycled. Met officials put the number at 100,000, obtained from the recycling plant—and returned to the recycling plant. He was the inspiration for exhibition designer Tadao Ando.
Oftentimes, celebrity guests skip the show and head straight for cocktails. This year, museum officials really wanted to see Lagerfeld’s lavish show — so they helped things along by guiding the crowd from the receiving line to the fair, with cocktails and dinner on one floor.
The gallery was already more crowded than usual during the party, and Baz Luhrmann was one of the first to visit. The Australian director worked with Lagerfeld on a Chanel No. 5 ad starring Nicole Kidman and has fond memories, saying the designer is constantly working, learning and innovating. He also praised his intelligence: “Often we don’t celebrate intellect.” He wore a starched white turtleneck shirt, part of Lagerfeld’s personal attire, with his Thom Browne uniform. He remembers visiting Lagerfeld at his home in Biarritz, where he said. “There was a room full of these T-shirts.”
The Met Gala is filled with movie stars, music, sports, fashion, and more, but Wintour also has a fondness for Broadway, often inviting actors from shows she loves to the ceremony. At this party, a spot to one side of Charles Engelhardt’s airy court became the site of the happy reunion of the Broadway cast. Among the group that gathered were laughing and hugging Josh Groban (“Sweeney Todd”), Philippa Sue (“Camelot”), Ben Platt (“Parade”), and Jonathan Groff (“Merry Roll Along”). Su described the concert as “wonderful and weird. I feel very lucky to be here with these artists and celebrate another artist.”
For Platt, it was his fifth time at the Met Gala, and he seemed incredibly lucky. “Anna is a great hero of the theater!” He said. He added that this was his favorite party because he was able to enjoy it with his girlfriend and “Parade” co-star Michaela Diamond.
Education in fashion
Platt received a huge compliment from Groban, who plays the murderous barber in “Sweeney Todd.” He was at his second Met Gala and said he appreciated getting to know Lagerfeld, the German-born designer who worked in luxury fashion for 65 years until his death in 2019.. “It’s impossible when you come to an exhibition like this not to appreciate his influence, his inspiration, and his influence on all forms of fashion,” he said. “This is very educational for me.”
It’s also no secret that Wintour also loves tennis. She is a fixture at the US Open and is particularly close to Federer, the Swiss superstar who recently retired. Federer, who is this year’s host, said he had a more relaxed experience at his second Met Gala. “It’s a much more relaxed lifestyle now, so you can also really get involved in it,” he said. “I can really look forward to that, and prepare for it.” Federer walked out for a dinner of cocktails alongside Serena Williams, who recently stepped back from tennis, and announced her pregnancy At the party with husband Alexis Ohanian. Also in attendance was former and now suspended female star Mary Jo Fernandez, who brought her college daughter as her date.
And some basketball
At his third party, NBA star Russell Westbrook said it was still amazing to meet “so many style icons” at fashion’s biggest night. But the main new face of the sport this year was Brittney Griner, who smiled at the cocktail party when she expressed her pleasure at her presence. On the mat, the WNBA star spoke about helping support families working to free Americans imprisoned in foreign prisons through Bring Our Families Home.
LETO, you’re still holding the cat’s head
Actor Leto, who never left Choupette’s head, explained that his attachment to Lagerfeld (and the cat) was both personal and professional. “It was done with so much love,” he said of the costume. “I knew Carl. And one of the first times I met him I said ‘I’m going to have to play you in a movie,’ and he said, ‘You’re just my darling, just you.’ And now we’re developing a movie. I just feel like if Carl was here, and I saw Carl, in glory Choupette full, he would have had the biggest smile on his face.”
Chance meeting in the rain
Many of the guests reflected on past engagements with Lagerfeld – some of which only happened once. Hugh Jackman explained while sampling for the exhibition that he met the designer at a dinner and was struck by a man who never stopped, whose ethos was “keep creating, keep creating, keep creating.” Rapper Pusha T was also describing a one-time meeting, like several artists featured on Thom Browne, who said he met Lagerfeld in Paris, walking out of his shop. “He was walking, I was going out. I was like, ‘OMG Karl, I have to take a picture.'” He was cute. He took the picture — and then he said, “It’s raining on me, I have to go!”
Cinderella is waiting
Soon it was approaching midnight, and Cinderella had not yet arrived at the ball. Well, it felt like midnight. It wasn’t just the crowds outside on Fifth Avenue or the crew on the red carpet who were waiting for Rihanna to appear. Inside the museum, while most of the guests were at dinner, a strong crew of waiting staff, photographers, and museum staff were also waiting. They heard screams outside, hoping it was a signal of Rihanna’s arrival — but in one case, a cockroach caused the commotion.
Finally the singer BackIt’s 10pm as some of the guests were already leaving the diner. She showed up indoors in her dramatic white Valentino ensemble, accompanied by partner A$AP Rocky in a skirt-type layer over jeans, then disappeared down the hallway. But Cinderella has finally arrived, and everyone else can think of turning into a pumpkin.
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