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$2 million jewels, $35,000 tickets and $35,000 gowns: the real cost of attending the world’s most exclusive gala

Lucy Dean
Celine Dion, Lupita Nyong'o, Blake Lively and Rihanna have all attended Met Galas. Images: Getty
Celine Dion, Lupita Nyong'o, Blake Lively and Rihanna have all attended Met Galas. Images: Getty

When it comes to fashion, the first Monday of May is a sacred day.

The annual Met Gala, hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and a selection of celebrities and artists each year, is currently underway at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Every year has a theme, and this year’s is “Camp: Notes on Fashion”.

Celebrities, artists, journalists and philanthropists will bump shoulders but its exclusivity isn’t just a matter of making it onto Anna Wintour’s invite list.

It’s also an incredibly expensive night out.

A charity gala raising money for the Met Museum’s fashion department - the Met’s only curatorial department that needs to fund itself - tickets for this year’s Met Gala are reportedly US$35,000 (AU$49,989) - or the price of a 10 per cent deposit on a Sydney apartment.

And if you want to book a table, that will set you back between US$200,000 - $300,000.

Then there’s the cost of just showing up.

Last year’s Met Gala saw actress Blake Lively walk the red carpet in US$2 million worth of jewellery - although it is likely this was on loan, and Lively was not required to fork out the big bucks.

Blake Lively donned a show-stopping gown for the 2018 Met Gala. Image: Getty
Blake Lively donned a show-stopping gown for the 2018 Met Gala. Image: Getty

A 2013 report from The Cut put the price of a designer gown for the gala as high as US$35,000, although successively elaborate gowns (see Rihanna’s papal-inspired 2018 outfit, or Blake Lively’s Versace dress that required more than 600 hours to make) could easily blow that figure out of the water.

Then there’s accommodation, hair and makeup.

The nearby Carlyle costs up to US$910 a night, while The Mark costs up to US$1,250.

According to Refinery29’s 2015 estimates, the total cost of hair and makeup - if you’re after the best - would be around US$3,500 for the day.

If you’re Jared Leto, and want to use a replica of your own head as an accessory, that’ll set you back even further.

And if you want your nails done (again by the most exclusive nail artists) you’re looking at US$300.

Jared Leto poses with Kendall Jenner, Jeff Bezos and a replica of his own head at the 2019 Met Gala. Image: Getty
Jared Leto poses with Kendall Jenner, Jeff Bezos and a replica of his own head at the 2019 Met Gala. Image: Getty

Attendees who want to arrive in a limousine are looking at another US$450.

But if you have a huge gown, like Blake Lively did in 2018, you may need to arrange an entire bus to take you there.

However, there is a way to attend the Met Gala almost for free.

At the 2017 Met Gala, reality TV star and youngest self-made billionaire, Kylie Jenner attended as a guest of Versace. That means it’s unlikely she was required to pay for her ticket, her dress and possibly not even her new platinum blonde bob.

As Jenner posted on Instagram at the time, “When donatella wants you to go blonde .. you go f**king BLONDE 👩🏼”.

So that’s the secret, befriend a fabulous (and loaded) designer, and attend for free.

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