There is only one purpose to any good oral history, and that’s to reveal who did coke off of whom in a bathroom. That’s it! Imagine having an oral history that doesn’t invoke drugs even once.
Obviously Vogue wasn’t going to blow its own cover when it released this mostly boring 8,000 word account of the annual Met Gala, canceled this year like everything else. In lieu of all the looks, I would have happily settled for a very very decadent, very real look at what goes down in that infamous bathroom, which is probably sordid beyond my plebeian imagination. Does anyone even do coke anymore, or are we just gnawing on ketamine rocks these days?
Instead of anything fun or useful, we got this anodyne account that serves only as a paean to Anna Wintour and not much else. I combed through it for the best quotes so you don’t have to.
Stephen Jones, milliner and exhibition headpiece designer
I was at Central Saint Martins in London then and it was 1976 and we were all punks, wearing rubber and leather and hanging around in the library with a bottle of red wine hidden in our bag. But then, I saw this book and I looked inside it and just marveled at the images and the story. It was called Hollywood something, something Glamour. It was the most extraordinary thing I had ever seen. I tried to steal the book but I was found out by the completely terrifying librarian who basically rugby tackled me as I tried to skip over the entrance to the library.... About 15 years ago, I bought a copy at auction in perfect condition for really quite a bit of money.
Elle Fanning, actress:
I was sat next to Franca Sozzani. I wore this little—I looked like a little Oreo, in the best way—navy and white lace little short skirt.
Rita Ora, singer:
[When I realized I was attending,] I don’t know if I cried or if I vomited, because it would be the scariest one minute of my life, having to go up those stairs.
Working on the headpieces for the “Anglomania” exhibition, I was thinking, Well, if I were back in punk times, but knowing how to make hats as I do now, what would I like to have? So I made a Mohican out of cigarettes and I made him a Mohican out of tampons, which actually went before the museum board. And it was actually quite funny because all the men were saying, “I don’’ know if we can have this?” And all the girls are laughing. It had to go before the board, the cigarettes got through but not the tampons at first.
Sophie Pape, Met gala consultant
Katy Perry’s Moschino chandelier was a whole thing. It weighed 50 pounds and the dimension of that look allowed for just an inch and a quarter to clear the museum door. I got the picture of the chandelier and then I flagged the dimensions, like, can we even get it this in? And there was a lot of back and forth on how we were going to get her hat on and because it was battery powered, how long that battery was going live. We wanted to make sure that it’s as systematic as possible with these entries so we had to time her arrival so she didn’t have to bypass the line because everyone’s important. So it was a little bit tricky. Then when she was inside, she changed from her chandelier into a burger. I just wish she had been a hot dog because it was very difficult for her to get in between some of the tables in the dining room.
Prabal Gurung, designer
I designed a dress in a certain shape for Diane Kruger, but then she said, “Oh, can we make it an empire waist?” Only later did I realize that she was pregnant.
Detective Michael Lombardi, New York City Police Department
There are two things that I will never understand in this world and that’s art and fashion. I will never get it. Understand it. I try to look at it, but I just scratch my head looking at the red carpet.
Kendall Jenner, model
I remember Jared Leto last year had a mold of his own head. He’s like, “Take it for the night!” And I’m like, “This thing is heavy. I have wings! I need to give this back to you.”
Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Cardinal Dolan, who I got to know quite well during the Heavenly Bodies dinner, he likes his food and he was appalled about how small the portions were. He’s used to, I suppose, massive portions and tipped a waiter to go out onto the street to get him two hot dogs.
Elle Fanning, actress
I know Cass Bird was in there for awhile and she would take all the photos and I even have some cool photos. I have a really good photo of Lupita Nyong’o in the bathroom. It’s on my phone still and I never showed it to her. You always can snap good photos in the bathroom, that’s for sure. There’s feathers and glitter all over the floor being left behind and people whispering in each other’s ears the gossip that’s going on. You can always tell there’s some drama. It feels like a high school bathroom.
Kimberly Chey, senior development officer for events at the Met
There have been several crashers who weren’t fully clothed. Those were kind of shocking moments, you know, be it topless, bottomless, or semi-bottomless. But the naked man in the box definitely takes the cake.
Rachna Shah, partner, managing director PR and digital at KCD
At her first Met gala, Celine Dion showed up and she was like, “Do I need to show ID? I don’t know if I have it in my pocket.” And we were kind of joking with her that, you know, obviously I think we can tell who you are by your voice. And so she actually started singing. I mean it was incredible! It was Celine Dion standing right in front of you singing!
Sally Singer, former Vogue creative digital director
One year Jessica Simpson was there with John Mayer. She was wearing Michael Kors and her breasts maybe fell out of her dress on the red carpet...and then at dinner it was suddenly like, whoa, Jessica Simpson’s breasts are across from me at the dinner table and they are on a platter and I’m looking at them. And John Mayer was putting his hands on them at the dinner table. He kind of reached down and I just remember thinking, Oh, celebrities, feel free to play here. That’s what’s going on.
Detective Michael Lombardi, New York City Police Department
It was the last car that night. We’re standing there, truck opens up, kind of looking at it like Okay, last car, lets go. Oh, it’s a box, it was covered. They picked the box up, they put it on the red carpet, they take the cloth off, and there was a gentleman who is inside of a plexi, see-through box, completely nude on the red carpet. Quickly, you know, myself with security, got that box removed from the red carpet and we needed to get that box open and see what was going on with him. It was a very interesting, maybe 15 minutes that played out until we really got it under control. And I didn’t expect that. We heard about crashers years prior, but a person coming in a plexiglass box, naked, was something new for all of us. The box was shut. I was there with my supervisor and we were trying to talk to the guy in a box and he’s not answering us. Is he alive? Is he breathing? You know, why aren’t you answering us? Does he need medical attention? So we had to get the fire department to open up the box...he was placed under arrest.