NEW YORK – Fashion's biggest night is underway — after all, it is the first Monday in May. Follow along for real-time updates on the 2023 Met Gala from The Associated Press. We'll be bringing you news in all formats, all day and all night, from the carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and behind the scenes. This year's theme revolves around late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.
IS RIHANNA AT THE MET GALA?
Yes! About an hour and a half after reporters were told to expect one more guest in about 15 minutes, Rihanna herself arrived at the Met Gala. She ascended the steps in voluminous white bedecked with rosettes that doubled as a hood, accompanied by A$AP Rocky in a kilt-type layer over jeans (reminiscent of mid-aughts Disney Channel couture).
It's just May and it's already been a year of grand entrances for Rihanna, who revealed her pregnancy during her Super Bowl appearance in February.
MET GALA COCKROACH, 2023-2023
The cockroach has been stepped on. While it's possible the cockroach was born in 2022, given that they have an adult lifespan of around six months, we reckoned that lifespan shortens significantly in New York City.
IS RIHANNA AT THE MET GALA?
No. At least, not yet. It's 10:05 p.m.
MEANWHILE, A CUTE MOMENT
While we wait, here's a cute moment witnessed by AP's Brooke Lefferts: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union departed and then Britney Griner walked down the Met steps to cheers. Wade came back in to hug Griner, chatting with her and then FaceTiming his daughter on his phone. He did a pan as all the press yelled and waved: “Thanks,” he said, “I wanted to show my daughter what the Met Gala was like.”
Wade has two daughters, 4-year-old Kaavia and 15-year-old Zaya, who is trans. Wade recently said in an interview with Rachel Nichols that his family left Florida because his family wouldn't be accepted, a reference to the state's pursuit of anti-LGBTQ+ policies.
MYSTERY AT THE MET
It's nearly 9:30 p.m. All the reporters at the Met Gala are in a holding pattern. We've been told someone big is coming, and we've been told that for the last 40 minutes or so. But the identity and the location of the final guest remains a mystery: Is it Rihanna, known for a grand — and late — entrance? Is it Choupette, coming to extract revenge on Jared Leto? Is it the cockroach that AP's Beatrice Dupuy just saw scurry up the stairs?
“Who are you wearing?” a reporter yelled. The roach did not respond.
Inside the Met Gala, with cocktails over and done, most had gone inside for dinner. Left behind were the journalists like AP's Jocelyn Noveck, awaiting the whoever — or whatever — is coming.
DRESSED TO (THE) NINE(S)
It's 8:50 p.m. and cocktails are long over inside the Met. Dinner was supposed to start at 8 p.m. But it seems as if the carpet has some life still left in it, even with appearances by what would be showstoppers — like Jeremy Pope in a massive Karl Lagerfeld cape — at any other event already gone by.
THE BUZZ ABOUT FLORENCE PUGH
Florence Pugh did not hold back for her Met Gala debut. The 27-year-old actor surprised onlookers with a shaved head, adorned with a sky-high feathered headpiece by Valentino. Her gown, also Valentino, was white with a black ribbon.
Pugh has sported several showstopping Valentino looks lately, including at the Venice Film Festival premiere of “Don’t Worry Darling” and then again at the Oscars earlier this year. Last week she revealed that she was the new star of Valentino’s Rockstud bag campaign.
But it was her hair that drew the most attention. Some onlookers wondered if it was a wig.
In an interview last week with the New York Times she teased that her Met Gala look was going to be “big.”
“The idea is to be as bold as possible. I love the power that it gives me. I love how it sparks conversation,” Pugh said. “Every time I step out in whatever dress, that’s a version of me that I’m really proud of. So it doesn’t matter if people don’t necessarily like it. I don’t think anything that I do has to be 100% loved. Things being up for debate is good. It means people are interested."
Just last week, Pugh attended an event with a long blonde bob with bangs.
BRITNEY GRINER SPEAKS OUT
Brittney Griner knows she has an advantage over other Americans being detained overseas as a public figure with access to media.
The WNBA star used that influence on the carpet at the Met Gala to talk about helping support families working to free Americans jailed in foreign prisons through the organization Bring Our Families Home, dressed in Calvin Klein and alongside her wife
The 6-foot, 9-inch Griner is finally taking on a more public profile after being traded for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout on Dec. 8, 10 months after she was arrested at a Moscow airport. Authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. She later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Griner recently appeared at an event with Al Sharpton and attended the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington on Saturday. She had her first news conference since her release in preparation for the upcoming basketball season, which starts May 19.
PRECIOUS LEE ON FATPHOBIA
Model Precious Lee only had only positive things to say about Karl Lagerfeld’s designs Monday at the Met Gala. “It’s alluring, seductive, captivating, timeless, elevated,” Lee told The Associated Press.
Lee, a plus-sized model, wore a black Fendi gown with a hot pink Fendi baguette purse for the night.
She did not have any direct comment about Lagerfeld’s comments about fat people, but simply said, “I’m fab. Always have been, always will be.”
Lagerfeld was not shy about his own fatphobia and did not think he should have to cast models of different sizes in his shows.
SERENA WILLIAMS PREGNANT, TOO!
Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian announced they were expecting a baby during a Vogue livestream interview with La La Anthony.
The tennis superstar announced she would retire from the sport in August, saying she wanted to focus on her business interests — and having another child.
Williams and Ohanian beamed as they told Anthony there were three of them up there for the interview. Then Ohanian and Anthony both offered to have a drink on Williams' behalf inside.
The couple has a 5-year-old daughter, Olympia. Williams actually announced her intention to step away from tennis in an essay for — where else? — Vogue.
Earlier in the night, Karlie Kloss also announced she was pregnant.
WHO'S THAT CAT?
New York's rat czar can rest easy — the cats have overrun the Met. There's still no Choupette (how many times can we link to our story on her absence?), but the attendees are stepping up:
1. Jared Leto talked to AP's John Carucci as Choupette. He didn't just channel her spirit from across the ocean — that was him in a giant, white fursuit complete with heart-melting eyes. At some point, though, the head came off, at which point it looked alarmingly like a medieval battle trophy.
2. Lil Nas X talked to cameras in meows. If you speak Cat, help meow-t. The singer's look was “crystallized cat,” created by Pat McGrath and Dior Men.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this item said Leto told the AP he lost a bet. He, in fact, said “C'est moi, Choupette.” ("It's me, Choupette").
DOJA CAT. THAT'S THE HEADLINE.
Doja Cat leaned into her name and love of cats for her first Met Gala look. The rapper arrived on the carpet with makeup and prosthetics that gave her a feline’s face, cat claws for her nails and sequined dress with cat ears.
“I’m just really happy about it and I feel sexy,” she said of the look.
The makeup took 45 minutes to an hour and getting the dress on took about 20 minutes.
Doja Cat said the inspiration for her look came immediately when she heard this year’s theme, which honors the late designer Karl Lagerfeld, who counted among his many muses his cat Choupette.
“We just went for it,” she said.
A viewer of AP's livestream of departures from the nearby Mark Hotel could purr-dict that something was afoot. Doja left ensconced in a phalanx of umbrellas, much to the chagrin of the present fans, photographers and video journalists.
It’s all in the details. Some notable accessories on the carpet:
3. Chloe Fineman’s cat-shaped bag, a Choupette substitute (we’re really sad the cat didn’t come, if you couldn’t tell. This isn’t an accessory, but Emma Chamberlain wore “Choupette blue,” by the way)
4. Rita Ora’s long, jeweled chain nails
5. Irina Shayk’s ballet flats
6. David Byrne’s bicycle, complete with a handbasket
7. Chloe Malle’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” purse
8. An unrecognizably blonde Jessica Chastain's sunglasses (that she was asked to remove because no one could tell who she was)
SIGH: WHO WORE IT BEST?
What would Karl say? Actor and filmmaker Olivia Wilde and Margaret Zhang, Vogue China's editor-in-chief, showed up to the Met Gala in what appeared to be the same Chloe dress in different colors. Wilde’s was white and Zhang’s was black, but both had a gold embellishment that resembled a guitar on their torsos.
The fashion faux pas caught fire on social media as people pulled out old jokes about “the dress” that some people saw as blue and black and some people saw as white and gold.
KARLIE KLOSS' SECRET PLUS-ONE
No one gets an automatic plus-one to the Met Gala — unless you're Karlie Kloss. Accompanied by her husband Josh Kushner, Kloss revealed her pregnancy in an interview with Emma Chamberlain on the Vogue livestream — much to the host's excitement.
Kloss and Kushner also have a son, born in 2021.
BOB IGER ALL SMILES AMID LAYOFFS AT HAUS OF MOUSE
Disney CEO Bob Iger was all smiles on the Met Gala carpet amid massive layoffs at the company and a lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday over the Republican’s takeover of its theme park district, alleging the governor waged a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” after the company opposed a law critics call “Don’t Say Gay.”
Iger said the Met Gala is “one of the best nights of the year.” Iger said that the Met Gala may be second to the happiest place on earth but that it’s “the happiest night on earth.”
When asked about the lawsuit Iger told the AP that he had nothing more to say “than what we’ve already said.”
The Walt Disney Co. last week also went through a second round of layoffs this year in an effort to cut 7,000 jobs before the summer.
HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS — AND SO IS GISELE
Gisele Bündchen looked happy and confident on the Met Gala carpet, wearing a white sequined Chanel gown with a white feathered cape draped on her shoulders with her hair in long, beachy waves.
The supermodel wore the gown previously, in 2007, for a Harper’s Bazaar Korea shoot, shot on location by Lagerfeld.
The last time Bündchen attended the Met Gala was in 2019 with then-husband Tom Brady. The pair divorced in October.
MICHAELA COEL IS HERSELF
“What I like about you is you're unafraid to be yourself.” That's what Michaela Coel said Anna Wintour told her when she asked why she was picked as a co-chair of this year's gala. Coel told Vogue livestream host La La Anthony that Wintour likened the British multihyphenate to Lagerfeld in that way.
“I'm just out here being myself," Coel declared, clad in a Schiaparelli dress with more than 130,000 crystals and chain embellishment.
QUINTA BRUNSON DID HER HOMEWORK
On brand for her “Abbott Elementary” character, Quinta Brunson knows her fashion and studied up before her first Met Gala.
The writer-actor says her dress was inspired by a piece in Karl Lagerfeld’s 1992 collection, while her hair inspiration came from one of the late fashion designer’s 2003 shows.
Asked how she felt about attending her first Met Gala, Brunson says, “I’m just speechless. I’m just really happy to be here.”
The Emmy winner has become a fixture recently in New York’s fashion world, attending several shows during February’s fashion week.
On the eve of a possible writers strike, the proud WGA member said: "No one wants a strike but I hope that we’re able to rectify this. Whatever that means.”
NICOLE KIDMAN CREDITS KARL
“I’m wearing a dress that Karl designed for me 20 years ago. I’m very grateful to wear it. He was so much a part of my life as were his whole team,” Nicole Kidman said. “He was the one really sort of shepherded me … in terms of my love of fashion.”
In 2004, the Australian actor appeared in a three-minute Chanel No. 5 commercial shot by director Baz Luhrmann. Lagerfeld designed the costumes and also appeared in the short.
PENÉLOPE CRUZ FEELS LUCKY
Actor Penélope Cruz, one of this year’s Met Gala co-chairs, said she felt lucky and privileged to be part of group honoring a genius, the late designer Karl Lagerfeld, who she said she was lucky to call a friend.
“He really deserves this and not only because of his talent and his generosity,” Cruz said. “I know people at Chanel for almost 30 years. I know, like whoever is and has been there for so long, they loved him so much. It’s not just the ones at the top.”
Cruz, who has an ongoing relationship with Chanel, said that everyone at the house is treated with respect. On Monday she wore a hooded, sheer, white gown by Chanel.
“I’m proud to be working with a brand that has those values,” she said.
Lagerfeld transformed the historic fashion brand but also was a controversial figure for his views on fatness, gay men who want to adopt children, migrants, sexual assault survivors, the #MeToo movement and “ugly” people.
ROGER FEDERER, A LA MODE
Asked how he got to be a Met Gala co-chair, tennis great Roger Federer says it helps to know Anna Wintour.
Federer is one of the evening’s chairs and among the early arrivals, walked up the Met’s carpeted steps a few minutes after fellow co-chair Dua Lipa arrived.
The tennis star says it makes sense for athletes to be at the Met Gala because they’ve become a bigger part of the fashion world in recent years.
“I think the sports people have gotten more and more fashionable,” Federer told the AP. “We’re fortunate to get onto covers much more frequently nowadays. Before it was always the models, the good-looking people, not the athletes."
“Life has been so intertwined between sports and fashion in recent years, so it’s nice to come out on a type of red carpet like this,” he said before ascending the steps.
DUA LIPA IS VERY SPECIAL
Met Gala co-chair Dua Lipa wore a Tiffany diamond around her neck that she called “very special” and that she hoped shimmered for the night. The singer's cream-colored dress, by Chanel from 1992, was also “very, very special” as it has been on her mood boards, she said. Claudia Schiffer wore the gown on the runway for its debut, although hers had a matching hat.
ANNA WINTOUR ON HER FRIEND KARL
Karl Lagerfeld was “a very kind person,” Anna Wintour — Vogue's editor-in-chief and the host and mastermind behind the gala — said when asked what people misunderstand about the late designer.
She also said she hoped “he would understand how many people love and respect him.”
Wintour was escorted by actor Bill Nighy.
More on the decor, courtesy the Costume Institute:
“Each side of the red carpet tent is lined with trompe l’oeil panels inspired by 18th century French decorative arts, which Lagerfeld collected. The traditional hedges of greenery and florals are replaced this year with light installations comprised of recycled water bottles lit with a blue glow. Matching chandeliers also hang above the carpet. The Great Hall information desk is transformed into a cylindrical-shaped architectural installation, also comprised of recycled water bottles lit with a blue hue.”
MAKING ITS MARK
The Mark Hotel has become an integral part of the Met Gala fabric. Located one avenue and about four blocks away from the museum, it bills itself as “New York's most boldly lavish hotel” and it's where many high-profile guests get ready for the gala. There's no chance of getting a room there tonight, but fans and photogs alike are lining the entrance to capture departures. We even have a livestream up right now.
RED CARPETS ARE SO LAST YEAR
You'd be forgiven for thinking the Met Gala seemingly followed in the Oscars' footsteps with a more champagne-colored path into the exclusive party.
Garnished with red and blue lines snaking up the famed stairs, the Met Gala carpet also pays tribute to the Karl Lagerfeld exhibit inside, which “centers first and foremost on the dichotomy of the curved ‘S’ line (think romantic, decorative) and the straight line (modern, minimalist), with one curved wall and one straight wall in each gallery,” according to AP’s Jocelyn Noveck.
But the Oscars' departure from the typical red this year actually came courtesy creative consultants Lisa Love, a longtime Vogue contributor, and Raúl Àvila — the creative director of none other than, you guessed it, the Met Gala.
The carpet's design shows one of Japanese architect Tadao Ando's original sketches for the exhibition, a publicist for the Costume Institute said.
PEEK AT THE GUEST LIST
The worlds of fashion, Hollywood, sports and music are set to collide at the Met Gala tonight.
There will be supermodels, including Amber Valletta, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Carolyn Murphy, Emily Ratajkowski and Gigi Hadid walking alongside sports icons like Serena Williams, host Roger Federer, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Roddick. Along those lines: Yes, Gisele Bündchen will be there; no, Tom Brady isn't on the list.
Stars from hit shows like “Succession,” including Jeremy Strong and Alexander Skarsgård and “The Last of Us,” with Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal are expected, as are several recent Oscar winners like “Everything Everywhere All At Once’s” Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh.
Broadway will be well represented with Phillipa Soo, Ben Platt, Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff as well as a host of movie stars, including the likes of Margot Robbie, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lopez, Rami Malek, Robert Pattinson, Hugh Jackman and Florence Pugh, directors (Baz Luhrmann, Taika Waititi, Olivia Wilde and Sofia Coppola among them) and even executives, like Disney CEO Bob Iger and Interscope co-founder Jimmy Iovine.
There will be designers like Miuccia Prada, Stella McCartney, Vera Wang, Donatella Versace, Prabal Gurung, Tommy Hilfiger and Alessandro Michele, heiresses like Paris Hilton and Ivy Getty and actual royalty, like Charlotte Casiraghi. And from the music world, Billie Eilish, FINNEAS, Lil Nas X, host Dua Lipa, Tems and Usher.
WHO'S MISSING FROM THE GUEST LIST?
The guest list handed out to reporters was more than seven pages long — but there were some big names missing. The mononymous showstoppers from previous years — Beyoncé, Rihanna and Zendaya — were all absent.
Blake Lively already told us she wouldn't make it this year. Lively's good friend Taylor Swift also wasn't on the list; while her Eras tour is in full swing, she played Atlanta last night and isn't due to play Nashville until Friday.
Two of Lagerfeld's own “choupettes” (human edition), Vanessa Paradis and daughter Lily-Rose Depp, were also not on the list. But surprises are never out of the question.
Unfounded rumors flew about whether the Kardashians were even invited to this year's Met Gala; Kim put them at rest when she posted to Instagram a research trip to Paris (complete with a stop to pay fealty to Choupette ).
But who else from the Kardashian-Jenner clan made the cut? According to the guest list provided to press at the venue, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner are the only other attendees slated to come.
But what about the extended universe? Kendall's rumored beau Bad Bunny is on the list; Kylie's — one Timothée Chalamet, a recent Met Gala host — is not. Also on the list: Kim's ex, Pete Davidson. The pair walked the carpet last year, with Kim clad in the famous Marilyn Monroe dress.
DRESS TO IM-PRESS
The press line opened hours before the stars are scheduled to descend upon the Met. As AP's own Beatrice Dupuy waited patiently on a gray Manhattan afternoon, she noted that fans had already started packing the streets around the Upper East Side museum. But even at 3 p.m. Eastern, the police presence was minimal as workers clad in yellow vests cleaned the sidewalks.
The press line was full of reporters trying their best to emulate Chanel, with many a dark suit or tux on men and women alike. A star himself joined their ranks: In a pink ensemble accessorized with giant rosettes, Harvey Guillén (Guillermo of “What We Do in the Shadows” fame) queued up to get set for a hosting stint with E! News.
HAVE YOU MET THE DEBT GALA?
Monday's gala is a benefit for the museum's Costume Institute and a pricey affair — last year, the exclusive event brought in more than $17 million. For those with no invite or who aren't inclined to spend tens of thousands, alternative events have popped up in recent years.
On the torrentially rainy Sunday before, the Brooklyn borough played host to two such events: The People's Ball, at the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Debt Gala, at The Bell House. The former is a free event that allows guests to sashay down the runway in the Central Library's lobby. The library's website doesn't specifically reference the Met Gala — rather, pitting itself “in contrast to the elite galas that pop up across the city in the spring” — but the Debt Gala very much does.
Around 300 people attended the inaugural Debt Gala, raising more than $15,000 for RIP Medical Debt, organizers told the AP. This year's funds will go toward buying and wiping out others' medical debt, but organizers say the gala might target different types of debt in future years.
Inspired by the 2016 Met Gala theme, “Manus x Machina,” the Debt Gala chose “Garbage X Glamour” for a sustainability focus. “The drama of the weather matched the drama of the looks,” organizers said — among them: a pink shawl and personal runway made of bubble wrap; a harness made of tampons and condoms created by performer Joyelle Nicole Johnson; a green corset made of CDs; and, of course, a dress made of trash bags.
The guests had to evacuate the venue because of flooding, but sustained the night at a nearby bar.
PAS DE CHAT: NO CHOUPETTE
The Met Gala guest list is highly secretive and thus in great demand. But this year, there was one name that had fashion fans and the press achatter: Choupette Lagerfeld, 11.
Would Lagerfeld's muse — who also happened to be the late designer's cat — leave her perch in France for New York? Alas, she has spoken: Non.
Choupette — or an oracle with opposable thumbs — took to Instagram on Monday morning to dispel rumors that she would walk (or be walked) up the iconic stairs. While she expressed gratitude that the man she calls “Daddy” was being honored, she said “we preferred to stay peacefully & cozy at home.”
Her account posted the photo Monday morning. If she's changed her mind in the hours since, she could still make the gala — after all, the flight from Paris to New York is around eight hours and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not require domestic cats to quarantine upon arrival. Oui, we checked.
INSIDE THE MET EXHIBIT
AP's Jocelyn Noveck got a sneak peek inside the Met's actual exhibit on Lagerfeld. With a bit of cheek, a doorway is emblazoned with the words: “Fashion does not belong in a museum.” And yet visitors are treated to 14 galleries of fashion in the museum. While that quote came from Lagerfeld himself, Noveck notes that the exhibit otherwise doesn't focus on Lagerfeld's more contentious takes.
WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH KARL LAGERFELD
The late fashion designer's selection as the theme is not without controversy, with some criticizing his unapologetically polemical comments on a variety of topics, including xenophobic and fatphobic remarks. AP Entertainment Writer Leanne Italie, who will be anchoring our coverage tonight, breaks down the designer's multifaceted legacy.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS YEAR'S MET GALA
This year is themed around the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new exhibit, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” Given that Lagerfeld was, well, a fashion designer, you can expect many a haute look.
The guest list is heavily guarded, but every year leaks do escape. Check out our guide on the 2023 Met Gala for a sneak peek on who might walk up those iconic stairs tonight, brought to you by AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck (who will also bring you one of the rare dispatches from inside the event).
HOW TO WATCH THE MET GALA
A livestream will kick off on Vogue.com at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. But the AP can give you a first look at what to expect — check back here in the late afternoon for a livestream of departures from the Mark Hotel, a nearby venue where many stars get ready for the gala.
For more Met Gala coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/met-gala