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Met Gala 2017: What you need to know

The year's biggest fashion event arrives in time for May Day.
Beyonce Met Gala 2016 Givenchy
Beyonce dominating in Givenchy at last year's Met Gala. Photo: Getty

The Met Gala is a Very Big Deal in the fashion and art world. What is the Met Gala? The fundraising event for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art occurs every year on the first Monday of May. Often referred to as the “Fashion Oscars,” the party sees celebrities and big names in the spheres of both art and style step out, with what they’re wearing as, if not more, important as the art on the walls. (Case in point: last year, a mere week after Beyonce shook the world with the release of “Lemonade,” she dazzled at the Gala in a studded latex Givenchy gown.

What is the theme this year?

Each year, the gala coincides with the opening of a major fashion exhibition, from which the gala takes its theme, giving attendees a sartorial prompt, if you will, to engage with the show through their choice of outfits. This year, that exhibition is “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between,” which opens Thursday, May 4. It will feature around 140 pieces from the Japanese fashion designer’s womenswear collection, from 1980 to the present. 

The acclaimed 74-year-old founder of Comme des Garcons is the first living designer to be the subject of the Met Gala since Yves Saint-Laurent in 1983. 

“In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing,” Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Met, said in a statement. “Curator Andrew Bolton will explore work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion’s role in contemporary culture.”

The show, which is all about exploring boundaries, is organized into eight thematic binaries — Fashion/Anti Fashion, Design/Not Design, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, Clothes/Not Clothes — which will provide plenty of food for, er, dress, for this year’s A-listers. 

The chairs of the Met Gala this year: Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, Katy Perry (who modeled Kawakubo for Vogue's May cover story), Pharrell Williams and Anna Wintour, with Kawakubo and Caroline Kennedy as honorary chairs. 

Where to watch the Met Gala

The red carpet arrivals begin at 7:00 p.m If you’re a mere mortal who won't be attending, you can tune in on Vogue’s Facebook page, where they’ll be streaming it via Live 360. E!News is also livestreaming.