Met Gala Monday technically begins well before the first celebrity guests arrive to walk the carpet outside the museum’s Fifth Avenue entrance. The real kickoff comes a few hours earlier, when members of the press and assorted fashion personalities gather to see the Costume Institute’s new exhibit for the first time.
The guest of honor at this morning’s formal unveiling of the exhibition, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”? The first lady, Jill Biden, who delivered remarks about the power of fashion as a communication tool.
“Our style helps us express things that can’t be put into words,” Dr. Biden said. “We reveal and conceal who we are with symbols and shapes, colors and cuts — and who creates them.”
Ahead of the State of the Union address, amid the early days of the war in Ukraine, Dr. Biden said she “knew that the only thing that would be reported about me was what I was wearing” that night. So she ordered appliqués of sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine, and had one sewn onto the sleeve of her cobalt blue dress, in a show of solidarity.
“That night, sitting next to the Ukrainian ambassador, I knew that I was sending a message without saying a word,” she said.
The first lady was invited to speak at the museum that morning by Anna Wintour, an honorary co-chair of the gala, who was in attendance along with Condé Nast’s chief executive, Roger Lynch.
After her remarks, Dr. Biden received a private tour of the exhibition, which highlights the work of female designers and dressmakers in America in the 19th and 20th centuries. But she did not, like several other luminaries in attendance, then leave the museum to begin preparations for the red carpet: She will not be attending the Met Gala.
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