Zac Posen, Vivienne Tam Fete Anna Wintour at 'First Monday in May' Premiere

Anna Wintour First Monday in May Premiere H 2016
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Anna Wintour First Monday in May Premiere H 2016

"I use a lot of technology when working with fabrics," said Tam of this year's Met Gala theme. "New techniques with the old techniques are like yin and yang together."

If you were one of the 661,509 people who attended The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit in 2011, you might recall the length of the line: hourslong and wrapped around the building. But above all, you likely remember the curve of the feathers, the myriad of details both jagged and soft that depicted late designer’s genius.

“It was just so extraordinary,” Donna Karan told Pret-a-Reporter at the premiere of The First Monday In May, a documentary about The Costume Institute that opened the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday. “You saw that exhibit and questioned: Could I ever do that? Could I ever have something like that? I think it’s a worry on my mind,” she laughed.

Though the Andrew Rossi-directed documentary provides viewers with an extensive behind-the-scenes look at last year's China: Through The Looking Glass exhibit, it's the McQueen retrospective that launches the recurring argument that fashion is as much an art form as the 19th-century paintings displayed on the museum’s second floor. “When you hear the designers talk about creating a story with individual pieces, it very much feels like what happens when you’re trying to create a film. That artistry is what this event is about,” said TFF co-founder Jane Rosenthal when asked why a fashion-centric film was chosen as a kickoff for this year's festival.

Those who walked the carpet were equally eager to champion the film's “fashion is art” theme (“If you haven’t noticed I stuck a lizard bookmark in my shoe this evening — it makes an awful good piece of art,” said an Armani-clad Lauren Hutton). But the candidness of the film’s subjects about non-fashion issues (i.e. Josh Hartnett's relevance and table settings) was perhaps the most riveting part. “It’s fascinating to observe people when they forget that the cameras are there," Rossi told THR before the screening began. "The goal was to develop trust with the subject and hope that you could get get intimate moments with them.”

Among those people: curator Andrew Bolton, director Baz Luhrmann, visionary designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld and John Galliano, and U.S. Vogue Editor/Conde Nast Artistic Director Anna Wintour, whose annual gala to open the exhibit each May is a cultural phenomenon in its own right.

At Wednesday’s premiere — which was attended by Jane Fonda, Wendi Deng Murdoch, Karolina Kurkova, Shoshanna Lonstein, fest jury members Chloe Grace Moretz and Jason Biggs, and co-founder Robert De Niro — designers like Zac Posen and Vivienne Tam were already focused on this year’s May 2 soiree, which will center around the theme of technology. “Oh, yes, I use a lot of technology when working with fabrics," said Tam, who had three pieces exhibited last year. "New techniques with the old techniques are like yin and yang together."

"I'm definitely prepping for this year," added Posen, who attended his first gala at age 16 while interning for the Costume Institute. When asked to recall his favorite moment of all time, he began confidently, "I have many. Last year with Katie [Holmes] was amazing and for the Charles James exhibit ..." he trailed off. Much like the movie, Wintour, who moved past him on the carpet, captured his attention and drew him away like a moth to the flame.