6 Juiciest Revelations in the New Met Ball Doc
From Rihanna's exorbitant budget to Anna Wintour's fierce loyalty to H&M, here is 'The First Monday in May's' dishiest details.
The First Monday in May offers the chance to trail hot on Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s Manolo heels as she and her team mastermind fashion’s most glamorous night — the Met Gala. The film by director Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times) goes inside 2015’s “China: Through the Looking Glass” party, where Lady Gaga can be overheard saying, "Scotch in a glass, how classy," while Giancarlo Giammetti snaps photos of Anne Hathaway and designer pal Valentino as Justin Bieber ponders a Chinese military uniform set against a Mao printed backdrop ("How do you think that would look on me?") and Michael Kors gives Kate Hudson a guided tour of the latest costume installation. It’s mostly narrated by lead curator Andrew Bolton, but boasts cameos by fashion VIPs John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld (who actually missed 2015’s gala because of Chanel’s Cruise show on the same day in Seoul), Thom Browne (Bolton’s partner), Jean Paul Gaultier, Andre Leon Talley and scene-stealer Baz Luhrmann. Here, six juicy tidbits for fashion fans:
1. If you want Rihanna, it will cost you — double the amount of any other performer in Met Gala history (Puffy and Florence and the Machine have rocked the Met). "We can’t lose her … is it that she has a larger crew than Kanye did?" Vogue’s head of special projects Sylvana Ward Durrett asks someone from Rihanna’s camp on the other end of the phone. The “Work” singer’s proposed budget to perform is bleeped out, but it sounds an awful lot like something in the $400,000-ish range that has been dropped down to a $300,000-ish range, but still is not palatable for Vogue’s crew. This is, ahem, for charity. Rihanna’s rep says: "She has a massive team that she travels with and that’s how she rolls. I told them not to even send it to me [the budget] until they worked on it because I said it was a non-starter, so they went back …. She’s expensive, period." Durrett calls Wintour to break the news and asks her to help give a gentle nudge: "It’s about twice as much as any performer we’ve ever had," says Durrett. "They’re not interested in making it come down any further, they feel like they’ve done a lot — so it’s going to take a higher level ask…you know, from you…." Wintour agrees. Cue Rihanna singing "Bitch Better Have My Money."
2. The H&M table can’t be buried — Wintour embraces the brand that’s all about bringing fashion to the masses (Sarah Jessica Parker wore an embroidered silk dress that she co-designed with the label to 2015’s ball). "We shouldn’t bury this table — seriously," says Wintour to Durrett while going over a seating chart. "That’s not fair." Compromise: H&M guests sit comfortably next to the Cartier guests.
3. Wintour holds décor meetings at her Greenwich Village townhome — think pink peonies, bamboo silverware, floral china place settings and assorted linens for a trial run on Wintour’s dining table. Baz Luhrmann arrives mid-meeting and asks, “How chinoiserie is it?” before nixing the idea of double dragons at the red carpet entrance. “And, by the way, the water slide at the end of it’s awesome,” jokes Luhrmann of the OTT proposed entryway.
QUEEN OF THE MET BALL: Wintour in Chanel Couture at the 2015 Met Gala.
4. What started as a small society event and $50 a ticket (now $30,000 a ticket) raises mega bucks. 2015's "China: Through the Looking Glass" by the numbers:
• 250,000 — the number of roses to create the impressive blue-and-white Chinese porcelain vase arrangement (entirely made of flowers) that greeted guests including Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian and Bradley Cooper upon their arrival. “Unbelievable,” exclaims Wintour.
• $12.5 million — the amount of money raised for the museum from 2015’s Met Gala.
• More than 800,000 — the number of people that visited "China: Through the Looking Glass." It was the fifth most visited exhibition in the Met’s history, surpassing 2011’s record-shattering “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.”
5. Wintour has the power to shut down the Met Museum (or at least an entire wing). In a meeting, the editor informs museum staffers that they will have to close the temple area on Sunday (one of the museum’s highest traffic days) for rehearsals before Monday night’s big event. "It just means that from the general public point of view there is no access to the entire north end of the building," says one baffled Met staffer. "The public will come back next week," replies Wintour.
6. Luhrmann addresses Wintour’s so-called "dragon lady image." He says: "A lot of that is absolutely true, but I do think if Anna was a man there might be less focus on that." Preach. FYI, Wintour prefers "decisive."