TV3’s movie expert Kate Rodger joins the glitterati at the Met Gala – or at least she attends the movie that goes behind the scenes of this prestigious event.
The First Monday in May Starring Andrew Bolton, Anna Wintour, John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier. Directed by Andrew Rossi.
Your spring dose of fashion porn is here, so polish up your Prada pumps and get thee to your nearest cinema – The First Monday in May has landed! If you’re anything like me, early in May each year you will be glued to your device as the red carpet rolls out for the Met Gala in New York. Even the Oscars’ red carpet pales in comparison to the Met Gala, as Hollywood really does embrace the haute in haute couture – where it’s all or nothing and sometimes either will do (I’m talking to you Madonna). It’s a guest list to die for. Kim, Kanye, Kendall; Rihanna, Taylor, Beyonce; SJP, J-Lo, J-Law. The belle of the Met Ball calling the shots at this superbowl of fashion is of course Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour.
We saw how Ms Wintour rolls in The September Issue, and while she’s not as centre stage here, this is still her show. She has the power to make and break – her Met Gala is not just the carpet to conquer and the hottest ticket in town, it’s the biggest fundraiser on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s calendar. And this gargantuan evening of glamour will raise millions of dollars for their coffers. It also launches the newest exhibition for the museum’s Costume Institute, an exhibition with the power to attract enormous numbers of visitors. This new film takes us behind the scenes of their most ambitious exhibit yet – China:
Through the Looking Glass.
Documentary-maker Andrew Rossi (who did the excellent Page One: Inside the New York Times) starts his cameras rolling eight months out and with impressive access. The creative process, the artist endeavour, the all-pervasive stress as the deadline looms… Rossi captures it all, revealing the scale and scope of creating an exhibition of this size, all against the backdrop of the biggest party of the season.
As if he doesn’t have enough to think about, the cameras follow exhibition curator Andrew Bolton’s every move, and he grounds this story perfectly. The quietly-spoken Brit is that winning formula of gentle self-deprecation offset against his clear and obvious talent – we want him to succeed from the moment we meet him. Working alongside him is acclaimed Chinese film-maker Wong Kar-Wai – together they share their creative vision and set about making it come alive. It’s an enriching and inspiring insight.
The film is augmented with some alarmingly engaging interviews with the likes of John Galliano, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld, and when the Big Night finally arrives, the cameras plunge us gratifyingly amidst the fashion fray, including access inside the ballroom itself as the A-List glitterati party like it’s prom night (if everyone at prom night wore Chanel, Valentino and Dior).
At a tidy 90 minutes, this film never outstays its welcome. Yes, you will get your fashion fix with a healthy dose of celebrity, but there is much substance amidst the style here and surprisingly so – in fact it’s quite a nail-biter, so book your postscreening manicure now.
Calling the shots at this superbowl of fashion is Anna Wintour.