I was going to bring you photos from the 2000 Met Gala — but there aren’t any! Why? Let’s turn to our friends at Architectural Digest:
In 1999, Anna Wintour took over as chairperson (after hosting in 1996 and 1997) [edit by me: I think this is actually incorrect; Anna was chairperson in 1995] and brought the power and resources of Vogue to the Gala. The event moved from December to April in 2001, following the cancellation of a Chanel exhibition in December 2000. The show was replaced with Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, an exhibit curated by Vogue’s Hamish Bowles.
2001 it is, then! And for you gossips — like me — apparently the Chanel exhibit was cancelled because Karl Lagerfeld and Philippe de Montebello, who was then the director of the Met, could not come to an agreement about what it would look like (and because of some simmering concerns about corporate money and the museum, which seems quaint twenty years later).
This is JUICY, from the above linked NYT piece:
Mr. de Montebello and the museum’s curatorial staff became increasingly concerned about the direction of the exhibition and whether the museum was giving too much curatorial control to an outsider. An internal memo was circulated that asked: ”Who’s running the museum?”
The debate became public yesterday when Women’s Wear Daily, the trade newspaper, published an interview with Mr. Lagerfeld in which he repeated his complaint that the museum was interested only in ”an exhibit of a bunch of old clothes.”
Later in the day, Mr. de Montebello sent a memo to the museum’s board saying, in part, that it was ”sadly ironic that Karl Lagerfeld, the man who has represented Chanel and creative fashion for some 20 years, could dismiss five decades of the work of Coco Chanel as a ‘bunch of old clothes’ which only the inclusion of works by contemporary artists in other media could redeem.”
BITCHY. I love it. (Fun fact: de Montebello still narrates all of the Met’s audio guides, although he left the Met in 2008.)
Anyway, you can understand why Anna asked Hamish to do the next one: Much less chance of anyone taking their clothes and going home in a huff. The Jackie Kennedy exhibit was pinned to the 40th anniversary of her becoming First Lady and the clothing exhibited included (per Wikipedia):
- The fawn coat and matching pillbox hat she wore to JFK’s inauguration
- A red dress worn during the televised tour of the White House in 1962; an event that was a very big deal at the time, I remember my mother telling me about watching it.
- “The imperial dress and opera coat worn to Charles de Gaulle’s state dinner at Versailles in 1961.”
- “A pink Givenchy gown worn at a state dinner in 1963″
- “Several outfits worn by Mrs. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential campaign”
You can also read Robin Givhan’s review of the exhibit at the Washington Post (be aware that when this piece was scanned into WaPo’s archives, the captions for whatever photos were originally involved got jammed together and added as a final paragraph).
Let’s see what people wore; somehow, these photos feel like they’re a hundred years old. I also pulled some snaps of the exhibit itself.