Kim Kardashian is a regular at the Met Gala. Picture: Getty Images
Kim Kardashian is a regular at the Met Gala. Picture: Getty Images

Inside the Met Gala’s unwritten rules

The Met Gala is one of the most glamorous nights of the year, but it's not exactly a raucous time.

The party is as famed for its draconian rules, militant sense of order and social and political minefields as for its over-the-top red carpet, with celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Amy Schumer bashing the bash as "unfun" and "punishment," respectively, reports the New York Post.

But such grousing apparently hasn't inspired Met Gala impresario Anna Wintour from relaxing the rules. Here are some of the laws that attendees must follow.


What happens at the Met Gala stays at the Met Gala. (Or lives on

The event is so exclusive that guests have been forbidden to take photos or videos with their phone, for fear they would post them on social media. Of course, every year some celeb decides to flaunt the rules and post a bathroom selfie or Instagram story, a la Kylie Jenner.

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annual bathroom selfie

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on


In fact, looking at your phone at all - whether for picture-taking or texting purposes - seems to be verboten.

Former Met Gala planner Sylvana Durrett admitted in 2016 that staffers even check on guests' mobile phone usage. "We aren't sitting over people's shoulders," she said at the time, "but if it's an obvious thing we might gently remind them."

"Anna is sort of an old-school traditionalist," she explained. "She likes a dinner party where people are actually speaking to each other."



Sia's favourite dancer Maddie Ziegler surprised some fashionistas last year when she was not invited to the Met Gala because she wasn't old enough. (The event had boasted underage attendees before, such as Jaden and Willow Smith.)

But party planners told the Hollywood Reporter that children would no longer be admitted to the bash, saying "it was not an appropriate event for people under 18".

Sorry, Millie Bobby Brown - see you in 2021!



New York City bans smoking indoors, and the Met Gala is no exception. However, that didn't stop a bevy of celebs - from Marc Jacobs to Bella Hadid to Dakota Jackson - from lighting up in the bathroom at 2017's event, sparking outrage among museum board members.

"Mostly, it's disrespectful to the art collection, which needs to be kept 100 per cent smoke-free," one donor told the New York Post at the time. "I would honestly like to see these people fined by the city."

Now, the invites specify there's no smoking at the event, and last year there were reportedly staffers sniffing for fumes outside the loo.


Apparently, Anna Wintour frowns on famous people bringing their spouses, and at the very least sits them far apart from one another, to encourage mingling. In the documentary about the Met Gala, The First Monday in May, she complained about someone asking to bring her hubby, and relented on the condition he didn't spend the whole evening on his phone again. (The New York Post later reported that the guest was former Girls star Allison Williams' husband, Ricky Van Veen.)

As Ms Durrett explained in the doc, "The whole point of these things is to meet new people, and to be interested in what others are doing. What's the point if you come here to hang out with your husband?"


There are certain ingredients and dishes that the gala's caterer is instructed to avoid, such as parsley ("you don't want that stuck in your teeth," a former Vogue staffer told the New York Post in 2016), onion and garlic (bad breath) and messy entrees like bruschetta. Last year's special guest New York's Cardinal Dolan found the food so paltry that he sent out for street hot dogs during the event, which was definitely not kosher.


Sure, you can decline an invitation to the Met Gala - if you never want to be invited again.

Apparently, Wintour doesn't take no for an answer.

"I know people who decided not to go one year because they weren't around or didn't like the theme," one socialite told the New York Post in 2017.

"Once you do that, you're not invited back unless you're triple A-list."


The Met Gala is so elite it doesn't allow celebrities to bring their own publicists - either out on the red carpet or inside the venue. That means that these stars, who are used to having their handlers with them at all times, have to navigate the press, photographers and any wardrobe malfunctions all alone. Quelle horreur!'


This story was originally published in the New York Post and is reprinted with permission.

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