The Four Hundred: Does Met Gala Romanticize Our Perceptions?

The allure of evolving trends and ever-changing grabs for interest in the entertainment business may, at times, undervalue events or ideas which once looked to be at the epicenter of pop-culture.

In an industry like fashion, it is characteristic for style to go through seasons and for the definition of what is considered high-class to be a changing variable.

However, sometimes these trends take the backseat when they are a part of a standing tradition which has long held the attention of an audience or industry icons.

This is the case with the Met Gala.

The Met Gala is an annual fundraising event organized by Vogue which benefits the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City.

The event, formally titled the Costume Institute Gala, is the opening of the Institute's annual themed fashion exhibit started in 1948.

In 1972, Vogue editor-in-chief, Diana Vreeland, started consulting with the Institute and decided to make the event a more glamorous extravaganza. She did not want this to overshadow the artists, costumes or target audience, but wanted to mix in the culture of the city by inviting members of New York's elite.

Over time, the gala shifted from a night attended primarily by members of the fashion industry to one which features social icons and high-profile celebrities.

This change has made the event anticipated across the world and known as the "Oscars" of fashion.

The foundation of the gathering has instilled a culture of societal idealism built by elites and followed by celebrity and fashion enthusiasts alike.

Though well-attended and watched, the attractions of the night may not be under the scope of some's definition of relevant or entertaining television.

Why, then, has the event become a household name, even amongst those who do not partake?

It is because, in the 70 years since the gala begun, it has been the mirror which reflects our changing culture.

The event built a standard of cultural change in the years following its creation by covering a spectrum of themes displaying the glamorous innovation of the year's fashion exhibit.

This defines the audience's outlook on what fashion is supposed to be in its most abstract form.

After its initial popularity boom, the event entered the public eye and saw a changed perception of what it meant to society.

This is what transformed the event into one focused around changes in fashion to one focused on romanticizing it.

People who watch or take part in this event see it as "the party of the year" and theorize it to be what one should hope to achieve.

It is not the fashion necessarily, but the gathering of invite-only, well-known names in an arena which offers a glance of the affluent lifestyle many strive to be part of.

This representation of the event does not show what our society is, but what it hopes to be.

By watching, viewers get to give themselves a feeling of inclusion and cultural growth by seeing what the elites in our society represent, both in their outfits and whom they choose to surround themselves by.

This depiction allows people to escape from the monotony of their own lives, even for just a moment, and be a part of the event which portrays their ideal outlook on societal customs and norms.

This idealism proves dangerous to those who do not put it in perspective.

With accomplishment, success and fame, some of the traits seen in Met Gala invitees, comes the work, struggle and ambition most needed to endure and use to get themselves to that point.

Watching the Met Gala is considered entertaining and can prove interesting to many, but if it is seen as what life should be or could become, it can lead to a strew of unrealistic expectations applied to a large base of society.

It is important to understand why the attendees and participants are there and how they got to that point.

The gala is meant to display exhibits which set fashion standards for the coming year.

When it became more of a celebrity event, the romanticization may have taken it beyond its original purpose, and unintentionally given it a new meaning.

We as individuals must choose to assign our own level of significance to societal norms and customs, and apply them towards our own lives.

The Met Gala is a historic event with substance which proves entertaining to viewers, but must not be seen as an end goal to personal, pie-in-the-sky ambition.