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What it's really like to attend the Met Gala: an insider's take

The Met Gala 2024 is one of New York’s biggest events of the year

Faye James
Senior Editor
May 8, 2024
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What’s it like attending one of the biggest events of the year? PR to the stars Couri Hay spoke to HELLO! Magazine about his experience at the Met Gala 2024. 

“What's it like going to the Met Gala? Imagine the Oscars, but on the East Coast with a distinct flair only New York can offer—a celebration that hasn't seen a rival for many decades, especially since Anna Wintour took the reins from Diana Vreeland,” says Couri. 

Under her guidance, the gala has transformed into a nonstop showcase of haute couture, studded with celebrities, and yes, a serious showcase of monetary might, raking in over $230 million during her tenure.

“Preparing for the Met Gala is an event in itself. Even as media, we dress to impress, and this year I donned a crushed green velvet suit by Ammar Belal, paying homage to the garden-themed evening right from the start of the day. I began with a press review of the show—a must for anyone covering the event—featuring over 250 masterpieces from the Met’s permanent collection,” he reveals.

Couri Hay attends The Met Gala 2024© Instagram
Couri Hay attends The Met Gala 2024

 For Couri, the real magic happens on the red carpet, but perhaps surprisingly, the fun for him isn't walking it—it’s watching others take their grand entrance. 

“Picture this: from Zendaya to Jennifer Lopez, from top models like Emily Ratajkowski to music icons like Doja Cat and Elle Fanning, each practicing their poses in the mirror before making their appearance,” he says. 

“I’d wager that the Kardashians, known for their meticulous preparations, had their entire social media teams orchestrating their walks up those famous stairs—a task that is no small feat. In some instances, celebrities don’t just walk; they’re carried. 

Nicole Kidman in strapless dress at Met gala

“And this year, my favorite look had to be Tyla in her sand dress by Balmain, perfectly fitting the evening's theme, "Sleeping Beauties: The Reawakening of Fashion," with her hourglass bag accentuating the theme’s essence. The attention to detail was nothing short of extraordinary,” he adds

For Couri, Balmain, in particular, stole the show with their major outfits, but Nicole Kidman outshone in elegance. 

“She appeared in a breathtaking ensemble featuring a flowy bodice adorned with feathers and long white gloves—her hair styled free, almost reminiscent of a California surfer girl, adding a relaxed yet sophisticated touch to her look,” says Couri. 

Nicole Kidman walking up the Met Gala steps with Keith Urban© ANGELA WEISS
Nicole Kidman walking up the Met Gala steps with Keith Urban

“Although the sand dress was my personal favorite, I must acknowledge Chris Hemsworth, who opted for a simple yet striking off-white Tom Ford suit. His attire might have been understated, but standing next to him, you're reminded of his stature—quite literally, as he towers over most with the ease of Thor himself. His outfit, though simple, was impeccably stylish, and as he noted, the Met Gala's red carpet scene is something you have to experience firsthand to truly understand the dynamics—especially the height differences on those infamous stairs!

(L-R) Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth attend The 2024 Met Gala © Theo Wargo/GA
(L-R) Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth attend The 2024 Met Gala

Positioning himself at the top of the stairs, Couri describes the atmosphere as electrifying. “I watched as star after star arrived in grand Mercedes-Benz vans, each alighting with an air of anticipation and excitement. The crowd across the street buzzed with speculation about who would step out next, creating a scene reminiscent of private jets lining up for takeoff at an airport. Each celebrity had their specific time slot, ensuring the evening flowed as smoothly as the trains of their elaborate gowns.”

“The Met Gala is undoubtedly the most fabulous event of the year in New York City, unparalleled in its blend of fashion and finance. Let’s not forget the heavy hitters in attendance—from Jeff Bezos to Michael Bloomberg, not to mention the tech moguls from companies like TikTok. It's a night where fashion, fame, and finance converge into a dazzling display of the industry’s power and influence. 

Michael Kors and Meg Ryan attend The 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2024 in New York City© Getty
Michael Kors and Meg Ryan attend The 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2024 in New York City

“Indeed, while the glamour and designer showcases are front and center, the gala also serves as a strategic platform for celebrities to endorse brands, turning the red carpet into a running billboard for jewels, couture, and more,” he adds. 

So, what’s it really like attending the Met Gala for Couri? “It’s an experience that encapsulates the height of fashion, the power of celebrity, and the pulse of New York City—all in one spectacular evening.”

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