The Met Gala 2024 theme, explained: ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’

The first Monday in May is just around the corner, which means it’s time for celebrities to once again ascend the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in style.

Helmed by Vogue’s Anna Wintour, the annual Met Gala benefits the NYC museum’s Costume Institute. Set to take place on May 6, this year’s bash will celebrate the latest exhibition crafted by the Costume Institute’s chief curator, Andrew Bolton: “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.”

Anna Wintour and Costume Institute head curator Andrew Bolton announced the 2024 Met Gala theme, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” in November 2023 and gave a glimpse at some of the works to be put on display. AFP via Getty Images

While last year’s exhibition and theme paid tribute to the work of late designer Karl Lagerfeld, 2024’s is decidedly more cerebral — and for celebrity guests, dressing for the occasion won’t be as simple as dipping into a specific fashion house’s archives.

Below, read all about the gala and what to expect on Monday.

What is the 2024 Met Gala theme?

In November, Vogue announced that the 2024 theme would be “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” a celebration of vintage textiles and fashion designs throughout the years.

The accompanying Costume Institute exhibit features approximately 250 items from the museum’s archives — including 15 historically significant pieces that are too delicate to ever be worn again — and will be open to the public from May 10 through Sept. 2.

“These are the ‘Sleeping Beauties’ of the title,” Bolton told Vogue of the fragile fashions.

These pieces — including a ballgown that dates back to 1887 — will be displayed in tandem with designs from the likes of Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Hubert de Givenchy along with works by their contemporary successors, including Iris van Herpen and Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson.

The entire exhibition was inspired by an English ballgown, pictured here, that dates back to the 1800s. AFP via Getty Images
An iconic gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen featuring hundreds of faux butterflies will be one of 250 pieces displayed in the exhibit. AFP via Getty Images
The exhibition is divided into three sub-themes — Land, Sea and Sky — and items will be analyzed through a sensory lens, with accompanying scents and soundscapes. Getty Images

The museum will also integrate AI, CGI and other technology to make the entire exhibit a full sensory experience — complete with custom-made scents and soundscapes — that explores the sub-themes of land, sea and sky.

“It’s something we always struggle with — that, once a garment comes into the museum, a lot of the sensorial experiences that we take for granted with clothing are lost,” Bolton told Vogue.

“The positive part of it is that we’re custodians of the clothing, here to take care of it in perpetuity. But that involves very specific conditions: You can’t touch it, you can’t smell it, it can’t be worn. And you can’t hear it.”

The theme and the exhibit underscore the importance of sustainability and preservation, exploring the ways in which time and nature affect fashion — both literally and in a more abstract sense.

Jonathan Anderson-helmed Loewe will underwrite the event, following the house’s stunning Paris Fashion Week show earlier this year featuring crystal-encrusted sweatshirts and tromp l’oeil accessories. Getty Images
A glittering asparagus-inspired purse was one such standout that’s sure to pop up at the Met Gala. Getty Images

What is the dress code?

Guests must always dress in white tie at the ball, but each year, Wintour also adds a more specific dress code that corresponds to the theme. For 2024, she’s chosen “The Garden of Time,” inspired by the 1962 short story by J.G. Ballard of the same name.

Ballard’s tale follows a count and countess who live a life of luxury in a secluded villa; beyond its walls, an approaching mob threatens to disturb their peace, but retreats every time the couple plucks a magical “time flower” from their garden.

As time runs out and the garden dies, the army descends on the villa — a commentary on the cycle of growth and destruction explored in this year’s Costume Institute exhibition.

Zendaya, who last appeared at the Met Gala in 2019, is one of the co-chairs of the night. Mike Coppola
Jennifer Lopez will also serve as a celebrity host. Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Bad Bunny and Chris Hemsworth round out the group. Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Who’s hosting?

Alongside Anna Wintour, Zendaya, Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny and Chris Hemsworth have been chosen as 2024 Met Gala co-chairs.

The gala is underwritten by fashion brand Loewe — known for its innovative trompe l’oeil designs and meticulous detailing — and sponsored by TikTok.

The Kardashian-Jenners have become Met Gala regulars in recent years. Getty Images
In 2023, Lizzo performed at the gala; this year’s performer has yet to be disclosed. Getty Images

Who will be attending?

Vogue famously keeps its guest list (except for the co-chairs) under wraps until the day of the gala.

But in April, Page Six exclusively reported that Gisele Bündchen, Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Olivia Rodrigo, Uma Thurman, Sarah Paulson and Cara Delevingne will all be in attendance Monday night, and that “The Bear” star Ayo Edebiri and “Killers of the Flower Moon” actress Lily Gladstone scored invites for the first time this year.

We also broke the news that Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sánchez are headed to the Met, and that fellow high-profile couple Alex Soros and Huma Abedin will make their red carpet debut at the ball.