For more than two decades, the red carpet at the Met Gala has deftly surpassed just about every other glamorous event when it comes to celebrity-spotting, fashion-ogling and intense, committed decoding of what's going on with the A-list attendees as they pose for the bank of photographers snapping away and ascend the humbling stairs outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
But that's outside.
Once everyone is inside the annual benefit for the Met's Costume Institute, one of the most hard-to-get invitations around, posting pics and video on social media is a no-no. Even at the still-very-private after-parties, it's up to the phone-wielding guests to decide how much they want to share their evening with the masses. If you're Kylie Jenner, you're there and you want your 265 million Instagram followers to know it. If you're Beyoncé...
Well, you may have your reasons to play the festivities close to the hand-beaded gown.
Cloaked in such exclusivity, the Met Gala has inevitably birthed its share of mysteries over the years, leaving those charged with maintaining utmost discretion—from Vogue editor in chief and Met Gala co-chair Anna Wintour to the security guards who ensure safe passage from limo to main event to after-party to home, with maybe a few extra stops along the way—as the true keepers of the secrets.
The rules have been slightly loosened over the years to allow for the millennials in attendance who must snap selfies lest they turn into pumpkins at midnight, privacy is still the name of the $30,000-a-ticket game. But oh, to be a couture-wearing fly on the wall...
This year's theme is "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion," meaning attendees have a license—if not an outright command, or at the very least a sartorial duty—to make a major statement without saying a word. As always, there will be plenty to unpack right there in the ensembles, but inevitably something will boil up from beneath the carefully curated surface to remind us that even the Met Gala isn't immune to the drama of real life lurking right outside those hallowed walls.
Something will happen that startles, puzzles or intrigues, and we'll want to know more. Whether or not answers are forthcoming always depends on what it was that happened, who's involved and who it affects. Sometimes a celeb will be quick to explain, or it might take awhile—such as until the revelatory visual album is complete—to find out just how serious a matter it was.
So before there's even more Met Gala lore to pore over after Monday night, here are the existing mysteries we're having a hard time getting over:
(Originally published May 5, 2019, at 5 a.m. PT)