Inside the Event: The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala

These days I'd guess that a lot of corporate events and association meetings are scaling back a bit. But despite the new mantra that less is more, it's still fun to every once and a while see how events are being done by the rich and famous, who certainly don't seem to be weathering the recession quite the way real world meeting planners are. For some Friday fun, let's take a look at this week's most talked-about event in New York City, the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala Benefit.

Held this year on May 4, this annual fundraising event is the main source of funding for exhibitions, acquisitions and capital improvements at the Met. This year's gala benefit celebrated the opening of the spring 2009 exhibition "The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion," which explores the relationship between high fashion and evolving ideas of beauty, with a focus on fashion models of the latter half of the 20th century. The exhibition is on view May 6 to August 9, 2009.

Honorary Chair Marc Jacobs and Co-Chairs Kate Moss, Justin Timberlake and Anna Wintour put Raul Avila, Inc. in charge of decorating the museum, which made for quite the New York special event facility. Designers John Myhre and Raul Avila used the theme of former New York venue El Morocco, opting for zebra print carpets in the reception area and Great Hall. The same black-and-white striped fabric was used on the circular banquettes filling the dining room, which was accented by fake palm trees and illuminated by blue lights and stars, done by Frost Lighting.

In line with the exhibition's theme, a six-foot mannequin "The Muse" towered over the Great Hall, adorned by white roses and gray and beige fabric. French hairstylist Julien d'Ys even created a massive wig to top the mannequin.

Glorious Food was in charge of catering, which also took a cue from El Morocco. On the menu was Tournedos Rossini, or filet mignon usually prepared with foie gras and wine sauce, along with broiled tomato persille, sauteed spinach and pommes gaufrettes. Each place setting was marked by a commemorative program.

Not surprisingly, this stunning affair attracted a sold-out crowd of 650 people. Tables for dinner ranged in cost from $75,000 to $250,000. Guests included Madonna, Rihanna, Bruce Willis, Stella McCartney, and Anne Hathaway.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the Met's exhibition on the museum's YouTube Channel. Check out the video below of d'Ys as he creates the wigs used in the exhibition:

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