With colorful robes full of flowers, pearls, antlers and butterfly motifs, stars like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and Shakira have transformed New York’s Metropolitan Museum into a kind of fairytale forest.

With the gala, the stars celebrated the opening of the exhibition “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” in New York at night, which shows fashion around the themes of nature, plants and animals. The specified dress code for the “Met Ball” spectacle was “The Garden of Time”, based on the title of a short story by the British author James Graham Ballard (1930-2009).

Large police presence

Hours before the spectacle, dozens of onlookers had gathered on Fifth Avenue to catch a glimpse of the stars. There were protests against the Gaza war around the museum. However, a large police presence prevented the demonstrators from gaining access to the gala, which was cordoned off over a large area. The Gaza protests did not make an impact in the fairytale forest spectacle on the beige-green carpet on the steps of the museum.

Often referred to as the “party of the year,” the Met Ball is an annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, traditionally held on the first Monday in May. The estimated multi-million dollar revenue from the Costume Institute Benefit forms the annual budget of the institute, which is now named after Wintour.

The chief host of the benefit gala is Anna Wintour, head of the US fashion magazine “Vogue”. She is “so excited” to be there again, said Wintour. She and her team had been planning the spectacle for more than a year – and are already planning the “Met Ball” in 2025. “That really always takes a garden full of time,” said Wintour, dressed in a flower-trimmed black blazer – alluding to the dress code.

Pompous looks

Singer Lopez served as co-host this year – her 14th Met Gala – and appeared in a gold butterfly outfit. It was “really an honor when Wintour called and invited,” said Lopez. “It’s a beautiful night with so many different people – you don’t often get a mix like that.” Not far away, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos watched as his girlfriend Lauren Sánchez walked up the steps in a black and white robe and described her outfit as “stunning.”

The stars also included Venus and Serena Williams, Lea Michele, Greta Gerwig, Sienna Miller, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gigi Hadid, Uma Thurman, Emily Ratajkowski, Jessica Biel, Adrien Brody, Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Camila Cabello – whose hand was dripping with an ice cube bag melting – Kylie Minogue, Jude Law, Meg Ryan, Pamela Anderson, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B., Brooklyn Beckham and Karlie Kloss.

Many stars could barely walk in their pompous gowns – and agreed that the steps up to the entrance to the party at the Metropolitan Museum past dozens of photographers and journalists were the most difficult part of the evening. “I’m not relaxed,” said actress Penélope Cruz. “I have silly fears that I’ll fall on the steps – which wouldn’t be the end of the world. But once you get past the steps you can start to relax.”

Reality star Kim Kardashian, meanwhile, raved about a “magical night” and praised her family, which included half-sisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner and mother Kris Jenner. “The fact that we’re all always close together doesn’t let us stand out.” Kris Jenner said she was so excited to be back at the Met Gala, and Kendall Jenner said she was especially looking forward to “seeing friends and how they all got dressed up and the creative process that they go through.”

Actress Zendaya made what was probably the most extraordinary appearance of the evening, walking up the steps of the museum twice, first in a blue-green robe at the beginning of the star parade, then at the end again in black with a flower hat.