Go behind the scenes of the Met Gala

Ever wonder what goes on before and after the Met Gala’s fancy red carpet?

Actress Zoe Saldana and her husband Marco Perego share a romantic moment during the “Manus x Machina" Costume Institute Gala at the MET.  Pimentel | WireImage

A formal high-fashion bash that started back in the 1940s, the Met Gala is more of a buzz-worthy spectacle than ever today. It’s become the most decadent, magical, and exclusive social couture event of not just the season, but the year (or perhaps the decade). Even A-list celebrities seem to go weak in the knees at the thought of an invitation to this fairy-tale-like evening, describing it as surreal, and a place where dreams come true.

The fundraiser, hosted and chaired by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, supports the Met’s Costume Institute, and kicks off the museum’s spring exhibition. This year’s costume exhibit (and therefore also the theme of the gala) was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” The theme celebrates the beauty of both hand-made haute couture and machine made clothing, as well as, of course, the intersection between high fashion and high functioning technology, which some call, “android couture.” The result? An evening of hand-sewn metallic details, fairy-tale dress trains, and stars that lit up the red carpet—quite literally, in some cases.

Didn’t receive an invite this year? (Don’t worry, we didn’t either.) These insider pictures and videos, posted by attending stars and designers, gave those of us who were not on the ultra-exclusive guest list a special peek at all the fun beyond the grande staircase:

Before any star set foot on the carpet, attendees from the Top Shop team photographed the iconic Met entrance, completely empty.

Before heading out to the gala, Kate Upton shared a photo of herself all dolled up (courtesy of the Top Shop team) and giving her dog a farewell cuddle.

On my way to the Met @topshop @peterbutlerhair @tracymurphymua @sweetbabyjamie

A photo posted by Kate Upton (@kateupton) on

Zoe Saldana stole the stairs (and a kiss from her husband Marco Perego!) in a Dolce & Gabbana gown with a flowing feather train, but The Guardians of the Galaxy star and mother of twins also stole our hearts when she gave us this at-home glimpse of what was really the most important thing to her that night: family and soul beauty.

All that matters... Lo que único que importa... #beyourself

A photo posted by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on

Zac Posen teased his light up gown before the gala, asking his followers to “guess who?” It turned out to be Claire Danes, of course, who was the Cinderella of the ball in a powder blue gown that literally dazzled everyone twice: first by its beautiful silhouette, and then by glowing in the dark! The fabric of the dress was made with fiber optics to create the starry fairy-tale glow. The Met also posted a video of Danes getting ready, and testing out the gown in a dark room before her red carpet appearance.

Starry night! #Zacposen #metgala #glamour @metmuseum @voguemagazine @instagram

A video posted by @zacposen on

Meanwhile, inside the Temple of Dendur in the Met, tables were being set up on beautiful rose china for all the attendees. Vogue gave followers a stop-motion glimpse of the lavish tables coming together.

The perfect setting for a #MetGala dinner. Video by @danilolauria.

A video posted by Vogue (@voguemagazine) on

During the party, celebrities like Confirmation actress Kerry Washington were given a chance to admire the costume exhibit.

At the exhibit. #MetGala

A photo posted by Kerry Washington (@kerrywashington) on

Super models, singers and actresses alike took a break from the seated dinner to film short videos in a Vogue photo booth. The booth, also called the “ManusxMachina experience” had wild light displays, music, and even a director (because … why not?). Check out super model Adriana Lima striking poses and showing off her Giambattista Valli Haute Couture dress to happy techno music.

The morning after all the dining, dancing and posing, actress Naomi Watts (who donned a stunning Burberry floral column gown the night of the event) showed a picture of every gala attendee’s best A.M. friend: strong coffee. Luckily her hotel, The Mark, had one ready and waiting for her.

M is for... #Morningafter #MetBall Leaving #Markhotel For #Montreal. #moreplease ☕️☕️☕️ #micdrop🎤

A photo posted by Naomi Watts (@naomiwatts) on

Natalie van der Meer
Natalie van der Meer

Senior Editor Natalie van der Meer is a former editor for Redbook, Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest and Allure, covering fashion, beauty, travel, family, book reviews, and much more. She lives in New York City.