Will Monday’s Met Ball be its big finale? Or at least in this form? Certainly there’s a chance that this is the end for Vogue editor Anna Wintour, rumored to be leaving Conde Nast this summer when her September issue hits stands in mid August.
Wintour’s Conde Nast exit could be the same for her run as head of the Costume Institute’s annual Met Ball? What started as a glittering, unusual festival for the Museum has devolved into a Halloween ball for reality stars. And, as I’ve reported before, the Met Ball costs a LOT to put on every year.
Now I can tell you that the 2017 event’s gross receipts were just $12.2 million– down from $13.5 million in 2016. The trend is down as receipts fell by $1.3 million. More worrisome: the expenses incurred by the Met. They went UP. In 2016, expenses were $3.556 million. In 2017, they jumped to $3.859 million.
Wintour’s pets this year, as last year, will not include Donald or Melania Trump. A celebrity “get” prior to 2016, the Trumps are now anathema. Monday night there will be the question of Kanye West, who usually accompanies wife Kim Kardashian when he’s not recovering from myriad problems. A few years ago he actually performed at the Met Ball. But now West, firmly ensconced with the Trump camp, is in a PR nightmare thanks to his “Slavery was a choice” declaration.
And then there is the museum itself, still the most shining jewel of all museums in the world. They’re going through massive cost cutting after many in the executive office have left or been dismissed. Salaries keep rising. The museum is now charging admission to non-New Yorkers, who must pay $25. The spectacle of the Ball may not seem as urgent to those people.