The Met Gala

The fact that today is first Monday in May probably means very little to most people, but it means everything to fashion industry folk. Today is the day of the annual Met Gala, formally called the Costume Institute Gala. Informally, the event is regarded as the greatest red carpet fashion moment of the year and is attended by both fashion industry big wigs and celebrities alike. Since its conception in 1946, it's become one of the most exclusive NYC social events of the year, even earning the titles "the Oscars of the East Coast" and "the party of the year."

Rihanna attending the 2015 Met Gala

The first gala was held 1946 as a fund raising event for the Met's Costume Institute, which is one of the only curatorial departments responsible for funding itself. Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour became a chair for the event in 1995, overseeing the guest list and benefit committee, and used her influence in the fashion industry to transform the event and make receiving an invitation a serious accomplishment. Each year's event has a theme that corresponds to an exhibit opening in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

Met Gala looks from years past

Tickets to the event are not only wildly expensive, but also incredibly difficult to get. The Met Gala is invitation only and has a substantial invitation waiting list. Generally those who do manage to get a ticket are considered people whose achievements and/or mere presence will bring the most attention to the event and frequently has little to do with money or past/promised donations to the Met. Wintour has final say over every attendee, meaning even if a brand or organization buys a table she still needs to approve who will actually be sitting there. This can create some awkward difficulties which can be seen in the documentary The First Monday in May. The film follows the planning of the 2015 Met Gala and includes a clip of Wintour telling a fellow chair to find a way to uninvite select guests.

Bottom line — if you ever do find yourself invited to this prestigious event, cancel any and all prior plans and go. And if you happen to have a plus one you know where to find me ;)

Fast Facts:
- The Gala only started adopting a theme in 1971
- In 2015 the event raised more than $12.5 million
- Tickets to the 2016 gala cost $30,000 a piece, although many designers and stars attended as guests and thus did not pay for tickets
- Some themes cause more trouble for attendees than others, like 2015's Chinese exhibit and the racially charged costumes it inspired
- For further insight into the event checkout the documentary The First Monday in May, which follows the planning of the 2015 "China: Through the Looking Glass" Met Gala
- Tim Gunn claims he once saw Anna Wintour demand to be carried down the stairs by a bodyguard after the gala one year because she didn't want to walk or wait for the elevator
- Solange Knowles famously attacked her brother in-law Jay Z in an elevator after the 2014 event while his wife Beyonce stood by doing nothing to intervene. Fans now believe Solange was attacking him due to rumors of infidelity.

the Council of Fashion Designers of America

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, or CFDA for short, is a not-for-profit trade association for American based fashion and accessory designers. And if you're finding yourself still asking "But what is it?" don't feel silly. I had to do quite a bit of research myself to figure it out.

Founded in 1962 by Eleanor Lambert, a prominent fashion publicist of the time, the CFDA is intended to be an organization committed to furthering American fashion and providing support for budding and well established designers. It aims to educate both industry insiders and non-fashion folk regarding the business side of fashion and what it takes to succeed (and stay successful) in such a demanding field.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen accepting their award for Womenswear Designer(s) of the Year for their line The Row. The twin duo also won for womenswear in 2012 and accessories in 2014. image via Bustle.com

The organization offers a number of scholarships for high school, college, and postgrad students; hosts the CFDA Fashion Awards every year; and runs the CFDA/Vogue Fasion Fund competition in which young designers compete for a hefty cash prize and invaluable mentoring from an industry veteran of their choosing. Previous winners of the competition include Aurora James for Brother Vellies, Paul Andrew, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne for Public School, Joseph Altuzarra for Altuzarra, and Alexander Wang.

the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund 2015 finalists with some board members. image via Fashionista.com

In addition to the organization's educational endeavors, the CFDA has also held a number of charitable events supporting research and treatment for HIV/AIDS, sending relief to Haiti, Japan, and areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. In 1994 Ralph Lauren launched the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer program, which has since become a yearly event pulling in nearly $55 million to put towards breast cancer charities world wide.

So as you can see, the CFDA is no joke. It's influence reaches far beyond the borders of the U.S. and to be on it's Board of Directors is considered a huge honor. Diane von Furstenberg is the current CFDA President with her board consisting of fashion heavy hitters like Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Anna Wintour, Jenna Lyons, Tracy Reese, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren.

Fast Facts:
- They have over 430,000 followers on twitter
- At the 2013 CFDA Fashion Awards Hillary Clinton presented Oscar de la Renta with the Founder's Award, the highest honor of the night
- The CFDA has collaborated with a number of designers on fashion and accessories lines at a variety of price points. Previous collaborators include Target, Gap, J.Crew, and Kohl's
- The organization has published nine books
 

Who/What : the Master List

I didn't attend any of the couture shows in Paris this year. Not to be confused with last year when I also didn't attend any shows and the year before when I still didn't. In fact I've never even been to the city but that doesn't mean I don't want to sound like I know exactly what everyone is talking about when they reference Chanel's casino takeover or Dolce & Gabbana's Midsummer Night's Dream soiree. You can watch live streams, comb through every image on Style.com, and read every review but the easiest way to slip up and end up feeling like a phony is by mispronouncing designer and brand names. Enter your saving grace - the Designer Pronunciation Master List.

Study away ladies and gents! And then go with confidence to tell your coworkers how much you enjoy Balmain's new sister themed campaign, how innovative you find Mary Katrantzou's patterns and prints, and how you can't wait to run out to buy some of the new Giambattista Valli for MAC collection.

Anna Suianna swee

Ann Demeulemeesterann de-mule-eh-meester

Azzedine Alaiaazz-eh-deen ah-lie-ah

Badgley Mischkabadge-lee meesh-kah

Balenciagabah-len-see-ah-gah

Balmainbahl-mahhhhn

Bottega Veneta: bow-tay-guh vah-netta

Christian Lacroixchristian luh-kwa

Christian Louboutinchristian loo-boo-tan

Comme des Garçonscomb dey gah-sown

Dolce & Gabbanadol-chey and gab-ana

Dries Van Notendrees van know-ten

Gareth Pughgareth pew

Giambattista Valligee-am-bah-tease-ta vah-lee

Gianfranco Ferregee-ahn-franco feh-ray

Givenchyzjee-von-shee

Hermèser-mez

Hervé Légerair-vay lay-jah

Hussein Chalayanhoo-sane sha-lion

Issey Miyakeiss-ee mee-yah-key

Jean Paul Gaultierzhon paul go-tee-ay

Junya Watanabejun-yah wat-an-ah-bey

Kinder Agguginikinder ag-ooh-gee-nee

Lanvinlahn-vahn

Loeweloh-wev-eh

Louis Vuittonloo-wee vwee-tahn

L'Wren Scottla-ren scott

Maison Martin Margielamay-sohn martin mar-jhell-ah

Marchesamar-kay-sah

Mary Katrantzoumary cat-trant-zoo

Miu Miumew-mew

Monique Lhuilliermonique le-hu-lee-ay

Moschinomos-key-no

Olivier Theyskensoh-liv-ee-ay tay-skins

Proenza Schoulerpro-en-zuh skool-er

Rochasrow-shahs

Rodarterow-dar-tay

Roksanda Ilincicroksanda ill-in-chik

Salvatore Ferragamosal-vah-tor-re fer-ra-gah-moh

Sonia Rykielsewn-yah ree-key-el

Thakoontah-koon

Versacevur-sah-chee

Yves Saint Laurenteve san lau-ron

Yohji Yamamotoyoh-jee yam-ah-mo-to

High Street

If you've ever flipped through a British fashion magazine or chatted with our friends across the pond, you've likely heard the term 'high street' in reference to fashion shops and brands. So what exactly does that term mean? In the most basic sense, 'high street' brands are mass-market retail (think Zara and Forever21). This does not include high end designers or unique boutiques.

The term came about from people shopping the stores on the high street in their towns and cities, which is equivalent to the American main street.  Most high street fashion retailers stock up on trendier pieces and pieces inspired by (or sometimes copied from) the runways of high end designers. Some high street shops you've probably shopped at, or at the very least heard of, include Topshop, River Island, Whistles, and Oasis. American versions include Forever21, Madewell, and Club Monaco.

(some of high street shop Anthropologie's storefronts)

The great thing about high street shops is that they give those of us with a more average income a chance to try out and mimic styles from our favorite runway and magazine moments. So while the Blair Waldorfs of the world spend their day stocking up on the real deal, I'll be sticking to the much more affordable Zara.

image via Gossip Girl (CW)

image via Gossip Girl (CW)