That Time I Crashed The Met Gala

It’s been a model minute since I photographed the Met Gala, ok it’s been about 10 years. I did a quick search and found some photos in my archives from 2008, the 2nd time I shot the Met Gala’s ‘Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy’ Costume Institute Gala held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Met Gala is always held the first Monday in May at the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan. I never had a chance to officially shoot it on the red carpet, as I wasn’t a full time professional photographer. I was still doing this hobby on the side, and working as a paralegal at a law firm in Philly, where I lived and traveling up to NYC as much as I could to pursue my new passion – photographing celebrities. When you’re not credentialed to shoot a red carpet event, you are a paparazzo and basically have to crash the event to get salable shots.

Back then, in the early years before social media changed everything and attracted three times as many people than you see in this photo, it wasn’t very hard to get the shots I needed. I waited patiently after the event ended to meander across the street to get my shots, before the fans got up the courage to try their luck. If you dressed the part, ie like a photographer in all black, and were respectful, you could blend in back then as there wasn’t a lot of security or organization for the departure.

As celebrities exited The Met Gala like Actress Kate Mara and designer Zac Posen (Kate is best known for playing reporter Zoe Barnes in the Netflix political drama House of Cards. She’s the one who gets pushed in front of the subway. What a way to go, it was memorable.)

Barbara Walters. Always glamorous, kind with a smile.
For her first-ever Met Gala in 2008, Beyoncé stepped out in a strapless blush-toned Armani Privé gown.
A pregnant Christy Turlington glowed alongside husband Edward Burns (missing from this photo) in 2008
Kimora Lee Simmons and Djimon Hounsou. She ended up on a lot of worse dressed lists, but I kinda like this fancy free colorful outfit.
Someone whose outfit everyone loved was Naomi Watts wearing Dior. She was described as channeling Marilyn Monroe with this look.
Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen (The Olsen Twins) whispering as they depart the MET Gala

Ashley wearing a Keyhole Satin Evening Prom Gown, while her sister counterpart, Mary Kate glammed it up with her floor length gold pieced dress. I believe both of these outfits were from their fashion line The Row.

The show stopper entrance of the night was definitely André Leon Talley, who wore a signature cape. When he got to the middle of the stairs he opened his cape to reveal tennis great Venus Williams. A very calculated move, and noted in all the press the next day. Recently Andre wrote a book on his former boss, Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief and artistic director of publisher Condé Nast — as well as the name behind the Met’s Anna Wintour Costume Center . Last week, an excerpt from former Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley’s memoir, “Chiffon Trenches,” revealed that he has been left with “huge emotional and psychological scars” from his relationship with his longtime friend Wintour, whom he’s fallen out with in recent years. The book will be released September 8, during New York Fashion Week NYFW, another event where Anna Wintour reigns over. Touche André Leon Talley!!


THE TALE OF TWO BRUNCHES – Sampan & Tweed – DJ’s, Dancing & Food

Two new brunches started within a week of each other, and although they are both marketed as “DJ Brunch/New Menu’s” Each is very different.
I headed over to Tweed yesterday for launch the Tweed’s Bagatelle inspired brunch with an ear splitting DJ, dancing and delicious brunch food like pancakes, waffles with fruit, omlette’s and eggs Benedict. Oh and bottles, bottles and bloody Mary’s.
Heather Baumgardner, GN Kang and Michelle Miller enjoy some of the tasty treats from the menu including Eggs Benedict, Belgium Waffles and bagels & lox.
DJ Lili Lamar and DJ Guiliano Presta spun during the afternoon brunch.
Tweed can be reserved for larger parties like the one that Zach Seidman (r) did in honor of Ryan Dorsey’s (l) birthday celebration Saturday afternoon. (Later this week you’ll see what his party was like for him at his club Recess.)I hear U of Penn students already have a larger reservation for next Saturday. No doubt that will be a blast.
Did I mention dancing was going on.
Originally owner Edward Bianchini was only planning to do the brunch on Saturday’s, but after Saturday’s success he told me he’d be doing the same thing on Sundays. Saturday & Sunday’s party 12 -4 PM.
Then I headed over to Sampan (124 South 13th Street, 215-732-3501) for Aly Green’s birthday party at the new Dim Sum Sampan brunch. Above Red Richards spins at Sampan, but you can take out the ear plugs now. It’s still loud, but you can hear your brunch companions chatter much better.Here the focus is on the menu, which is Asian inspired Dim Sum and they even have two tricked out carts that they bring to your table. Sampan will serve satays, crispy rolls and noodles as well as more traditional American brunch fare, including: Spanish Octopus Satay with lemon, arugula, and soy-balsamic vinaigrette; crispy Crab Rangoon with cream cheese, scallion and wonton; Steak and Eggs, a filet, sunny-side up and fries; “Eggs Benedict” with Berkshire pork belly, spinach, and sriracha hollandaise; and Beef Chow Fun with short ribs, green chives and chili. Plates will range in price from $12 to $21.
Steve Ward stops by to wish Aly Green a happy happy birthday. In the other room I saw a family of 4 with a baby carriage, and 4 tables of 5 people each. So there was a nice crowd enjoying lunch around 3PM on this rainy day. Last week I heard the place was packed as well as the Graffiti Bar. Although there was no dancing going on, and that is what Michael Schulson told me he wanted, there was toe tapping and a vibe.
Dana Spain, and Andi Pesacov with Aly. Chef Michael Schulson is proud of his newly assembled management team which includes Chef de Cuisine Khamla Vongsakoun who worked as Sous Chef at Philadelphia’s Buddakan and under Chef Michael Mina at SeaBlue in Atlantic City. Together, the chefs created the new Dim Sum Brunch which includes: Corned Beef Char Sui Bun with sauerkraut and smoked mustard; General Tso Soup Dumplings with soy, ginger and scallions; Pork Bao Bun with spicy shallots, mint and sweet chili; Shrimp and Scallop Shu Mai with cilantro, citrus and soy; Chicken Feet with black bean, soy and ginger; and Steamed Ribs with chili, black beans, and five spice. All dim sum are just $6. I had the steamed ribs and Corned Beef Char Sui Bun. Both were delicious. Dim Sum Brunch is Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. until closeI’m gonna go completely dumb on the girls on the end, but here’s Aly, Kaci Metz and Lindsay Kravitz. Tony Rufo, who was also in attendance tells me that he and Lindsay are almost done all their planning for the wedding next May, so no need for a wedding consultant. The reason for the wait, they are building their dream house in Center City and want that to be finished before they take the plunge. I don’t expect an invite as the wedding is going to be a small intimate one with about 200. Now they are just looking for a Wedding Invitation Calligrapher.
Hopefully though I can catch some pixs socially for PhillyChitChat.com at the cocktail party.
Conclusion: Both fun, and delicious food, but both different in atmosphere which is good. One week you might feel like a traditional brunch with dancing at Tweed, the next week maybe chillin at Sampan with Dim Sum and a few new twists on the traditional fare. Either place is a win win.