NEW YORK — A thunderous drumbeat echoed through the cocktail reception at the Met Gala. Either an earthquake was hitting the Upper East Side of Manhattan, or the glittering assembly of guests was being called in to dinner.
And Kylie Jenner found an unlikely spot for a star-studded selfie at the museum. Hasan Minhaj, a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” was standing with the show’s host, Trevor Noah, and marveling about the week he was having. Just two days earlier, he’d made a huge splash with his blistering speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and now he was at one of the most exclusive parties on the planet, rubbing shoulders (literally) with a ridiculous number of A-list celebrities, and getting praise for his performance. “It’s been an insane week,” he said. “I keep thinking, what if the other night had gone poorly, what would tonight have been like?” Like everyone, he was somewhat shell-shocked at the number of famous people present. He mentioned Matt Damon and Michael B. Jordan in particular, just two of hundreds of celebrities attending what often feels like a combination of the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tonys, plus the worlds of fashion and sports. The stars were packed so tightly together, in fact, that the major hazard of the evening seemed to be potential hem damage, from famous feet stepping inadvertently on long, delicate trains. The evening began with invited guests making their way past the assembled media and up the red carpet — actually, blue stairs — and then into the huge entry hall of the museum, where a massive tower of hot pink and white roses, in the form of a flower, awaited them. Nobody seemed to know how many roses had been called into service. That tower and the rest of the evening’s decor was inspired, of course, by revered designer Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garcons and the subject of the Costume Institute’s spring exhibit. After climbing up the huge interior staircase, and past a receiving line, many opted to head before cocktails to the exhibit, set in a pure white setting with geometric structures housing some of the designer’s most famous collections. One of those displays had actor Ansel Elgort staring at the strange body forms dreamed up by Kawakubo for her 1997 collection “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body,” in which garments are stretched over bizarre protrusions coming from the stomach, the back, the waist or the hip. “It’s sort of a comment on what people are doing to their bodies these days. I think that may be what she’s doing here,” Elgort suggested. Isabelle Huppert, the French film star, was wearing a Dior leather beret as she examined the garments on display. “It’s amazing, really like an art installation, not a fashion exhibit,” she said. Breaking the Rule Kylie Jenner posted what she calls the “annual bathroom selfie” on Instagram Monday night, a photo taken at the museum’s bathroom. The photo includes her sisters Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian as well as Sean “Diddy” Combs, Frank Ocean, A$AP Rocky and Oscar winner Brie Larson. Larson later joked on Instagram that she had “to go to the bathroom and ended up famous.” The shot came in spite of a rumored ban on selfies at the event. The New York Post reported in 2015 that Met Gala guests were sent notices that phones could not be used for photography or social media. Images shared by numerous attendees show the rule has been routinely flouted.