New York, New York! It’s so great to be back in the Big Apple for the first Monday in May. Having spent the last two weeks outside of Manhattan, immersed in an Advanced Management Program at Columbia Business School, I was ready and excited for that extraordinary injection of fashion, art, and culture that comes with all things surrounding the Met Gala—and as a supporter of the Costume Institute and a part of the Met Gala committee, it truly is a highlight of my year. In China, the Met Gala is also a much-anticipated event too, very much considered to be the “Oscars of Fashion.”

My preparations around the Met start around the time of the announcement of the theme for the exhibition; at which point, I start contemplating which designer to wear. This year’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” is my favorite theme so far as it lends itself to a wonderful palette of color and maximalism. My dear friend and stylist, Min Rui, helped me narrow it down to a few designers, and finally, we ended up falling in love with the sketch we received from one of my favorite fashion houses, Giambattista Valli. Having worked with Mr. Valli before on a couture gown, we were able to work remotely on the dress while I was in Shanghai. The dress arrived at my hotel in New York a couple of days before the gala—it was a dream to finally try on! I was so happy to also receive the original sketch from Mr. Valli to add to my Met Gala archive. He told me that it took his studio over 600 hours to make and required over 300 meters of tulle—just in the skirt! Sadly this time, I will have to give back the gown as it will be kept in the Giambattista Valli archive.

Advertisement

The days leading up to the Met Gala are always a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones. On Saturday, I dropped into the Camp cocktail celebration co-hosted by Wendi Murdoch, Andrew Bolton, Eva Chen, and Sylvana Ward Durrett. It was so great to see Mary Katrantzou there, who had flown over to celebrate five of her dresses being in this year’s exhibition. I am so proud of her, she truly is a designer that I believe will become iconic in fashion history. That night we went onto dinner at Mr. Chow, there’s nothing quite like the sweet taste Chinese food when you're away from home!

Sunday was a day of rest and finalizing all the details for my outfit. It was great to see my dear friend, the jewelry designer Anna Hu, who popped in to say hello. I also finally had the chance to meet Blair Breitenstein, an amazing fashion illustrator that I came across when working on a project with the Fashion Illustration Gallery a couple of years ago. I had secretly been looking for an excuse to collaborate with her and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity.

Onto the press preview of the exhibition, which took place on the Monday morning of the Met Gala and is one of my favorite moments as I get to see Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge, in all his glory against the backdrop of his incredible work. Of all his remarks, something that resonated with me most was the line that, “trying to define camp is like attempting to sit in the corner of a circular room.” Inspired and enthralled, I noted down my top ten favorite exhibits from “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”

At 3:00 p.m., it was time to head back to the St. Regis Hotel to get ready. After a quick face and eye mask, I started with hair and makeup and then slipped into my gown. I picked up my Edie Parker clutch and at 5:30 p.m., a limousine scooped me up and we headed over to The Metropolitan Museum of Art for red carpet arrivals. Needless to say, it was a real Cinderella moment!