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On Sharkey's Shelf: "Vogue and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties Exhibitions People"

Kevin takes a trip down one outrageous memory lane.

Executive Editorial Director Decorating, Home, and Style

Cross fashion week with prom night, add a dash of Halloween and a pinch of Marie Antoinette’s Versailles…and you’ve got something approaching the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s costume ball. I’ve been attending it since I was a student at Rhode Island School of Design (way before Anna Wintour controlled the guest list). It was always such a thrill -- trading the J.Crew barn jacket for a tux and taking off for New York City. I looked forward to it all year. Even now, getting the invite evokes the excitement of changing seasons and back-to-school.

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Photography by: Courtesy of Abrams
I talk a lot about parties and what makes some so much better than others. To me, it comes down to creating an immersive experience -- and on that front, the Met Ball delivers with enthusiasm matched only by Martha’s. Each year has a theme, which creates an incredible ripple effect between the party’s elements: the exhibit, the costumes, the decorations, the food. I mean, last year’s "punk" ball had waiters walking around with spiked hair and studs. It doesn’t get more immersive than that!
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Photography by: Courtesy of Abrams

That detail makes the guest experience really special, and the backdrop of one of the world’s most iconic museums doesn’t hurt. The Ball has become a bit of a red carpet circus, but the exhibitions alone are worth the trip -- and while the book offers plenty of outrageous celebrity fashion, it also pays mind to the party’s curated elements. I love visiting the Met all year round for inspiration. Now, I can do so from the comfort of my sofa.

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Photography by: Courtesy of Abrams

In a way, I see this book as a photo album of memories -- albeit memories of a highly fantastical life that I live one night a year. I’m certain that even those who have never experienced the Met Ball firsthand will delight in joining this end of the party. Even better, everyone’s invited -- with or without Anna’s blessing.

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Photography by: Courtesy of Abrams
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About the Author

Kevin Sharkey

Kevin Sharkey is Senior Vice President and Executive Editorial Director, Decorating, and Executive Creative Director, Merchandising for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO). A designer and all-around creative expert, he plays a vital role in shaping MSLO’s editorial content and product designs. Mr. Sharkey came to MSLO in 1995 from Parish-Hadley, a venerable New York City...

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