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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.

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!
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.

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.

Photography by: Courtesy of Abrams
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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