As expected, there was a lot to take in at this year's Met Gala — from Rei Kawakubo-esque bobs to Comme des Garçons-inspired or -adjacent gowns. But unlike other first Mondays in May, where attendees have taken their sweet time making their way up the steps to ensure we got a good, long look at their ensembles, this year's guest's b-lined to the museum entrance, politely waving past fans, photographers, and media without much small talk. (Except for Céline Dion, that is, who made the absolute most out of her very first Costume Institute fête.) As much as we would've loved to get a few sound bites from some of our favorite dressers — How exactly does one sit down in that CDG, Helen Lasichanh? Can we buy your Topshop dress, Behati Prinsloo? — we mostly lamented how we couldn't get a good glimpse at the minutia of each look. We almost missed Lena Dunham's Planned Parenthood pin, for instance, or the fact that the flowers on Zoe Kravitz's Oscar de la Renta gown were indeed fresh roses. In the age of Instagram, though, we don't have to be front-and-center to savor these details — all we have to do is refresh our feeds. Odds are, the very celebrity and/or their stylist is psyched enough about their get-up for the evening to want to post about it.
Sure enough, the best seat to take in all the fashion from the Met Gala didn't necessarily have to cost $30,000: It all went down on the 'gram, where attendees and their glam squads were up early and stayed up after-party late to finesse their looks. There may be a little bit of filter and VSCO-ing going on in the final posts, but these behind-the-scenes snapshots capture the sometimes glamorous, mostly painstakingly detailed process of gearing up for the biggest night in fashion, from shimmying in your fringe skirt to putting on your impossibly-high Balenciaga boots.