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Design & Style

Executing a Vision: Transforming the Met Gala

Anna Wintour

Lesson time 10:56 min

The Met Gala was not always the cultural touchstone it is today. Bringing you behind the scenes of the 2019 Met Gala, Anna shows how attention to every detail makes the gala one of the most influential and talked-about events of the year.

Anna Wintour
Teaches Creativity and Leadership
Anna Wintour gives unprecedented access to her world, teaching you how to lead with vision and creativity—and without apology.


[MUSIC PLAYING] ANNA WINTOUR: The Met Gala is an annual fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, which marks the opening of the Costume Institute's annual spring exhibition. I have co-chaired this event since 1995. And the most recent one was my 21st Met Gala. I'm going to share with you a few behind-the-scenes moments in the planning of this past year's Met Gala. - See you later. - Thanks. ANNA WINTOUR: You'll be watching me meet with Andrew Bolton, curator in charge at the Costume Institute, going over his selections and the design of the exhibit. The decisions for the ideas behind every single exhibition are entirely Andrew's. I am there to simply support and help fundraise for the museum. The exhibition this year was Camp-- Notes on Fashion based on the Susan Sontag essays. The Met Gala was not always the cultural and fashion event that it is today. It took many, many years to transform it. And there are a lot of lessons that I can share with you on how we did it. As you move along in your career, I think it's very important to remember that sometimes, opportunities come in the most unexpected ways. Well over 20 years ago, I received a phone call from one of my closest and dearest friends-- a brilliant, brilliant designer and extraordinary man called Oscar de la Renta. And his wife, also the most extraordinary woman in the world and a close friend, was very involved, was a trustee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And the two of them were very interested to know if "Vogue" would become part of the Costume Institute Gala, which had been when Mrs. Vreeland-- one of the past editors in chief of "Vogue," and an exceptional woman, and an exceptional editor-- when she left "Vogue," had gone to the Costume Institute, and created an extraordinary event with the Costume Institute Gala, and really made it a focal point within the fashion industry. So it had this remarkable history. But after she had left us, there was no one spearheading it. So it had slightly fallen off the fashion map and the social map. And it was no longer talked about or raise the money that was needed for the museum. So I think I was quite naive when I said to Oscar and Annette how much I would enjoy taking that on. And it took many, many years. And this is also something that all of you need to really understand. Building a relationship with the Metropolitan Museum, which is an extraordinary museum-- the greatest museum in the world-- and obviously a museum made up of amazing, brilliant people, but also a very traditional institution who believed in doing things in certain ways and were a little bit wary of the world of fashion moving in on what was quite a traditional territory. It's important to know that sometimes, a big vision and bold initiatives takes time. Things do not happen overnight. And working with the museum, I needed to understand their concerns and their needs, yet push them to think bigger and...

About the Instructor

A fashion and media icon, Anna Wintour has been driving our cultural conversation for more than 30 years. The Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Artistic Director of Condé Nast takes off her signature sunglasses and gives you unprecedented access to her world. See how Anna nurtures talent, makes bold decisions, and evolves a brand. Learn how to lead with impact from a visionary creative leader.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I found Anna Wintour's Masterclass to be excellent!!

Means to me that my story can never ends as long as I am true to myself in what I do, what I believe and what I achieve, and what I give back to those who helped me through this wonderful journey of creating!!!

As a feminist and a fan of fashion and design, I was already a fan of Anna Wintour and Vogue. Anna's thoughtfulness, humility, and generosity of spirit and knowledge truly do make her a master. Thank you for the inspiration!

I have no interest in fashion or trendiness. But Ms. Wintour presented a compelling vision of her industry. Lessons about engaging with society, risk-taking, independence, and branding add cross-disciplinary value.


Kirsti H.

The lessons have been interesting and informative. Anna Wintour is a very intelligent, passionate and strong leader who knows her strengths and weaknesses and seems willing to grow and adapt. I have learned a lot from these lessons.

Alyssa G.

This was a great lesson. Though I'd love to hear more about the "how's" of the work she did. How was she diplomatic with the Met? How did she handle set backs with "loosing ground" and going more traditional than she wanted? How did she deal with the expected frustrations of communicating with people who I assume might be staunchly against change of the norm?


I appreciated going behind the scenes and learning how the Met Gala developed. Not an overnight creation or success. Developing a relationship between very traditional Met and cutting edge Vogue took patience and diplomacy. One can apply this philosophy to many endeavors. It was good to see her taking time to decide on the guest list and seating chart. Not always does she make snap decisions. She brought her value to the event so that today the finished product works for both the Met and for Vogue.

Christina S.

I am only half way through and love it! I knew of Anna Wintour and what a powerhouse she is! I am in awe of her and her leadership and grace.

Silvia L. G.

What a labour of love, the develpment of the MET gala in to what it is today. The engagement and the patience to forsee the "vision" Exquisite!

Fabia F.

I plan an annual event every year for the women's network that I work for, and I love the idea of having a bold statement a clear vision and building excitement. Think about why the guests are there what they want to get out of it and give them an experience. Anna's emphasis that one should show the value one brings to the table while exercising diplomacy was validating. Vital to remember that to achieve change you require patience, In the end the show will go on, Loved this session.

Erika Von Finck

To co-chaire the Met Gala event must something very interesting and fascinating to do! I totally agree with Anna. There must be a slow pushing with patience and understanding so in the result, there is a win-win for both parties. I have to say, from my experience, that opportunities come in the most unexpected ways when there is not expectative, when there is trust in your heart and when there is a balance within you.

Sheryl B.

Yes, show that you bring value to anything and everything you do. My parents always taught me to never do anything half ass. As a conference organizer the stress is high, but my role is to always ensure that the attendees will walk away with the best experience ever. I say this all the time as well as Anna stated: The Show Must Go On. I will also add, never let them see you sweat. Stay calm.

Evgenia S.

I love this lesson ! Thank you Anna! This is so true, that "Nothing extraordinary happens overnight. Great things take time."

David A.

"Great things take time" is probably one of the best excerpts from the workbook on this lesson. Being a young marketer, it takes time and commitment to your own beliefs to get buy-in from senior leadership. Being agile and prompt has always been key to selling in great concepts, and of course passion for the work really helps me identify what's worth fighting for. My only build from Anna's work is that although patience is important (without argument), a fighting spirit and willingness to never give up, really can go a long way for the individual on the journey to thought/event/experience/brand evolution.