Fashion film review: The First Monday in May

The film, The First Monday in May delivers an unprecedented look behind the scenes of two of New York’s premier fashion and cultural events.

Rihanna at the Met Gala for The First Monday of May

Each year as spring blooms in New York, the broad sidewalks and steep stairs of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are transformed for an unforgettable evening of art, glamour and fashion. For one night only, the masses of tourists disappear and, in their place, a dramatic red carpet appears and is walked by the world’s most recognisable figures in fashion, business and entertainment.

The highly sought-after invitation in New York City, the Met Gala finds Academy Award-winning actors and supermodels sharing the spotlight with pop-music icons and political powerbrokers for an evening unlike any other. And for the first time, the world has an all access pass to the spectacular affair.

The film, The First Monday in May delivers an unprecedented look behind the scenes of two of New York’s premier cultural events; the creation of “China: Through The Looking Glass” - the most attended fashion exhibition in the history of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art - and the 2015 Met Gala - the star-studded fundraiser that celebrates the opening of the exhibition.

Acclaimed filmmaker Andrew Rossi follows Anna Wintour - Artistic Director of Condé Nast, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine and long-time chair of the Met Gala - and Andrew Bolton - the revolutionary curator who conceived the ground-breaking show - for eight months as they prepare for an evening they hope will take the worlds of art and fashion by storm.

Anna Wintour and Andrew Bolton in The First Monday in May film

The film documents one of the most exclusive parties in the world side-by-side with an exhibition that drew more than three-quarters of a million visitors during its four-month run. What makes The First Monday in May truly captivating is the hard work, dedication and true passion of those involved in the creation of the two events.

With “China: Through the Looking Glass”, Bolton brings contemporary and historical fashion together with fine art, world history and film for one of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most ambitious projects ever. Seeing the complications and critique Bolton faced with such a controversial exhibition provides a better understanding and appreciation for how fashion is art and how fashion is influenced, and how it influences culture.

Wintour’s task is to stage an unforgettable opening gala that reflects the spirit of the exhibition. In the words of former Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley, “Since Anna has taken over the Met Ball, it has become the Super Bowl of fashion events.” During the planning, Wintour personally vets every detail of the gala from table linens to seating charts. The 2015 Met Gala as showcased through the film, is a visual spectacle with A-list celebrities dressed in show-stopping couture gowns fit to the theme of the exhibition.

With so many spectacular aspects, it is hard to define what makes the film incredible. From the amazing visuals created by the unbelievable gowns and designs in the exhibition, as well as the glamorous celebrities at the Met Gala, to the hard work, passion and dedication that goes into creating both events and the cultural insight provided by the exhibition; the film will have you entranced for its duration and leave you feeling inspired with a refreshed appreciation for the world of fashion.

Don't miss The First Monday in May, released in cinemas across Australia on May 12, 2016.

Words: Frances van Eeden