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The Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute benefit gala is, no question about it, the most A-list black tie formal fashion industry event each year. So, it goes without saying, that it's also the most fashionable gala on the New York social calendar—designers pull out all the stops, inviting and dressing celebrities to show off the season's most elaborate, fashion-forward, beautiful, and important gowns.
This Monday night, a lot of the celebrities and VIPs in attendance will be wearing—wait for it—clothes from The Gap. The chain store has collaborated with designers, including Alexander Wang, Rodarte, Thakoon, and Sophie Theallet to create looks for stars in attendance, including M.I.A., Zoe Kravitz, Kirsten Dunst, Jamie Bochert, Kerry Washington, Riley Keough, Jessica Alba, and Vera Farmiga. The dresses worn by the celebs will go on auction after the event and the Gap at 680 Fifth Avenue will be selling Gap T-shirts inspired by the Costume Insitute exhibit.
No doubt that the Gap's underwriting of the exhibit—entitled "American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity"—had something to do with this. Yes, the country's just crawling out of a recession. And of course, the Gap is an important part of the American style landscape and the company is being exceptionally generous by sponsoring the exhibit.
But how far will the American fashion industry allow mass market cash (albeit, a lot of it) influence and change the face of a creative industry at the luxury level? In Paris, would Etam, which is, for all intents and purposes the French Gap, be given an equivalent level of influence over, say, a Vogue Paris black tie gala?
How far will the American fashion industry bow to cash and commodification? Souvenir T-shirts? Really?
· Dress you up [WWD]