New York City Mayor Eric Adams was one of the first guests to arrive at this year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, along with his girlfriend Tracey Collins, whom he introduced as his “other half.”
The self-proclaimed ‘Swagger Mayor’ wore a jacket by Nigerian designer Laolu Senbanjo, matching the ‘gilded glamour’ theme. The custom-designed tuxedo jacket, embroidered on the lapel and down the back with New York City motifs, featured a depiction of the Chrysler Building and the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge. The words “End Gun Violence,” mixed with African-style masks, represented the many black lives cut short by gun violence, said the mayor, a former New York City police officer.
“We need to keep that at the forefront while enjoying the financial ecosystem,” he added.
Mrs. Collins wore a white, Greek-style Oscar de la Renta dress, decorated with black sequin petals on the shoulders. Entering the museum, the couple walked past a Statue of Liberty-inspired torch that reached all the way to the ceiling, surrounded by walls of red roses in the shape of a star.
Was mr. Adams excited to be at his first Met Gala? “Well, I guess the real question is how do they like me being here? Because I have the swagger,’ he said with a smile on his stomach.
The mayor walked up the rose-covered stairs to greet the gala hosts: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Anna Wintour, whom he kissed on every cheek like a fashion veteran on a runway show.
After shaking hands with the other hosts, he made his way to the cocktails, voiced in a cheerful voice by the Mary and Michael Jaharis Gallery, which holds the museum’s collection of Byzantine art. Past a bust of Constantine and to the right, in the American wing, Mr. Adams carried himself proudly, his shoulders back and his neck long.
It was time to work on the room.
As he walked past several servers with glasses of white wine and cocktails, Mr. Adams began to chuckle when he saw Jon Batiste, the recent Grammy Award winner for album of the year, greeting him with a bear hug. Australian director Baz Luhrmann, whose bump of white hair stood out among the black suits, approached the dashing duo for a handshake.
When Michael R. Bloomberg, the three-year-old former mayor of New York, walked into the American wing, Mr. Adams introduced him to Ms. Collins. Mr. Bloomberg turned to look for his date, but gave up the effort almost immediately, then patted Mr. Adams on the back. “We’ll take pictures later,” he promised, before walking away.
Seeing an opening, actor Ansel Elgort, in a Moschino suit with white Manolo Blahnik shoes, approached Mr. Adams, complimented his jacket and shook his hand.
“I like his outfit and I like the ‘End Gun Violence’,” said Mr. Elgort. “He looks great and it’s a great message.”
With her back to him, directly in front of Mr. Elgort, stood Sarah Jessica Parker in a black and white Christopher John Rogers dress. Mr. Adams walked along the wing to greet and snap a photo with the much taller model Jourdan Dunn, who bent her knee slightly to fit the frame.
Mr. Adams was aware that this setting was more upscale than many of his constituents would be used to.
“You’ve got a lot of New Yorkers saying, you know, why do we need our affluent New Yorkers, many of whom are here? Because 2 percent of New Yorkers pay 51 percent of our income taxes,” he said. “We have to make sure that low-paid workers get a good wage. We need to embrace those in this room today and say we want to be a part of the New York experience.”
Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the mayor, said on Tuesday that Mr. Adams could attend the Met Gala “under a rule reserved for elected officials promoting cultural institutions.”
“Due to the Met’s importance in NYC’s cultural landscape and because of the mayor’s public role in promoting NYC cultural institutions, he was allowed to attend,” wrote Mr. Levy in an email.
Across the room, rapper Jack Harlow waited for a drink at the bar, dressed in a chocolate satin Givenchy suit until Normani, Lori Harvey and Teyana Taylor joined him. Janelle Monáe snuck through the party in a hooded Ralph Lauren dress. When asked how this year’s party was compared to previous years, she said, “What’s different this year is me: I’m more present.”
At the end of the bar, rapper Anderson .Paak, in a bowl-shaped wig and round John Lennon glasses, hung out with actor Ashton Sanders, who wore a blue-and-gold Casablanca look that resembled a soldier’s uniform in the Continental army and ghostly contact lenses that made his irises appear cloudy and white.
Mr. Adams, a staunch believer in the benefits of plant-based eating, stopped by one of the servers and grabbed a single plantain chip with coconut ceviche. “Vegan,” the server said. At the bar, the mayor sipped the water and took a slice of cucumber.
While Mr. Adams chatted with Domenico de Sole, Gucci’s chief executive, and Inka Drögemüller, a deputy director of the Met, Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin entered the wing.
Mr. Adams walked to the diner and Mr. Bloomberg spoke briefly with Mrs. Clinton—who was attending the Met Gala for the first time since 2001—before deciding to cut the line and take a shortcut into the dining room. near the caterers. As the city elders walked to their expensive tables, guests including Naomi Campbell, SZA, Kerry Washington, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B kept trickling in. The last guest on the Met steps was Kim Kardashian, who arrived in the dress Marilyn Monroe wore singing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. Ms Kardashian, who had just turned blonde for the occasion, posed for photos and motioned for her “darling,” Pete Davidson, to have her picture taken.
“I have to do a costume change before this dress falls apart,” she said.
The evening was just beginning.