Sylvana Soto-Ward can sigh a sigh of relief today. Not only did she manage to pull in a red carpet worthy guest list, figures released yesterday show that Monday's Met Gala raised $9million, the most the event has ever raised and almost twice as much as last year. Everything was riding on this year's events, especially since it was the first without Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who's been in charge of the Costume Institute Gala for the past decade.
After being promoted from accessories editor to special-events planner in July, Vogue's Sylvana Soto-Ward unsurprisingly has a lot on her plate right now - after all, she is planning Vogue's annual Costume Institute Gala, otherwise known as the Oscars of the East Coast. Whilst we'd imagined that such a fashionable event would take an unprecedented amount of preparation, just like we are, Soto-Ward was "... Shocked the planning started so early, but it does. It takes almost a year," she told The Cut, "You get two months off and then right back at it".
In previous years, sponsors of the event have been Marc Jacobs and Giorgio Armani, however this year, American retailer Gap will be funding the ball. "I think the Gap is perfect for the theme" she says, speaking of the Gala's exhibit, which is devoted to the fashion of American women between 1890 and 1940. "Yes, it's been sort of these high-fashion companies, but particularly in this economy and in this world right now where it's not all about high fashion but its about the mix between high-low, you know?" she continued, "It's certainly something we're trying to portray in the magazine and everything else we do".
With the Met Ball less than a month away, it is only natural that rumours are beginning to circulate about this year's event - which will be the first ball to have Oprah as hostess, Gap as sponsorship and Sylvana Soto-Ward as Vogue's Director of Special Events.
Although the sponsorship from Gap will mean the Met Ball will have a considerable amount of money behind it, the event is usually good for brand exposure, and we're not sure we can imagine anyone rocking Gap on the red carpet. That said, there has been speculation that Gap's head designer, Patrick Robinson is to create two custom gowns - bets are on for who he'll be dressing. Oprah? Or maybe his wife, Virginia Smith? We hear Oprah's been in talks with Oscar de la Renta, though? Watch this space...
Yesterday, we brought up the teensy fact that Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who's been in charge of the Costume Institute Gala for the past decade and built it into the spectacle it is today, has left Vogue. And that it was speculated that the fashion party of the year might be in jeopardy.
Today, we can report that Sylvana Soto-Ward, former Vogue accessories editor, has been named as Winston Wolkoff's replacement and will now handle the Met Ball. Soto-Ward joined Team Vogue in 2003 as Anna Wintour's assistant, according to The Cut, so we say it's not too shabby to earn a top position after only several years.
To add to the challenge of taking over the Oscars of the East Coast? Wintour wants to make this year's event a budget affair, but we assume she'll want it to look just as expensive. Damn recession! You're ruining everything.