UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan -- The Met Gala is one of the world's most exclusive events. Each ticket is about $30,000, and the guests must be approved by the chairwoman and Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. The main purpose though is to draw attention to - and fund - the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That, is open to everyone.
High fashion and a higher calling come together in a show called "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, gave his approval for the event because it's about "truth, goodness, and beauty" -- which means it's consistent with Catholic beliefs.
Cardinal Dolan helped convince the Vatican to loan to the Met's Costume Institute more than 40 of its treasures, some of which had never left the Holy See.
"I think what you get by mixing the divine with the profane is a recipe for controversy, but something really fun," said Alex Badia, style director of the esteemed Women's Wear Daily.
He noted that designers have long been inspired by religion and pointed to a photo of a model with halo and crown.
"It's a clear example of a Virgin Mary, but a fashion Virgin Mary," Badia said.
Every year, a celebrity is asked to help run the event. This year, Italian fashion icon Donatella Versace will be joining Wintour in chairing the event, though Wintour retains most creative control.
"Ultimately, the buck stops with Anna in terms of who's going to the ball," said Andrew Rossi, director of "The First Monday in May," a documentary about the event.
Priyanka Chopra, the star of ABC's "Quantico," will join other A-listers on what's been called "fashion's biggest night."
"(I'm) very excited this year about what I'm going to wear because it's going to be a piece of art," Chopra said.
Stars must burn bright and bold, and the stakes are high.
"It creates legends," Badia said. "It creates fashion stars. Rhianna became a fashion star on the Met red carpet."
Where else could you find George Clooney and a Catholic Cardinal mingling with fashion designers?