The First Monday in May

Film, Documentaries
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
The First Monday in May

A look behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Every year the Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art holds an exhibition. The show is opened by an A-list fundraiser hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour on the first Monday in May. It’s the kind of party you’ll almost definitely never get an invite to, but this film from Andrew Rossi gives us an intimate insider glimpse. We see Wintour doing the table planning and Bradley Cooper dancing awkwardly with Rihanna. Thing is, while the access granted is captivating, it’s not the most interesting part of this documentary. Neither are the questions posed at the start about whether fashion and celebrity have a place in a museum.

The interesting stuff, unexpectedly, is actually the making of the exhibition ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’. Curator Andrew Bolton (who’s from Lancaster) plans to bring together collections inspired by the country and present them in the museum’s China exhibit. The clothes he’s picking are beautiful, but the majority of them are by white Western designers who openly admit to being inspired by movies and a fantasy of the country’s women, thus appropriating its culture.

We see Bolton and Wintour challenged again and again by – often Chinese – journalists and collaborators for playing into orientalism and stereotyping of the country. Whether Rossi knows it or not, this is one of the most compelling discussions of appropriation and the ignorance of the fashion world in ages.

By: Kate Lloyd


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday September 30 2016
Duration: 90 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Andrew Rossi

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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I remember perfectly how excited I was to go and see 'The First Monday In May' at the Barbican cinema. I promise it's the best place to experience all the new films. The prices are phenomenal for anyone 25 years or under.

I had a very clear idea of what this documentary film was going to be about. I just knew that this would be right up my alley as fashion is my dream and it's practically my life.

I have to say that it is truly one of the best fashion documentary films that I have experienced to date. It showcased everything from organising to the planning of the world renowned event that happens once a year, always on the first of May. It showcases immense hardwork from the beginning to the end of the final result of the MET gala 2015. You get to know who Andrew Bolton and Anna Wintour are extremely well. The way they work, their enormous drive and passion that they pour towards this exhibition and the gala event at the MET Museum in New York is all intertwined in this dramatic, emotional documentary.

Andrew Bolton the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art was astounding. His story of how he became the curator is truly an inspiration. He has this huge successful dream of creating such an incredible exhibition at the museum and he did with 'Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty'. Bolton and the directors of the museum never imagined in the world how successful this would be. It turned out to be the tip top best ever for the museum. So it's normal that the next theme "China: Through The Looking Glass" for 2015 had to be even more successful and as huge as the last exhibition. It was the most magnificently attended exhibition in history for the MET Museum.

Anna Wintour for me was everything that I imagined her to be and much more. Her poise, her elegance, her enthusiasm, her demanding behaviour, and her tremendous work to the MET museum.

You almost feel like you are part of this tremendous journey that ends with a glorious, fabulous evening which is the MET gala 2015.

Step into this world that will take off and show you what The First Monday In May actually means to designers, artists, actors, editors, directors, and so on.


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