Fashion Houses Can’t Afford Tables at Anna Wintour’s Big Budget Gala This Year

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Anna Wintour at the gala last year, when people
had money!
Photo: Getty Images

The annual Costume Institute Gala (or Oscars of the East Coast) is just four weeks away, but many fashion houses that usually sponsor entire tables are too broke to do so this year. The way seating works at this thing is Anna Wintour and Vogue invite houses to purchase tables for anywhere from $75,000 to $250,000 with the money going to charity. But this year Burberry, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alberta Ferretti said no because they don't want to empty their already mostly empty piggy banks. Instead, those who have a few grand to kick around are purchasing individual seats for $5,000 to $15,000. It's a budget gala this year, folks! And there's nothing A-Dubs can do about it.

But seating isn't the only expense houses must shoulder. Each label must bring at least one celebrity who will wear its clothes, get photographed in them, and lend their fabulousness to the brand. And celebrities aren't exactly recession-friendly. They must be flown to New York, put up somewhere fancy, have a hired car ferry them about, and get their hair and makeup done. Their entourages require similar treatment.

Anna might be upset that many labels are being so cheap this year, but that's where her designer co-chair comes in! That person has no choice but to do what they're supposed to do, economic downturn or not. Marc Jacobs is this year's co-chair, so LVMH (which owns 96 percent of Jacobs's company) will probably buy tables for some of its labels, like Donna Karan, Celine, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, and Givenchy. A rep for Ralph Lauren told Fashion Week Daily they'll surely support the event, but they're not sure "at what level." Calvin Klein, Tod's, and Puig Fashion Group will also sponsor a table. It's curious about Puig — Anna was upset they let Olivier Theyskens go from Nina Ricci, so will they use this as an opportunity to win back her favor? Nothing says "we care" like lots of money! We wonder if the gala will cut back in other ways. Like trade a waitstaff and silver for a buffet and plastic cutlery.

Costume Institute Watch! [FWD]