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When did it start? And why?

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The first Met Gala took place in December 1948. It was created by fashion publicist and CFDA founder, Eleanor Lambert, to raise funds for the costume institute and mark the opening of the annual exhibit. The Costume Institute actually became a part of the Met two years prior to the first Gala and is the only department at the Met that has to fund itself. Since 1995, the Gala has raised around $145 million for the costume institute.

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