WWD’s veteran party photographer Steve Eichner has covered a Met Ball or two. He’s seen it all — the good, the bad, the ugly and the freaky. Here, his perspective from the front lines of this year’s extravaganza.
This story first appeared in the May 6, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
4:02 p.m. I arrive at the Met and hang out with the other photographers who are shooting the red carpet. Vogue isn’t letting any other photographers into the gala for the first time. I’ve been covering this event for more than 20 years now, always shooting inside. “Do you have allergies? Did you smoke a bowl before you got here? Your eyes are red,” a Getty shooter says to me. “No, I was crying because I’m not inside this year,” I crack.
4:32 p.m. “I’m the Energizer Bunny!” 84-year-old paparazzo Ron Galella quips as he arrives on crutches. “This is the only event I still cover.”
5:07 p.m. I’m packed in and ready to shoot. It’s going to be a marathon from what I’m told; two-and-a-half hours of nonstop arrivals, flashes melting down, camera malfunctions and photographers losing their voices from screaming (both at celebs and at each other!).
5:52 p.m. I see paparazzi scurrying in the street. “It’s Anna!” There she is, walking up 82nd street with her daughter Bee. Saving money on the car service, eh Anna? I guess Condé Nast is on a tight budget these days.
6:19 p.m. Larry David arrives and beelines for the entrance, without stopping for pictures. Of course.
6:25 p.m. FYI Allison Williams: I understand that red is good luck in China, but don’t wear a red dress on the red carpet. It just blends into the carpet. You too, Amal.
6:42 p.m. Looking for attention much, Allison Sarofim?
7:46 p.m. I snap Justin Bieber with a police van behind him. Perfect!
8:14 p.m. Classy lady. First she rubs her ass, then she gives someone the finger — doesn’t Cara Delevingne know that the world is watching?
8:22 p.m. When asked who’s my favorite person to photograph, I usually respond Lady Gaga because she’s always wearing something exciting. Sorry, Gaga, but you disappointed this time. My least favorite dress.
8:26 p.m. Now, this is the way to do it. Rihanna arrives in a huge yellow dress that drapes almost the entire length of the Met staircase. Let’s see if Beyoncé taps out after seeing this on social media.
8:54 p.m. “She should be here in 20 minutes,” p.r. tells us about Beyoncé. The arrivals have been over for 30 minutes already and my feet are killing me. “Maybe she turned around to get her baby so she could upstage Rihanna?” I postulate.
9:47 p.m. Finally Bey and Jay arrive. She’s stunning and almost nude. Well worth the hour-and-a-half wait. I guess they aren’t hungry because they totally missed dinner.
THE YAHOO STYLE AFTER PARTY AT THE TOP OF THE STANDARD
11:19 p.m. Nice Chinese lantern headdress, S.J.P. Last time I saw something like that I was at Wo Hop in Chinatown at 3 a.m.
11:45 p.m. Georgina Chapman and Valentino pose for me. Fashion makes for strange bedfellows.
11:46 p.m. “I feel disheveled,” Kate Mara whines, using the excuse to refuse a request for a picture.
11:48 p.m. Sofia va-va-voom Vergara!
11:58 p.m. “Anne Hathaway is here. She’s wearing white and looks incredible,” my editor points into the packed room. I go in search, squeezing through the crowd. Glad she changed out of the hoodie.
12:09 a.m. Reese Witherspoon tries to go into one of the VIP areas. The security doesn’t recognize her and she comes back my way miffed. She hops over to the next VIP table and is greeted with open arms by Francisco Costa. Phew!
12:23 a.m. I get the photo of Leonardo DiCaprio’s hat and beard as he ducks my camera. The usual.
1:09 a.m. Kendall Jenner, The Brant boys, Joan Smalls and other models dance and scream on their way to the elevators. I’m snapping all the way. “It’s like kindergarten for the rich,” a partygoer mutters.
1:10 a.m. Eleven-time world-champion surfer Kelly Slater comes out of the elevator.
Someone who actually matters to me!
1:21 a.m. ”Do I have lipstick all over my face?” Dree Hemingway asks as we look at the photo I just took of her. “Yes, I do,” she says. “Were you making out with someone?” I ask. “Maybe,” she blushes.
1:29 a.m. To the restroom I go. Standing outside is the newly engaged FKA twigs and Robert Pattinson. They’re giving me and my camera the stink eye. I start talking to someone when out of the corner of my eye, I see them start walking down the hallway toward me. I lift my camera and nonchalantly snap them and go back to talking.
1:51 a.m. Sophie Turner from “Game of Thrones” hits the dance floor by herself.
2:10 a.m. The room thins out and I decide it’s time to go. I get out to the street; it’s fan and paparazzi chaos. “Rita! Rita, over here!” they scream at Rita Ora and Sienna Miller leaving together. They finally make it to their SUV. “Please, Rita! Take a photo with us! We’re from Albania, too!” Some kids plead to the tinted window. No shot, I think. But to my surprise, she rolls down the window and gives them a selfie. Guess there’s always time for a selfie!