Mayor Eric Adams of New York was one of the first guests to arrive at this year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, accompanied by his girlfriend, Tracey Collins, whom he introduced as his “other half.”
The self-proclaimed “Swagger Mayor” wore a jacket by the Nigerian designer Laolu Senbanjo to match the theme of “gilded glamour.” The custom-designed tuxedo jacket, embroidered on the lapels and down the length of the back with motifs of New York City, included an image of the Chrysler Building and the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge. The words “End Gun Violence,” mingled with African-style masks, represented the many Black lives that have been cut short by gun violence, the mayor, a former New York City police officer, said.
“We need to keep that at the forefront as we enjoy the financial ecosystem,” he added.
Ms. Collins wore a Grecian-style white Oscar de la Renta gown, adorned with black sequin leaves at the shoulders. Entering the museum, the couple walked past a Statue of Liberty-inspired torch that reached all the way to the ceiling, surrounded by walls of red roses shaped into a star.
Was Mr. Adams excited to be at his first Met Gala? “Well, I think the real question is how do they feel that I’m here? Because I’ve got the swagger,” he said, letting out a belly laugh.
The mayor walked to the rose-covered steps to greet the hosts of the gala: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Anna Wintour, whom he kissed on each cheek like a fashion veteran at a runway show.
After giving the other hosts firm handshakes, he made his way to the cocktails, voice booming cheerfully through the Mary and Michael Jaharis Gallery, which holds the museum’s collection of Byzantine art. Past a bust of Constantine and to the right, in the American Wing, Mr. Adams carried himself proudly, his shoulders back and neck long.
It was time to work the room.
Waltzing past several servers holding out glasses of white wine and cocktails, Mr. Adams began to chortle when he saw Jon Batiste, the recent Grammy Award winner for album of the year, who greeted him with a bear hug. The Australian director Baz Luhrmann, whose shock of white hair stood out amid the black suits, walked over to the boisterous duo for a handshake.
When Michael R. Bloomberg, the three-term former mayor of New York, walked into the American Wing, Mr. Adams introduced him to Ms. Collins. Mr. Bloomberg spun around searching for his date, but relinquished the effort almost immediately, then patted Mr. Adams on the back. “We’ll take pictures later,” he promised, before walking away.
Seeing an opening, the actor Ansel Elgort, in a Moschino suit with white Manolo Blahnik shoes, approached Mr. Adams, complimented his jacket and shook his hand.
“I love his outfit and I love the ‘End Gun Violence,’” Mr. Elgort said. “He looks great and it’s a great message.”
With her back to him, standing directly in front of Mr. Elgort, was Sarah Jessica Parker in a black and white Christopher John Rogers gown. Mr. Adams made his way around the wing to greet and take a picture with the much taller model Jourdan Dunn, who bent her knee a bit to fit in the frame.
Mr. Adams was aware that this setting was posher than many of his constituents would be accustomed to.
“You have many New Yorkers who are saying, you know, why do we need our affluent New Yorkers, many of whom are here? Because 2 percent of New Yorkers pay 51 percent of our income taxes,” he said. “We need to make sure low-wage employees are paid good wages. We need to embrace those who are in this room today and say we want to be part of the New York experience.”
Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the mayor, said on Tuesday that Mr. Adams was able to attend the Met Gala “under a rule reserved for elected officials promoting cultural institutions.”
“Because of the Met’s significance in the N.Y.C. cultural landscape, and because of the mayor’s public role promoting cultural institutions in N.Y.C., he was permitted to attend,” Mr. Levy wrote in an email.
Across the room the rapper Jack Harlow waited for a drink at the bar wearing a chocolate satin Givenchy suit until Normani, Lori Harvey and Teyana Taylor joined him. Janelle Monáe slunk her way around the party in a Ralph Lauren dress that included a cowl. When asked how this year’s party compared with previous ones, she said, “What’s different this year is me: I am more present.”
At the end of the bar, the rapper Anderson .Paak, in a bowl-cut wig and round John Lennon glasses, hung out with the actor Ashton Sanders, who wore a blue and gold Casablanca look that resembled the uniform of a soldier in the Continental Army and spooky contact lenses that made his irises appear cloudy and white.
Mr. Adams, a vigorous advocate of the benefits of plant-based eating, stopped by one of the servers and picked up a single plantain chip dressed with coconut ceviche. “Vegan,” the server said. At the bar, the mayor sipped on water, declining a slice of cucumber.
As Mr. Adams chatted with Domenico de Sole, the chief executive of Gucci, and Inka Drögemüller, a deputy director at the Met, Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin entered the wing.
Mr. Adams made a beeline to dinner and Mr. Bloomberg spoke to Mrs. Clinton — who was attending the Met Gala for the first time since 2001 — for a moment before he decided to cut the line and enter the dining room through a shortcut, near the caterers. As the city elders walked to their expensive tables, guests including Naomi Campbell, SZA, Kerry Washington, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B continued to trickle in. The last guest up the Met stairs was Kim Kardashian, who arrived in the dress Marilyn Monroe wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. Ms. Kardashian, newly bottle blonde for the occasion, posed for pictures and beckoned her “babe,” Pete Davidson, into the shot.
“I have to do a costume change before this dress disintegrates,” she said.
The night was just getting started.