The first Monday in May marks fashion’s most extravagant event of the year, the Met Gala. For more than 20 years, Anna Wintour’ s The Costume Institute has placed celebrities, artists, socialites, musicians, and even some royals under the same roof all in the name of fashion. Although it’s the sartorial choices that leave memorable imprints, the decor and floral arrangements are just as cognitive of each theme and overall event. For the past 13 years and counting Anna has trusted Raúl Àvila to bring life to the party with his beautifully elaborate floral creations.
Raúl hails from Colombia and is the visionary behind the lavish bamboo-forest staircase for 2015’s China: Through the Looking Glass theme as well as for Rihanna ’s Savage x Fenty debut runway presentation among other noteworthy works of art. According to Vogue, the artist moved to the U.S. in 1984.
Much of what he knows, he credits to 14 years of training under Robert Isabell, the legendary floral designer and event planner behind some of the most luxurious events for the rich and famous. “Everything. Everything I know, I do, the way I work, the way I interact with people – I learned it all from him,” he told Suitcase. In 2005, Raúl founded his own company, and since 2007 he’s been Anna’s right-hand man for the Met Gala’s ostentatious planning and production.
When asked about his favorite part of his job he told the online publication, “Freedom of expression. I love being able to bring my ideas to life in some of the world’s most amazing venues,” He continued, “There’s no limit to my imagination and there is no limit to my events. Anything is possible.”
After many years of being at the helm of the Met Ball’s party planning, the New York native retains fond memories of his first year. “My favorite was my first year designing and producing the event on my own,” he told Vogue in 2017 regarding his inaugural production, for which the exhibition and correlating theme was Poiret: King of Fashion. “I was really proud of my idea to outfit the Great Hall with an 18-foot-tall birdcage with live peacocks inside,” he added.
As for his Favorite outfit, Raúl said: “Rihanna in China: Through the Looking Glass. Iconic. Beautiful. Timeless.” We couldn’t agree more!