The annual Vogue magazine corporate promotion party… oh, sorry, the Metropolitan Museum’s annual Party of the Year for its Costume Institute… was held last night and inspired the usual outpouring of uncritical praise from press folk who probably did not pay the $15,000-per-plate price of admission. Once the exclusive social event of the year, the party is now a paparazzi photo-op for movie and TV stars, a fashion marketing vehicle and a staging ground for six months of features for Vogue. Once the exclusive province of society demi-Goddeses like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Marella Agnella, Babe Paley and Pat Buckley, it now belongs to Sarah Jessica Parker and Oprah Winfrey (above), Eva Mendes, Nicole Ritchie, Taylor Swift, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller and Jude Law, Emma Watson, Katy Perry, Zoe Kravitz, Bar Rafaeli and, well, you get the picture, and if you don’t rest assured you will as US Weekly, In Touch and Star recycle them over coming months. Society? Well, Mayor Mike and Barbara Walters were at the table of museum machers Annette and Oscar de la Renta, Wendi Murdoch wore a dress hand-picked for her by La Wintour herself, marking her ascension to a place no Murdoch has wanted to go before, and Cathy Horyn of the New York Times assures readers today that “various members of the [Vogue-owning] Newhouse family” were also present and accounted for. But the most telling bit of coverage, also in the Times, comes from Suzy Menkes, who reviews the fashion show that is allegedly the reason for all the celebration. “The dulcet tones of Sarah Jessica Parker on the audio guide make history palatable,” she assures, but adds, “What is missing from the exhibition are fashion crosscurrents to link past and present… an Oscar de la Renta gown to fit with the new money heiresses in their Worth gowns; a current Asian-American designer beside Anna May Wong’s dress; a Ralph Lauren chemise to challenge the flappers; and the troubling beauty of Rodarte among the Bohemians. And why not show the casual ease of Michael Kors or, indeed, jeans and T-shirts from the Gap, to project how sportswear became America’s dominant fashion force? ” Yes, indeed. Why not just be honest and admit that the great art museum’s most famous night is now nothing more than an sales promotion exercise for one magazine, a few fashion designers and the infotainment business?