Bankman-Fried had 'no idea' what was going on at Met Gala

Bankman-Fried had 'no idea' what was going on at Met Gala

His crypto billionaire uniform was a faded T-shirt and baggy cargo shorts, and his attire as a alleged crypto criminal is an ill-fitting suit.

In his reign as a Cryptowunderkind, when celebrities, magazines, and former leaders of the free world courted him every step of the way, not even the queen of fashion and editor of Vogue, Anna Wintour, could resist someone with no concern for his clothing. Bankman-Fried blew her away, saying he had no idea what was going on.

In an excerpt of his new chronicle of Bankman-Fried's rise and fall, Michael Lewis, who has published hits like The Big Short and Moneyball, details how Bankman-Fried entertained Wintour's invitation to the Met Gala, which is arguably the most watched fashion event of the year, only to, like so many of his commitments, not show up.

On Valentine's Day in 2022, while on a tour in Los Angeles and meal after meal with celebrities like Shaquille Os largest cryptocurrency exchanges before it suddenly went bankrupt nearly a year ago, he nodded along with repeated 'yups as Wintour spoke over Zoom, but most of the time, he played his favorite video game, Storybook Brawl.

Given the impression that Bankman-Fried's distracted nods were a yes to her invitation and offers for a sponsorship, Wintour 'warmly' ended the conversation. The cofounder of FTX, Mr. Smith, was unconvinced.

But Bankman-Fried's team, though, planned as if he were going to the fashion event of the year, looking out Louis Vuitton to see whether it was possible to design a couture version of Bankman-Fried's T-shirt-and-cargo-pants uniform and paying Tom Ford to design an outfit replete with $65,000 cufflinks.

Bankman-Fried backed out of the gala, but as opposed to the polite notes of understanding from the many other celebrities he's bailed on, Wintour's team was outraged. The former head of public relations at FTX told the New York Daily News that he was told he was no longer involved with the company.

Vogue publisher Condé Nast's spokeswoman, Elizabeth Lewis, said Lewis's story was 'not accurate' without elaborating.

The account of Bankman-Fried's brief flirtation with the rarefied echelons of fashion is just one of many previously unreported anecdotes that come out of Lewis's highly anticipated book, Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon.

Other items include Bankman-Fried's musings of whether to pay former president Donald Trump billions to bow out of the 2024 presidential race and the previously unreported sums the FTX cofounder pledged to Tom Brady, a former NFL quarterback and Gisele Bündchen, a model and Brady's ex-wife, for 'partnering' with the crypto exchange.

Going Infinite is set to be released Tuesday, the day that Bankman-Fried's trial is scheduled to begin. Oral arguments will begin the following day in what is certain to be one of the most highly covered white-collar criminal cases of the decade.

update, Oct. 3, 2023: Added in statement from Vogue disputing Lewis's account.