The Met gala is back! Typically held annually on the first Monday in May, fashion’s biggest night of the year—it’s the Super Bowl of fashion!—will return in September as a smaller, more intimate affair. (The soirée was canceled last year, and postponed to a later date this year, due to COVID-19.) While it may look a little different this year, there will still be a red carpet in September filled with fabulous fashions and celebrity sightings.
So, ahead of the big bash, here are all the details we know about the event thus far—including what the theme is, who’s cochairing it, what the Costume Institute exhibit will entail, and what we can expect to see on the step and repeat.
The Met ball, or Met gala, is the fashion world equivalent of the Oscars. It’s an evening when designers, models, and Hollywood stars convene in the year’s most over-the-top looks to celebrate and fundraise at a new exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Typically, everyone dresses to the theme, and according to the feel, of the exhibit; past themes have included camp, religion, punk, and more.
The 2021 Met gala will be held as an intimate gala on September 13, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The 2021 Met gala is focused on celebrating all things American fashion. Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, felt it was time to reexamine American identity and fashion, especially as it has changed over the last several years due to both political and social justice movements. “I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ responses to the social and political climate, particularly around issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity, and I’m just finding their work very, very self-reflective,” he told Vogue. “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance. I think young designers in particular are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”
The Costume Institute will actually present a two-part 2021 exhibit, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” and “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.”
Part one of the exhibition, “A Lexicon of Fashion,” will open on September 18 at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met, marking the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary. The exhibit will be organized to resemble a home, with intersecting walls and rooms that will establish what Bolton calls “a new vocabulary that’s more relevant and more reflective of the times in which we’re living.” Pieces from Christopher John Rogers, Sterling Ruby, Conner Ives, Prabal Gurung, and Andre Walker will be featured in part one of the exhibition.
Part two, “An Anthology of Fashion,” will open on May 5, 2022, in the period rooms of the museum’s American Wing. Bolton and the museum’s curatorial team will work with American film directors to create cinematic scenes within each room that depict a different history of American fashion. (A second Met gala will also take place on May 2, 2022, to mark the opening of “An Anthology of Fashion.”)
Every year, the Met gala has a number of cochairs who help host the event. For the 2021 Met gala, Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka will cochair the affair, while Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour will serve as the honorary chairs.
Yes! While it’s a more intimate affair this year, to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, there will still be a step and repeat happening on the iconic Met steps. Get ready to take in all of the bold, outré ensembles.
Yes. American Independence is the official dress code listed on the invitation for the 2021 Met gala. Expect this to be translated in more ways than one, though—from flashy star-spangled outfits to classic gowns made by American designers. With the Met gala, the number one rule is to always expect the unexpected.
Part of the fun of the Met gala is not knowing who will show up! Designers typically invite the buzziest celebrities of the moment as their guests, so you can expect some big Hollywood names on the carpet.