What to expect at this year’s Met Gala

Photo credit: "Met Gala 2015" by eventphotosnyc is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

After last year’s cancellation and postponement in May, fashion’s “biggest night out” is back. Marking the end of New York Fashion Week, this year’s Met Gala will take place on Sept. 13 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, albeit in a smaller setting than usual.

In adherence with safety protocols, the Met Gala will require all attendees to wear face masks and provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

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Typically held on the first Monday in May, the Met Gala is an annual fundraising benefit for the Costume Institute at the Met. However, it is more commonly known as the night where attendees — ranging from superstars to public figures and more — show off their best red-carpet looks.

The theme for 2021, titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” will explore the history and evolution of American fashion. An exhibition of the same name will open at the Anna Wintour Costume Center on Sept. 18, a day that also marks the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary.

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Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, landed on the theme after examining the effects of the pandemic and social justice movements on American fashion.

“I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a Renaissance,” Bolton said.

Met Director Max Hollein added that the exhibit will feature both pioneers and diverse contemporary designers, a way “to illustrate the shifting tides of American fashion.”

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While American fashion is characterized as practical and functional, Bolton explained that American fashion has shifted more towards sentiment in the last year.

“Because of the pandemic, the connections to our homes have become more emotional, as have those to our clothes,” Hollein said.

Embodying this idea, the Anna Wintour Costume Center will be transformed into a house, where each room will embody a certain emotional quality (joy, nostalgia, etc.) and be occupied by an ancestor and related family.

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This first exhibit will be followed by a second in May 2022 titled “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” According to event organizers, this second part “will explore the development of American fashion by presenting narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of those spaces.”

Capturing the full scope of American achievement, the Met Gala will be co-hosted by pop star Billie Eilish, actor Timothée Chalamet, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and award-winning athlete Naomi Osaka. According to Vogue, the four were selected because they have “developed a distinct visual language for their public personae, one that is informed by the legacy of iconic fashion made in the USA.”

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Aside from the celebrity co-hosts, the full list of attendees has not been confirmed despite much speculation on social media. A viral seating chart for the event, now proven to be fake, featured social media personalities like Addison Rae and Emma Chamberlain seated at the same table as Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, sparking online criticism about influencers being invited to the high-profile event.

Whether or not internet stars will be among those walking the red carpet remains to be seen.

Featured image: “Met Gala 2015” by eventphotosnyc is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0