Met Gala 2021: Date, Co-Chairs, And American Fashion Theme
Photo: Vox

The Met Gala 2021 in New York is on – and while the date may have changed, you can guarantee it will still be one of the biggest events in the annual fashion calendar. GRACE COOK gives the lowdown on everything you need to know, from the Met Gala 2021 date and theme to newly announced co-chairs Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka and Amanda Gorman…

What is the Met Gala?

The Met Gala is a fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. It's organized by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, and typically is timed to coincide with the opening of the museum's annual fashion exhibition. Many top Hollywood stars, fashion moguls and creatives flock to the event each year, which kicks off with a high-profile red carpet arrival. Past Met Galas have given us iconic looks like Princess Diana's 1996 navy Dior slip dress and Rihanna's 2015 Guo Pei yellow gown with a massive train.

Met Gala 2021: Date, Co-Chairs, And American Fashion Theme
Photo: Pinterest

Each year, attendees base their outfits on the exhibit's theme. In 2019, for instance, the Met Gala theme was "Camp: Notes on Fashion," which surrounded the idea of "love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration," Vogue reported. Guests dressed in everything from a chandelier to feathers and wings. In 2018, the theme was "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." Invitees donned veils, capes and even nativity scene headpieces. Needless to say, the themes are very much open to interpretation.

When will this year's event take place?

Due to the pandemic, we are no longer strangers to digital award ceremonies, and celebrities have risen to the challenge of getting red-carpet ready for an at-home event – just Google Rosamund Pike looking like candied confectionery in British designer Molly Goddard’s tulle tutu dress for the Golden Globes in March 2021. But the nature of the Met Gala is in its physical form, and it’s now been confirmed that this year’s event will take place on September 13 – as opposed to the traditional first Monday in May – marking the end of New York Fashion Week, which means it’s likely the ball will be one of the first red-carpet extravaganzas of the year. Get excited for a return to those Instagrammable behind-the-scenes moments and the true fashion spectacle to come.

Who are the main chairs?

It'll be co-chaired by Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, Naomi Osaka and Timothée Chalamet. Though a smaller affair, you can still expect to catch some epic ensembles (Eilish, for one, is no stranger to making a fashion statement). But, Vogue says, "due to pandemic guidelines, the celebrity-studded red carpet will be a smaller affair than usual."

Met Gala 2021: Date, Co-Chairs, And American Fashion Theme
Photo: HIGHXTAR

Part two of the exhibit, called "In America: An Anthology of Fashion," opens May 5, 2022. This'll focus on fashion inclusivity and will take place in the period rooms of the museum's American Wing. Each room will include cinematic scenes by American film directors that portray a different history of American fashion.

"Key themes will include the emergence of an identifiable American style and the rise of the named designer with an individual aesthetic vision," Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, told Vogue.

There'll be a second Met Gala on May 2, 2022, to celebrate the opening of the second part of the exhibit.

What is the theme?

The theme for the exhibition, which will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Costume Institute, is American fashion – to be explored in two instalments. On the choice of theme, Max Hollein, the Marina Kellen French Director of the Met, commented, “Fashion is both a harbinger of cultural shifts and a record of the forces, beliefs and events that shape our lives… In looking at the past through this lens, we can consider the aesthetic and cultural impact of fashion on historical aspects of American life.” And, if you were in any doubt that the biggest event in the fashion calendar had lost any of its star power after a year’s hiatus, think again.

The recent announcement that Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka and Amanda Gorman – luminaries leading the charge across American cinema, music, sports and culture – have been announced as co-hosts for this year’s event confirms that the 2021 extravaganza is set to be the most dazzling yet. As sartorial pioneers and masters in their fields, this panel has been perfectly selected to kick off part one of the exhibition “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” which will serve as a deep dive into the sense of ingenuity that defines American fashion. Elsewhere, titans of fashion and technology Anna Wintour, Tom Ford and head of Instagram Adam Mosseri will serve as honorary chairs for this year’s Gala, completing the all-star line-up.

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