(Style)

The Inspirational Meaning Behind The 2021 Met Gala Theme

The event will be in two parts.

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Rihanna arrives for the 2018 Met Gala on May 7, 2018, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York....

Fashion’s biggest party is back on. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Costume Institute Benefit to roll up the red carpet and pack it away in storage last year, the 2021 Met Gala is back and happening in two parts. The first gala will take place on Sep. 13, 2021, and the second on May 5, 2022. As is tradition, both events will coincide with exhibitions for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The first exhibit, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” will open to the public on Sep. 8 in the Anna Wintour Costume Center, and the second collection, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” will run on May 5 in the American Wing of the museum.

In an interview with Vogue, Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, shed some light on the event’s theme. “I think that the emphasis on conscious creativity was really consolidated during the pandemic and the 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,” said Bolton. “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a Renaissance. I think young designers are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency.”

Ahead, you’ll find all the details released, so far, about the upcoming events. While you await the return of fashion night’s equivalent to the Super Bowl, peruse through previous Met Gala looks in preparation. Plus, stay tuned as this post will be updated with more information as it comes.

2021 Met Gala Details: Theme

Unlike last year’s solely virtual event (remember the #MetGalaChallenge on Instagram?), the upcoming Met Gala events and exhibitions will be immersive, in-person experiences. Bolton revealed the Anna Wintour Costume Center will be transformed into an imaginary house with each room depicting a specific emotion and featuring iconic pieces from America’s fashion history. “So for the porch, which is warmth, the idea would be to have perhaps Bonnie Cashin’s blanket coat that we pair with André Walker’s coat made from Hudson Bay blankets,” said Bolton. “In the garden, which is joy, the idea is to have a Mainbocher printed floral dress with the Oscar de la Renta dress that Taylor Swift wore to the Grammys.”

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2021 Met Gala Details: The First Event

The first part of the exhibition represents a “modern vocabulary of American style” and the “deeper associations with issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion,” reads the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website. This event will consist of the traditional red carpet showing from celebrities and, pending COVID-19 guidelines, a smaller after-party. The September event coincides with what will hopefully be an IRL New York Fashion Week (fingers crossed).

2021 Met Gala Details: The Second Event

“An Anthology of Fashion” will center around the question, “Who gets to be American?” and will explore impactful moments from fashion history. In addition, the second dose of the America-inspired Met Gala will honor marginalized designers and historical icons through explorations of race and gender. “I think that in the past a lot of descriptions about American fashion focused on the fact that it’s non-narrative and it’s not about stories, and that’s diminishing the emotional side of American fashion,” Bolton shared with Vogue. Through the exhibition’s design and the American designers featured, the second event will provide opportunities for those often silenced in the public discourse of fashion to complete their interrupted stories. To Bolton, fashion is “a living art form, an emotional art form,” and the aim of the exhibition is to give “American fashion its due, to give back its storytelling abilities.”

2021 Met Gala Details: Hosts & Chairs

According to Page Six, Amanda Gorman, the national youth poet laureate from President Biden’s inauguration, will be one of the co-hosts for the event. Gorman is a style icon in her own right and given her momentum this year — she is Vogue’s May cover star — the 23 year old is a fitting choice as hostess for a night that honors American fashion. Joining Gorman as co-chairs are actor and Gen-Z heartthrob Timothée Chalamet, musician Billie Eilish (whose British Vogue cover dropped this week), and tennis legend and newly minted swimwear designer Naomi Osaka. Vogue reports that designer Tom Ford and Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri will serve as the evening’s honorary chairs alongside Anna Wintour.

(Editor's note: This piece was updated at 12:10 p.m. EST on May 3, 2021 to include updates on the event’s co-hosts and chairs.)

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