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Met Gala 2021: Best fashion from the red carpet

Met Gala 2021: Best fashion from the red carpet

Fashion's biggest night out

Text: Kelly Lim

Image: Getty Images

The annual evening of fashion and fundraising may look a little different this year, but expect plenty of red carpet sightings filled with the biggest designers and stars

It may not be the first Monday of May, but guess what? The Met Gala is back! After last year's cancellations due to the pandemic, fashion's biggest night of the year returns today as a smaller, more intimate affair to introduce, for the first time, a two-part exhibit under the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. Ahead, we detail everything you need to know about the upcoming event, from the theme to co-chairs and how to watch—scroll to the end for all the best over-the-top looks: 

What is the Met Gala? 

AKA "the party of the year", the Met Gala, or Met ball, is an annual gala night to celebrate and raise funds at a new exhibit by the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art's Costume Institute. Since its establishment in 1984 by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert––who also established New York Fashion Week––the evening has become one of the most talked-about events of the year, with the world's biggest stars and industry players attending in their finest attire. Corresponding to the exhibition on display, a theme is also set each year for everyone to dress up to. 

READ: The Met Gala: A visual history of the many, memorable themes


What is this year's theme?

Fresh off the physical revival of New York Fashion Week, this year's theme for the Met Gala is all about American fashion. In an interview with Vogue, head curator Andrew Bolton said that it was time to reexamine American identity and fashion, especially within recent contexts of changing social and political climates, and conversations around issues of equity, diversity and inclusivity. "I think that emphasis on conscious creativity was really consolidated during the pandemic and the social justice movements," he said. "And 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. I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a Renaissance."

This year's Met Gala will coincide with part one of the exhibition, titled 'In America: A Lexicon of Fashion', which is opening on September 18 at the Anna Wintour Costume Centre at the Met in celebration of the Costume Institute's 75th anniversary; while part two, 'An Anthology of Fashion' will debut on May 5, 2022 alongside the Met Gala 2022 just three days before.

The exhibit for 'In America: A Lexicon of Fashion' will feature pieces from American designers like Christopher John Rogers, Prabal Gurung and Sterling Ruby; and organised to establish "a new vocabulary that's more relevant and more reflective of the times we're living in," Bolton said. Part two, on the other hand, will be held in the period rooms of the museum's American wing and will debut a more cinematic experience in collaboration with American film directors to depict the history of the country's fashion. Both exhibitions will run through September 2022. 

Below, click through to see some of the runway looks, from big names and emerging designers, that will be on display at 'In America: A Lexicon of Fashion': 

Who is this year's co-chairs?

Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka will co-chair the affair, while Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour will serve as the honorary chairs.

Is there a formal dress code? 

Yes! The official dress code is American Independence. While we can expect this to be expressed in more ways than one by American designers, there are always a few celebrities who show up off-theme. Whatever we'll see, it's bound to be unexpected. 

Who's invited this year? 

A few weeks ago, a fake Met Gala seating chart went viral on the internet for its inclusion of several TikTok influencers, but all things considered, it wouldn't be too farfetched to say that some of these new online personalities could be in attendance for 2021. Designers typically invite the buzziest names of the moment, and over on Twitterland, rumours are flying that Blackpink's Rosé is set to take the red carpet as the first female K-pop artist. The musician was spotted in New York City over the weekend leaving a Saint Laurent fitting.

Sadly celebrities who won't be gracing the red carpet this year include Zendaya and Dua Lipa who are both on set filming the second season of Euphoria and Matthew Vaughn's spy thriller Argylle, respectively. Nicki Minaj won't be attending either as she isn't vaccinated yet (The Met requires all required to be fully vaccinated) and yesterday, Kylie Jenner shared on Instagram that she'll be skipping this year (her and Travis Scott are expecting another baby!). 

Where can I watch it? 

For the first time ever, Vogue will be broadcasting an official livestream of the event on September 14 at 5.30 am, Malaysia Time via this link here. Actors Keke Palmer and Ilana Glazer will be hosting the livestream and providing real-time access and interviews on the iconic Met Gala steps.

Red carpet highlights:

Stay tuned for more updates.