Finally, the Met Gala has returned after the cancellation of the event in 2020. Following on from the extraordinary theme of ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’ in 2019, this year’s event was held back at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with the vague theme of ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’, inviting attendees to explore American independence, which led to a wide range of interpretations and fashion surprises due to the free theme.
What is the Met Gala?
If you don’t know what the Met Gala is, this is what you need to know…
The Met Gala is essentially the equivalent of Oscars for the fashion world. It’s a fundraising evening held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute where designers, celebrities, and models from across the world celebrate and raise money whilst dressed up to a lavish theme. This year’s event was organised by Anna Wintour, and was co-chaired by Billie Eilish, Timothée Chalamet, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman.
As mentioned above, this year’s Met Gala theme was ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’, which prompted guests to think about America as a whole and consider American independence. Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in charge of the Costume Institute, decided it was time to redefine American identity and fashion and take into account the political and social justice movements that have taken place over the past few years especially.
“I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ take on the political and social climate, particularly around body inclusivity and gender fluidity issues...I really do believe American fashion is undergoing a renaissance. I think young designers are at the forefront of discussions about inclusion and diversity, as well as sustainability and transparency.”
Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in charge of the Costume Institute
The Costume Institute also announced that this theme is part of a two-part Met Gala theme for 2021 and 2022, with the theme for 2022’s gala to be ‘In America: An Anthology of Fashion’, which is set to happen in May 2022.
At first glance, the red carpet looks were as extravagant and star-studded as expected, including a mix of weird and wonderful looks amongst the celebrities. Some takes on the theme were subtle, whereas others were more audacious. Politics did make a bold appearance this year, with outfits that spoke to, and about, gender inequality and income - even offered some solutions.
Some celebs took the American theme literally. Billie Eilish channeled her inner Marylin Monroe with an Oscar de la Renta number (L), Gigi Hadid was giving major Jessica Rabbit vibes in her Prada dress (M), and Debbie Harry was patriotic by incorporating the America flag into her Zac Posen designed dress.
Images: The Guardian
Several guests opted for a political fashion statement. Carolyn Bosher Maloney was one of the first attendees to display a political message. She wore a multicoloured assemble that paid tribute to women’s rights, with the message ‘equal rights for women’ painted down her gown (L). Cara Delevingne’s outfit consisted of a white bulletproof vest with the statement ‘peg the patriarchy’, she said ‘if someone doesn’t know what it means, you’ll have to look it up... it’s about women empowerment and gender equality’ (M). Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez wore a white dress by Brother Vellies, with a bright message saying ‘tax the rich’ on the back (R). A clever statement that hit a delicate point amongst the wealthiest of America at the gala; if you weren’t on the guest list, a ticket would have robbed you of $30,000.
Images: Harper’s Bazaar
A common theme amongst attendees that requires less of an explanation was a western/cowboy aesthetic. Leon Bridges (L) in Bode, Jennifer Lopez (M) in Ralph Lauren, and Helen Lasichanh and Pharrell Williams (R) in Chanel.
Images: The Cut
Where there COVID-19 protocols?
Even though the majority of restrictions have been lifted, the health and safety of all attendees and staff working the gala were top priority. All guests had to show evidence of full vaccination, a negative PCR test result, and wear a proper face covering when indoors, except when drinking and eating.
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