Return of the Met: Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala 2021

Devin Toolen, Staff Writer

The First Monday in May is one of the most important days of the year in the fashion world.  On that night each year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens its doors to the most elite celebrities, designers and distinguished guests to introduce the new costume exhibit. Along with being a fashion event of incredible importance, the Met Gala is one of the most exclusive gatherings. The Gala is invite-only. One must be 18 or older to attend, and absolutely no photos are allowed inside (although we’ve all seen those iconic bathroom pictures).

Last year, due to the pandemic, the Met Gala unfortunately was canceled. However, now that vaccines are being administered more frequently and restrictions are beginning to lift in the United States, the Gala will take place in September of 2021. This breaks from the tradition of having the Gala on the first Monday in May. However, there will be an additional Gala in May of 2022.  

The theme for both the September and May Galas will be American Fashion. The September exhibit, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” will open on Sept. 18 and will remain on display even after the May exhibit, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” opens. Both shows will run until Sept. 5, 2022.

This year’s theme has been received differently. Some high fashion bloggers, stylists and designers are excited to take on this theme and present their interpretation of it at the Gala. However, some people have not received the theme quite as positively. On the day that the dual Galas were announced, people took to Twitter expressing their disdain with the idea. People thought that American fashion would be too boring for something as important as the Met Gala. However, Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge of the Costume Institute at the Met, has given reason as to why there is no better time for this theme.

“The main [reason] was the fact that the American fashion community has been supporting us for 75 years, really since the beginning of the Costume Institute, so I wanted to acknowledge its support, and also celebrate and reflect upon American fashion,” Bolton said in a recent interview with Vogue Magazine. 

Another reason for this theme Bolton described in his interview is the changing nature of the fashion industry. In particular, Bolton has noticed the industry’s participation in and consideration of political and social justice movements, as well as its response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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

So, what looks will be modeled up the iconic carpeted steps on Fifth Avenue this September and next May? A lot of fashion influencers, TikTokers and bloggers have been sharing their opinions about what to expect from this theme. One fashion influencer known as @FashionBoyy on TikTok is excited to see American designers’ influence within luxury houses for which they have previously worked. In a video this influencer posted about the Gala, he mentioned how American designer Marc Jacobs revolutionized Louis Vuitton when he was the artistic director there for several years. Similarly, when another American designer Tom Ford spent time at Gucci, he gave the fashion house a new, more risqué presence in the early 2000s. These designers, along with so many others, will work to produce their best interpretations of this year’s theme.

Over the past years, we’ve seen amazing costume exhibits at the Met, and this year will definitely not disappoint. Both Galas will serve as a powerful reintroduction for the fashion industry after more than a year in lockdown. With A-list celebrities sporting their most elegant and elaborate pieces, and a beautiful and captivating costume exhibit just inside the doors, the Met Galas will be sure to amaze us this fall and next spring.