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The 2021 Met Gala is upon us. Here’s everything to know about the fashion event

A woman in a feathery purple dress poses with a woman in a feathery orange dress
Influencer sisters Kylie, left, and Kendall Jenner attend the 2019 Met Gala in New York City.
(Neilson Barnard / Getty Images)

After last year’s fashion spectacular was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Met Gala has officially returned to New York City.

Hosted, as always, by longtime Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour, this year’s stylish soiree is certain to feature an array of fabulous looks served by celebrity guests — who’ve ranged in the past from Rihanna to assorted Kardashians.

Per tradition, the red-carpet extravaganza will raise awareness and funds for the latest exhibit curated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

The last Met Gala theme, 2019’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” saw the posh party’s esteemed guests model a slew of cheesy, over-the-top fashion don’ts created by the world’s top designers.

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At face value, this week’s style prompt is slightly more serious — though, by design, there’s always ample room for interpretation. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect at Monday’s runway show.

You would be forgiven if you had mistaken Elle Fanning for Lady Gaga, Mindy Kaling for Donatella Versace or Priyanka Chopra for Effie Trinket while watching the celebrity arrivals at the 2019 Met Gala.

What time is the show and where can I watch it?

A person in a hooded cloak presenting a woman in a billowing blue dress with a magic wand
Actor Zendaya, right, arrives at the 2019 Met Gala.
(Karwai Tang / Getty Images)

The 2021 Met Gala will take place Monday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Starting at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time, a livestream of the event will be available on the Vogue website and Twitter account.

Who are the co-chairs?

A woman with green and black hair raises a hand with long black nails to her face.
Billie Eilish arrives at the 2020 Oscars in Los Angeles.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

A panel of Gen Z superstars has been tapped to oversee this year’s ball.

Oscar-nominated actor Timothée Chalamet, Grammy-winning singer Billie Eilish, Japanese tennis champion Naomi Osaka and Biden inaugural poet Amanda Gorman will serve as co-chairs of the event. In May, 19-year-old Eilish became the youngest person ever tapped to co-chair the Met Gala.

Famed designer Tom Ford and head of Instagram Adam Mosseri have been named honorary chairs alongside Wintour.

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Who’s on the guest list?

A woman with long, braided hair posing in an off-the-shoulder feathered black dress.
Actor Keke Palmer will co-host the 2021 Met Gala livestream for Vogue.
(Invision)

As usual, the Met Gala guest list is being kept under lock and key until the glamorous invitees debut their couture creations the night of the event.

Typically, the star-studded red carpet is populated with the world’s hottest models, Hollywood A-listers and social media influencers.

Aside from the co-chairs, at least two celebrities guaranteed to be in attendance are actors Keke Palmer and Ilana Glazer, appointed by Vogue to interview their famous peers for the red-carpet livestream.

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What’s the theme?

A man with braided hair and a beard posing in a black and gold suit
Colin Kaepernick attends the 2019 Met Gala.
(Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images)

The dress code for this year’s style-palooza is “American Independence,” so you can expect the night’s attendees to display — through clothing — what patriotism means to them.

“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,” Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu curator in charge of the Costume Institute, told Vogue.

“I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance,” Bolton added. “I think young designers in particular are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”

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Previous Met Gala themes have taken inspiration from a wide range of style movements, including punk, technology, the heavens and Catholicism.

And the exhibit?

Oh, right. The exhibit. This year’s fashion display will be divided into two parts: “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” and “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.”

Opening Sept. 18 at the Met’s Anna Wintour Costume Center, “A Lexicon of Fashion” will celebrate 75 years of the Costume Institute, which has designed the exhibit to look like a home — complete with interconnected rooms through which visitors can walk.

Works by Christopher John Rogers, Sterling Ruby, Conner Ives, Prabal Gurung and Andre Walker will be showcased in the first half of the exhibit.

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Debuting May 5 in the Met’s American Wing, “An Anthology of Fashion” will have a more cinematic feel, influenced by American filmmakers to illustrate a timeline of style throughout United States history.


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