The Met Gala 2021

By: Sydney Joa, 11th Grade

The Met Gala, officially known as the Costume Institute Benefit, is a New York City-based fundraising event for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event, which took place this year on September 13th, is usually conducted on the first Monday in May but was postponed due to the pandemic. It attracts the world’s most well-known celebrities, industry leaders, and young creatives as one of the most prominent and distinguished events.

This year’s benefit, however, was ​​scaled-back with the number of guests being about a third lower than typical and the affair being more youth-focused. It was co-hosted by actor Timothée Chalamet, pop star Billie Eilish, poet Amanda Gorman, and tennis player Naomi Osaka. Furthermore, the occasion mostly exhibited the works of young designers.

Left to right: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, Naomi Osaka

But what exactly makes the Met Gala such an eminent event? As marketers competed for the finest stars and said stars compete for the most eye-catching looks, a vicious spiral of one-upmanship emerged. As a result, the Met far surpassed any other red carpet event – whether it is the Oscars, the MTV Music Awards, among many others – in terms of striking looks and making statements.

Part one of a two-part exhibition, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” took place this year, with the second half taking place on May 5th, 2022, with the theme “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” What does this year’s theme mean, though? It’s all about American Independence, artistic liberties with the country’s symbolism, American fashion, and political statements. 

Who attended the event? The gala’s invitation list is one of the fashion world’s best-kept secrets, with all participants hand-picked by Vogue’s editor-in-chief and event organizer, Anna Wintour, and revealed only on the night of the benefit. This year, there were about 400 attendees, ranging from A-list celebrities, government officials, sports athletes, and social media influencers. As for what actually happens after the red carpet, no one truly knows – except for those who attend, of course. The use of social media inside has been prohibited and thus it’s more of a secret among attendees.

Tickets cost $35,000 each, while tables cost between $200,000 and $300,000. However, while stars are the ones being invited, it’s fairly common for a brand to host them and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for tables at the event. Additionally, the designers that outfitted the stars may also be present.

Now, what are the most talked-about looks of the night? As for state-making, we saw Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with her “Tax the Rich” dress, Cara Delevingne’s “Peg the Patriarchy” vest, Carolyn Maloney with her “Equal Rights for Women” multicolored look, and Dan Levy’s suit proudly presenting queer love.

Left to right: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cara Delevingne, Carolyn Maloney, Dan Levy

Kim Kardashian wore an all-enveloping black costume that covered her face and body. Other iconic looks include those of Barbie Ferreria, Yara Shahidi, and Quannah Chasinghorse.

Left to right: Kim Kardashian, Barbie Ferreria, Yara Shahidi, Quannah Chasinghorse

Following the benefit, the stars changed into yet another eye-catching ensemble before heading out to a bevy of New York City’s most prestigious after-parties. While the formal attire adhered to the gala’s “In America” theme, the dress code was off for the rest of the boisterous evening.

However, not everyone was pleased with the attendance. People were eager to point out the absence of several well-known figures. Some including Beyoncé, Harry Styles, and Zendaya who have all attended the gala on many occasions and were noticeably absent this year, much to the dismay of their fans. Others also pointed out the presence of certain figures who they thought didn’t deserve to be invited, such as TikTok stars Addison Rae and Dixie D’Amelio. Furthermore, many chastised the attendees for not adhering to the night’s American Independence theme; only a few celebrities were credited for following it.

Regardless, it was still the most anticipated event on the annual fashion calendar, announcing the return of red-carpet glamor in all its glory. After over a year of isolation and lack of social events, celebrities and fans alike are certainly excited for the upcoming social functions.

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