The 2021 Met Gala is set to occur as a smaller, more intimate affair on September 13th. It will celebrate the Costume Institute’s two-part exhibition to be presented over the course of 2021 and 2022, in two areas of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Part one, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” will open in the Anna Wintour Costume Center on September 18, 2021, and will remain on display when “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” opens on May 5, 2022, in the period rooms of the American Wing. (Both shows will run through September 5, 2022.)
This year’s theme will celebrate the best of American fashion, and marks the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary. Before the Met Gala makes its grand return in September, however—it was postponed last year due to COVID-19—the world will be eagerly waiting to see what the celebrity guests will be wearing on the red carpet, so it’s worth refreshing your memory on all the pertinent details before the red carpet is rolled out.
The Met Ball or Met Gala is the fashion world equivalent of the Oscars, an evening when designers, models, and Hollywood stars convene in the year’s most over-the-top looks. It’s a long-standing event that Vogue icon André Leon Talley knows well. ALT (as he is known) has been a fixture at the fete since 1974, and so who better to turn to for a primer on the storied grand affair?
Below, ALT sounds off on the evening’s origins, the best Met Gala dress to date, and everything else you need to know about fashion’s biggest night.
What is the Met Gala?
ALT: The Met Gala is the Super Bowl of fashion. On the first Monday in May, everyone who is anyone comes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the annual fundraising gala celebrating the Costume Institute’s magnificent new exhibition on a changing theme. It all started in 1946, and over the decades, it has become a grand affair—the party of the year. The one other constant is the red carpet fashion. There is nothing quite like it, and it is vital and exciting to be a part of that.
Who gets invited to the Met Gala?
The world’s best achievers in all the spheres of music, film, Broadway, and fashion, as well as simple supernova personalities. The list changes each year. My favorite guest was Diana Ross, also in a full-length dress of exotic feathers. Which bird was it, I am not sure: guinea hen, turkey, or some exotic bird. It was strapless and full-skirted.
What is the dress code for the Met Gala?
Who had the best Met Gala red carpet dress of all time?
Do you have a favorite Met Gala memory from over the years?
My favorite memory is when Cher joined the gospel choir from a local church in Harlem one year when the Met was held in December. And also, I was there when she descended the escalator in her brilliant Bob Mackie sequin see-through jumpsuit, way ahead of her time, in 1974.
See Every Met Gala Look From the Last Decade Below: