Met Gala 2021: Theme, Hosts, Who's Attending and More

Vegan meals? TikTok influencers? Is this really the Met Gala? Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka and Amanda Gorman co-chair the 2021 Met Gala on Sept. 13, but with a few twists

Meet the new and improved Met Gala.

Famed for being fashion's biggest night, the annual Met Gala returns with a star-studded roster of hosts and invitees after being canceled last year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now that it's back, the event has been adjusted to reflect modern times.

Oscar nominee Timothe Chalamet, Grammy winner Billie Eilish, tennis star Naomi Osaka and poet Amanda Gorman are the official Met Gala co-chairs, with designer and director Tom Ford, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri and Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour serving as honorary chairs.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York called the Met Gala return a "more intimate" gathering per a press statement, making the most exclusive event of the year somehow even harder to get into. With rumblings of who will be invited--the usual slew of A-listers like Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian are expected, but so are new faces like TikTok sensation Addison Rae--the Met Gala seems to be aiming for a younger audience this year.

Stars' First Met Gala Appearances

Of course, fans can also look forward to the annual guessing game of which designers will have OMG moments on the red carpet.

The famous fashion-forward evening takes place on Monday, Sept. 13, to mark the opening of new exhibit "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" in the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Audiences can expect to tour a fictional American house, with each room featuring examples of 20th- and 21st-century fashion that reflects "the customs and behaviors of the imagined occupants" and focus on a different emotion, per the official release.

"Designs by pioneers of American sportswear will be displayed alongside works by a diverse group of contemporary designers," the press statement continued, "to illustrate a shifting emphasis in American fashion defined by feelings of fear, delight, comfort, anxiety, well-being, loneliness, happiness, belonging, self-reflection, and self-representation among other qualities."

So, what else do we know about the 2021 Met Gala so far? Let's just say there are plenty of shake-ups under way. See how the Met Gala is new and improved after a year away:

Love... not coronavirus... was in the air this time last year for the 2019 Met Gala. From Kim Kardashian and Kanye West to Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez and everyone in between, these Hollywood power pairs who left our jaws on the floor at the 2019 Met Gala. There may not be a 2020 Met Gala because of the pandemic, but we can look back on these couples who took our breaths away in 2019

Who's Hosting the 2021 Met Gala?

Get ready for the next generation of fashion stars. Oscar nominee and Internet boyfriend Timothée Chalamet will act as Met Gala co-chair, along with Grammy winner Billie Eilish, tennis pro Naomi Osaka and poet Amanda Gorman. 

"Each of the Met's four co-hosts embodies the defining factor of American style: individualism," Vogue stated in a May announcement, citing that each star has "developed a distinct visual language for their public personas, one that is informed by the legacy of iconic fashion made in the USA."

This under-30 round-up of influencers, ranging from sports to film to music and even literature, embodies the new push for a younger demographic and a reminder that the Met Gala is always relevant. We didn't need an "Ocean's 8" heist to tell us that.

Who's Invited?

Well, we can only make some educated guesses (BeyoncéKim KardashianJennifer LopezRihanna), but the Met Gala invite list is also rumored to be taking a cue from its co-chairs and leaning in to the Gen Z population. Per a jaw-dropping insider leak to Page Six on Aug. 14, influencers like TikTok star Addison Rae and YouTuber Emma Chamberlain are expected to grace the red carpet. However, Andy Cohen confirmed that he and his "date," BFF Sarah Jessica Parker are opting out of the event this year, while former chairs Tom Brady and Harry Styles also have prior commitments. Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL game schedule conflicts with the Sept. 13 Met Gala, and Styles will be performing at the Houston Toyota Center in Texas.

COVID-19 Precautions

Every guest will be required to be fully vaccinated and wear a mask indoors while attending the Met Gala, according to a spokesperson for the Met.

What is this year's dress code theme?

The official dress code this year is “American Independence,” which leaves plenty of wiggle room for interpretation. Vogue says expect everything "from flashy star-spangled outfits to classic gowns made by American designers."

What is the Met Costume Institute Exhibit and when does it open?

The Met Costume Institute's "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" series kicks off with "A Lexicon of Fashion," opening Sept. 18 at the Anna Wintour Costume Center and marking the Costume Institute's 75th anniversary. The exhibit will be constructed as a home, with each room set to a different emotive theme surrounding fashion. "Well-Being" is the title for the kitchen, and the living room is labelled "Trust." 

"Traditionally, American fashion has been described in terms of the American tenets of simplicity, practicality, and functionality," head curator Andrew Bolton told Vogue in May. "In part one we'll be reconsidering this perception by reestablishing a modern lexicon of fashion based on the emotional qualities of dress. 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. I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance."

The second installment of the exhibition, "An Anthology of Fashion," will open May 5, 2022. 

Met Gala Themes: Fashion Hits, Misses

What's On the Menu?

First fur-less, now meatless. 

Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelsson takes over the kitchen with a special plant-based menu, helmed by an international array of 10 elite chefs including Junghyun Park, Erik Ramirez, Nasim Alikhani, Emma Bengtsson and pastry chef Thomas Raquel.

The entirely vegan event is slated as a collaborative "summertime picnic" menu of canapés, entrées and desserts, as reported by Bon Appétit, with foodies able to follow the meal prep on Instagram Reels under hashtag #MetGalaChefs.

"We want to tell the world that we're back—New York City as a place to gather and celebrate is back," Samuelsson exclusively told the outlet. "We're telling both New Yorkers and outsiders that New York is open for business. [These chefs] represent what the food scene in New York today looks like, what the next generation of food looks like, tastes like, where it lives."

The push for veganism also fits with the Met Costume Institute exhibit, "In America: An Anthology of Fashion," to showcase "how food is changing in America," as Samuelsson explained. "We want to be the future of American food, of plant-based food. That conversation is happening now."

Watch "Live From E!: 2021 Met Gala" on Monday, Sept. 13 starting at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT, only on E!

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