Met Gala 2021 Recap: Pros and Nos

Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (NY-D) poses with designer Aurora James in a provocative gown calling to tax the rich.

The Met Gala arrived fashionably late this year. On Sept. 13, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute held its annual fundraiser four months later than its usual first Monday in May date. 

This is one of the most anticipated events for fashion every year. Due to Covid, the 2020 fundraiser was cancelled, so more people were looking forward to seeing what styles would be shown during this year’s theme “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.”

While many people are only excited to see what their favorite celebrities will be wearing during the event, not many people know the history behind the Met Gala, and most are not sure what happens after the red carpet.

The Met Gala was created in 1948 by Eleanor Lambert. Before creating one of the most recognized events in the world, Lambert created two more things that we still see today: New York fashion week and the concept of the best-dressed list.

Lambert had sent invitations to the rich, famous, and fashionable people that she knew stating that this was the “party of the year.”


During Lambert’s run of the Met Gala, the event was held in different locations across New York. At the event, the attendees would have a midnight supper.

The next to take over the Met Gala was Diana Vreeland. Vreeland was the editor-in-chief at American Vogue, and after her time at the magazine, she started at the Costume Institute. 

Vreeland created more of the idea of the Met Gala that we have today. Vreeland was the one who moved the event into the museum itself. However, the one who made the event that we know today is Anna Wintour.

Wintour took over in 1995 after Pat Buckley left. One of Wintour’s first changes to the event was switching it from December to May. The Met Gala also now included live performances for the guests.

There is more than just performances and a red carpet at the Met Gala. For those who attend, after walking the red carpet, they are able to have the first look at the new exhibit in the Metropolitan Museum. After viewing the exhibit, the guests are served dinner, and then they are giving entertainment from some of the biggest names in music. This includes performances from Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Madonna and Lady Gaga.

In order to attend the event, tickets are sold at $35,000 for a single seat, or there are tables available from $200,000 to $300,000. What typically happens is that brands will buy tables and invite celebrities to the event, so the celebrity attends for free. 

Even if one is able to buy a ticket or table for the event, Wintour has the final say in who attends. Not only does she have say in who attends, but she also has to approve the outfit before the event. 

This year’s theme, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” had more young celebrities attending than before. While this may be due to the younger hosts of the event, Amanda Gorman, Timothée Chalamet, Naomi Osaka and Billie Eilish, it also had to do with the fact that there were more young designers at the Met Gala this year. 

From western, to punk, to glamor, each celebrity embodied a different version of what they consider the theme to mean. One notable look from the night was from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York’s 14th District representative. 

Ocasio-Cortez wore a white dress created by designer Aurora James. The dress had red letters on the back that stated, “tax the rich.” 

Although creating controversy, this is just one look that will be remembered. Another look that many questioned was from Kim Kardashian. 

Kardashian showed up to the Met Gala wearing an all-black Balenciaga outfit that covered everything except her hair. The designer, Demna Gvasalia, was beside Kardashian during the red carpet in a similar outfit.


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