Fashion and Beauty

In Photos: What stars wore at 'surreal' Met Gala 2021

Maggy Donaldson - Agence France-Presse
In Photos: What stars wore at 'surreal' Met Gala 2021
US socialite Kim Kardashian arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York. This year's Met Gala has a distinctively youthful imprint, hosted by singer Billie Eilish, actor Timothee Chalamet, poet Amanda Gorman and tennis star Naomi Osaka, none of them older than 25. The 2021 theme is "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion."
AFP/Angela Weiss

NEW YORK — New York is done with dressing down: the splashy black-tie Met Gala returned Monday, with a cohort of Gen-Z's glitterati hosting the A-lister bash famed around the world for its over-the-top panache -- and, despite the pandemic, this year the fashion was so fierce one guest wielded a sword.

The crowd of some 400 actors, athletes, poets and performers -- all of whom were either vaccinated or had tested negative for COVID-19 -- was largely maskless, defying the global coronavirus pandemic that forced the cancellation of last year's event. 

"It's so surreal," US rapper Megan Thee Stallion, attending the Gala for the first time and dressed by designer Coach to evoke old Hollywood glamor, told AFP.

"I feel like, oh my gosh, Houston, Texas we made it! ... I'm excited to be here."


From left: Megan Fox, Donatella Versace and Maluma
Getty Images North America/AFP/Dimitrios Kambouris, Theo Wargo
From left: Jeremy Scott and Irina Shayk; Hillary Taymour and Kim Petras
Getty Images North America/AFP/Theo Wargo, Mike Coppola


But she did admit that it was "kinda weird" to be around so many people, more than 18 months into the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I've kinda gotten used to being a little introvert like -- but I'm back on side so I'm excited to see everybody," she said. 

Canadian musician Grimes, who was one of the few wearing a face mask, set Twitter alight by carrying a sword -- perhaps to, as one user suggested, "make sure people stay 6 ft away."


From left: Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez
Getty Images North America/AFP/Angela Weiss, Dimitrios Kambouris
From left: Iman, ASAP Rocky and Rihanna
Getty Images North America/AFP/Mike Coppola, Dimitrios Kambouris


US lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added to the revolutionary spirit with a white off-shoulder dress, on the back of which was written in scarlet capital letters: "Tax the rich" -- an inflammatory statement at an event where tickets cost $35,000 apiece and tables were up to $300,000.

Singer Normani said her yellow Valentino gown "chose me."

"I feel like a princes... sorry I'm breathing heavy, my waist is snatched," she said. "I feel like... amazing. A Black queen."


From left: Co-chair Timothée Chalamet, Gigi Hadid
Getty Images North America/AFP/Mike Coppola, Angela Weiss
From left: Rita Ora, Lily-Rose Depp
Getty Images North America/AFP/Angela Weiss, Dimitrios Kambouris
From left: Camila Cabello, Lili Reinhart
AFP/Angela Weiss, AFP/Getty Images for Audi/Eugene Gologursky


Rapper Lil Nas X stripped down to reveal not one, but three gold outfits, singer Frank Ocean appeared with lime green hair and carrying what Twitter users described as a "robot baby" and Simone Biles' glittering silver-and-black dress was so heavy that the gymastics superstar could only climb the stairs one foot at a time and needed six men to help her lift it.

The rapper ASAP appeared wrapped in a patchwork quilt, which he said was a sartorial message of unity.

"We part of the same cloth, part of the same quilt, you know?" he said with a grin -- later tossing the quilt to the ground to reveal a sharp black suit underneath, to the delight of nearby singer Rihanna.


From left: Megan Thee Stallion, Kendall Jenner
Ilya S. Savenok, Angela Weiss
From left: Sienna Miller, Erykah Badu
Getty Images North America/AFP/Dimitrios Kambouris


One mysterious guest appeared head to toe in black -- her face, mouth, eyes and head also covered, with only a long black ponytail visible, leading many to identify her as reality star Kim Kardashian.

"Maybe? We think it's her?" tweeted New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman.

From left: Helen Lasichanh and Pharrell Williams; Editor in Chief of Vogue and Global Chief Content Officer for Conde Nast Anna Wintour
AFP/Mike Coppola, Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
From left: Karlie Kloss, Anja Rubik
Getty Images North America/AFP/Ilya S. Savenok, Theo Wargo
From left: Claire Danes, Lorde
Getty Images North America/AFP/Ilya S. Savenok
From left: Diane Kruger
Getty Images North America/AFP/Ilya S. Savenok, Angela Weiss
From left: Debbie Harry, Emily Blunt
Getty Images North America/AFP/Angela Weiss, Dimitrios Kambouris


'Evolving language of fashion' 

From left: Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie; Hailee Steinfeld
Getty Images North America/AFP/Angela Weiss, Dimitrios Kambouris
Cara Delevingne, Lourdes Leon, Madonna's daughter
Getty Images North America/AFP/Ilya S. Savenok, Angela Weiss


Actor Timothee Chalamet, poet Amanda Gorman, singer Billie Eilish and tennis player Naomi Osaka co-chaired the charity ball often heralded as the celebrity world's "party of the year."

Normally held in early May, the Manhattan soiree on steroids was postponed to Monday with the hope that COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted. The 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic.


From left: Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys, Prabal Gurung and Gemma Chan
Getty Images North America/AFP/Mike Coppola, Dimitrios Kambouris
Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber; Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian
AFP/Mike Coppola
From left: Tory Burch, Lil Nas X
Getty Images North America/AFP/Angela Weiss, Mike Coppola


The honorary co-chairs were Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, who has turned the gala into a global event, designer Tom Ford and Adam Mosseri, director of Instagram, which is sponsoring the extravaganza.

Plans for an opulent spectacle as much of the United States and the world is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic had risked criticism, but the primary reason for holding the benefit was almost certainly financial.


Zoë Kravitz; Co-chair Billie Eilish
Getty Images North America/AFP/Dimitrios Kambouris, Mike Coppola
From left: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Aurora James; Grimes
Getty Images North America/AFP/Mike Coppola


The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute relies on the Met Gala to fund its work, including exhibitions and acquisitions, and the cancellation of last year's event badly damaged its finances.

The bash heralded the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual sartorial exhibit, which this year will happen in two parts.


Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes; Kristen Stewart
Getty Images North America/AFP/Theo Wargo


The first show, titled "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion," is opening to the public September 18 to celebrate The Costume Institute's 75th anniversary.

The second exhibit -- "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" -- will kick off May 5, 2022. Both will run until September 5 of that year.

The exhibits themselves will see Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton continue to explore broad themes -- "Camp," Catholicism and China were among the focuses in recent years -- rather than offer retrospectives of a specific designer.

The two-part show will assess the state of American fashion -- its contemporary players, the industry's identity, and important figures the rarified world of fashion may have overlooked or left out.

Bolton said the exhibit's first stage would focus on modernizing fashion vocabulary in connection with "equity, diversity and inclusion," as part two would see collaborations with American filmmakers to "further investigate the evolving language of American fashion."

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