The 2021 Met Gala, A Lexicon of Fashion


Theo Wargo

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky on the red carpet

With the world-renown Met Gala approaching this September, many are boggled by this year’s two themes, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” and “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” While this exclusive event is usually held on the first Monday in May every year, this year’s Met Gala will take place on September 13th. After being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vogue decided to split the event into two parts, one in September and one in May, with both parts having their own theme. Each event is also rumored to have a more “intimate” guest list because of pandemic restrictions.

The theme for installment one, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”, will delve into the modern vocabulary of American fashion. The chapter is meant to focus on how each of those terms translates into unique designs and styles. This exhibition will also be honoring the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary.

Along with an eccentric theme and deep-seated guest list, Vogue has chosen Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka to co-chair this year’s event. Each of the Gala’s four co-hosts were meant to embody individualism, a defining feature of American fashion. Timothée Chalamet is known for his personal style of technical tailoring, block colors, and stomper boots. Billie Eilish’s love for baggy sweat suits, loud prints, and bold accessories have made their way into this generation’s style as well. Amanda Gorman has also become a newfound figure because of her love of poetry and reinventing clothes she already has. Finally, Naomi Osaka’s style of graphic prints and bright colors is not only cute but functional for her tennis aesthetic. While they have quite different styles, each co-host shares their passion for self-expression through personal style which is why Vogue hand-picked them for the event.

The theme for installment two, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”, will showcase American fashion development. In a statement made by Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge of the Costume Institute, he said, “Over the past year, because of the pandemic, the connections to our homes have become more emotional, as have those to our clothes. For American fashion, this has meant an increased emphasis on sentiment over practicality”. So, Part One of the exhibition will create a modern twist of American fashion mainly based on the emotional qualities of

clothing. It will also create deeper associations between fashion and issues of diversity and inclusion. Part Two of the exhibition will use Part One to dive deeper into the evolving language of American fashion. The May edition is rumored to “express the theme through a series of collaborations with American film directors who will visualize the unfinished stories inherent in The Met’s period rooms”. Recent past themes for the event include “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in 2019 and “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” in 2018. 

Clearly, since the 2021 Met Gala will be celebrating the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary, the theme was chosen to reflect on American fashion and the Gala’s past themes. The theme will celebrate American designers, as well as cultural, political, and social events that happened during the pandemic. A big goal of this year’s theme, said Bolton, is to acknowledge and support the emphasis on conscious creativity during the pandemic. Bolton said he was extremely impressed by American designers’ responses to the social/political climate, especially to issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity. “A Lexicon of Fashion” is meant to showcase young American designers who are pushing American Fashion into a Renaissance of sorts.

Keeping “A Lexicon of Fashion” and “An Anthology of Fashion” in mind, look forward to seeing a range of American talent. From the previously established Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Anna Sui to the rising designers, such as Pyer Moss and Vaquera. Based on this year’s theme, and it’s expected guests, we’re bound to be impressed by this year’s Met Gala.