The Met Gala 2021—theme, guest list, how much a ticket costs and what it's all in aid of

The Met Gala 2021—here's everything there is to know about the epic two day event

(Image credit: Getty)

The Met Gala is surely one of the most glamorous, fabulous, and exclusive events on the fashion calendar. Nothing says chic like New York City, Vogue, and the A-list elite. 

Organized annually by Vogue's iconic editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, this year's event returned with a bang of old-world glamour after a pandemic-related hiatus. 

With a theme of 'In America: A Lexicon of Fashion', the elite fundraising benefit saw between 500-600 guests—including many of your favorite celebrities—grace the red carpet at New York's prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute for an evening of stellar fashion and fantasy. Here's everything you need to know about what went down on the magical night. 

Anna Wintour

Vogue editor Anna Wintour organizes the Met Gala every year 

(Image credit: Getty)

What is the Met Gala? 

The Met Ball, or Met Gala, is a benefit that takes place every year to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. Founded back in 1948, it is often considered the equivalent of the Oscars to the fashion world and a veritable 'who's who' of the upper echelons of society. 

And when we say upper echelons, we're not kidding around. The Met Gala is notoriously one of the most prestigious events in the world, charging entrants through the nose just to get in the door. 

While many of the A-listers in attendance are able to afford the fees, it's actually uncommon for them to pay for their own tickets. The celebrities are typically invited to the event by Anna Wintour but often offset the ticket cost to a luxurious brand or fashion host, who will host them and buy tables in the evenings. Now that's what we call clever marketing. 

When was the Met Gala 2021?

This year’s Met Gala was held on Monday, September 13. As always, the A-list event took place at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Traditionally held on the first Monday in May, the event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, and delayed this year.

It’s an evening when designers, models, moguls, athletes, artists and Hollywood’s highest echelons collide in over-the-top looks, usually dressed to a theme.

This is in aid of fundraising for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Who chaired the 2021 Met Gala?

Every year, the Met Gala has a number of co-chairs who help host the event. 

In the past, these have included Gianni Versace, Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy, Karl Lagerfeld, Serena Williams, Cate Blanchett, Beyoncé, and Nicole Kidman.

For the Met Gala 2021, Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka co-chaired, with Tom Ford, Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour serving as the honorary chairs.

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish was one of the Met Gala 2021's co-chairs

(Image credit: Noam Galai / Contributor/ Getty Images)

Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman was one of the Met Gala 2021's co-chairs

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What was the Met Gala theme for 2021?

The 2021 Met Gala theme was American Indepdence.

Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, discussed the intent behind re-examining American identity and fashion, especially as it has changed over the last several years due to both political and social justice movements.

He told Vogue, "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."

Past themes have included Camp: Notes on Fashion (2019), Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (2018) and China: Through the Looking Glass (2015).

Who went to the Met Gala 2021?

The invitation list for the world-famous gala is one of the fashion world's closest kept secrets, with all guests exclusively handpicked by Vogue's Anna Wintour and only revealed on the night itself. 

With past attendees including everyone from Beyoncé to Madonna, fashion fans were understandably excited to see which A-list stars would step out at this year's ball. In fact, the buzz was so intense that a leaked seating chart—now proven to be fabricated—went viral last month after it 'exposed' the event's chaotic arrangements.

The document detailed a bizarre plan of mismatching pairings, with legendary designers sitting next to TikTok influencers and high-profile fashion moguls placed next to Hollywood stars. Luckily for the celebs, this strange setup never materialized. 

From the bonafide VIPs to the up-and-coming talents that appeared at this year's event, it looks like the Met Gala has no plans to shed its reputation as a star-studded evening any time soon. 

The night undeniably had a younger vibe to it, with many of its attendees relatively new to the celeb scene. 

Its guest list consisted of a litany of fresh-faced famous folks, including tennis champion Emma Radacanu, rapper Lil Nas X, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams. 


Emma Radacanu at the Met Gala 2021

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It also featured Met Gala veteran Rihanna, who turned up late with her boyfriend ASAP Rocky, and Kim Kardashian, who stole the show in a full-body suit and face covering. 


Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala 2021

(Image credit: Getty)

Debbie Harry, Eliot Page, Serena Williams, Carey Mulligan, and Whoopi Goldberg were also all in attendance. Phew, that's a lot of star power in one room. 

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry at Met Gala 2021

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Most talked about Met Gala 2021 outfits and looks 

With such a versatile theme to play with it, there was no shortage of showstopping outfits at this year's ball. Kim Kardashian's Met Gala look—a skintight black bodysuit and cape—was easily one of the evening's most talk-about ensembles, prompting an outpouring of both praise and criticism from fans online. 

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez also received a lot of attention with her dress, a white gown emblazoned with the slogan, Tax the Rich. The look was met by a mixed response from both her supporters and opponents, with many people feeling her presence at the upper-class event was contradictory to her democratic socialist values. 


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

(Image credit: Getty)

AOC wasn't the only celebrity whose Met Gala outfit made a bold political statement. Singer Billie Eilish, who is also vegan, wore an Oscar de la Renta dress in celebration of the Dominican fashion brand's commitment to going fur-free. She even took to Instagram to thank the designers for listening to her on the issue before urging other companies to follow suit. 

Emily Blunt was another guest who refused to hold back with her wardrobe choice at this year's Met Gala. The Jungle Cruise actor embraced vintage Hollywood glamor with her dress, stepping out in a Miu Miu semi-transparent beaded gown and an extravagant starry headpiece. The gorgeous look, which was inspired by Hedy Lamarr from the 1941 film Ziegfeld Girl, emanated strong Statue of Liberty vibes—perfect for the New York-based event. 

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While the ladies certainly didn't disappoint with their outfits, they had some stiff competition from their male counterparts. Lil Nas X showcased three—yes, three—ensembles on the night, proving you really never can be too overdressed for these glitzy shindigs. The Industry rapper's Holy Trinity of Met Gala looks included a billowing gold cape by Versace, a golden suit of armor, and—wait for it—a glittery gold bodysuit. Now that's what we call making a grand entrance. 

Not everyone was happy with the turnout though. With a longstanding history of A-list guests, folks were quick to note the absence of some iconic figures. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Harry Styles—all of whom have attended the gala on multiple occasions—were nowhere to be seen at the event, much to the disappointment of their fans. 

A lot of people also criticized the guests for failing to adhere to the night's theme of American Independence. In fact, only a handful of celebrities, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Gabrielle Union, were credited for understanding the assignment. 

How much is a Met Gala ticket?

Lady Gaga flanked by men in tuxedos at the Met Gala

(Image credit: Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

Once you've managed to make the guest list, you still have to cough up the dough for a ticket. 

Now, you make have to take a seat before you even think about buying a seat at the elite event as the New York Times report that tickets go for $35,000 (£25,300). Perhaps you'll be lucky enough to have one bought for you and be offered a seat at a table? Well, tables cost range from $200,000 (£144,500) to $300,000 (£217,000) so you better hope you've got a few gazillionaires in your contact list.

How much does the Met Gala raise?

Cardi B attends The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City.

(Image credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Although it's an astronomical amount of money to spend on tickets, it’s all for a good cause. In 2019 alone the event raised $13M (£9.4M).

All of the money raised from ticket sales is donated to the Costume Institute. The Costume Institute relies heavily on external fundraising as it's the only department of the Met Museum that has to fund itself.

Met Gala 2021

Gemma Chan and Tom Ford, Met Gala 

(Image credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.