The Met Gala 2022 Theme, Explained

Spring has sprung, Taco Bell’s Mexican pizza is back, and the Met Gala 2022 has restored fashion world peace to the first Monday in May. Even though it feels like just yesterday we were watching Sir Lil Knight X disrobe on the red carpet, fashion’s biggest night is officially, fully back, and we couldn’t be more excited to sit around in sweatpants with stains on them and discuss celebrity looks . It’s one of the simple pleasures in life.

By far one of the most exciting parts about the Met Gala is seeing how attendees interpret the night’s theme through their elaborate outfits and over-the-top beauty looks. Who can forget Lady Gaga’s four-act performance for the 2019 camp-themed event or Rihanna’s pope cosplay at the 2018 gala? This year’s theme is Gilded Glamour, per vogueand if you’re not a history buff, you may have a few questions on what exactly that means.

Here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know about the Met Gala 2022 before the big night.

What exactly does “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” mean?

According to vogue, the Met Gala 2022 is celebrating the second half of The Costume Exhibit’s two-part feature honoring American contributions to fashion. Head curator Andrew Bolton told writer Steff Yotka that this year’s portion of the exhibit is set to feature unsung heroes who have advanced the American design world: “The stories really reflect the evolution of American style, but they also explore the work of individual tailors, dress-makers, and designers,” Bolton said. “What’s exciting for me is that some of the names will be very familiar to students of fashion, like Charles James, Halston, and Oscar de la Renta, but a lot of the other names really have been forgotten, overlooked, or relegated into the footnotes of fashion history. So one of the main intentions of the exhibition is to spotlight the talents and contributions of these individuals, and many of them are women.”

While last year’s exhibit, which you can still see IRL at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until September 5, focused on the similarities that American designers share when building upon each other, this year’s portion revolves around a set of film vignettes in the period rooms within the American Wing at the museum. Filmmakers like Sofia Coppola, Tom Ford, Regina King, Martin Scorsese, and Chloé Zhao are all taking part.

The full exhibit opens May 7, the Saturday after the Met Gala takes place. But first, celebrity party.

What’s the dress code?

The Met Gala will be a white-tie affair, meaning organizers and cochairs are expecting the best of the best formal looks. (Sorry, Timothée, you can’t wear Converse again.) While we’re hoping for another Chanel shorts or sheer dress moment on the red carpet, the more on-trend looks will probably be saved for the high-profile after-parties we’re sure to hear about the morning after.

Any ideas on what people will be wearing?

Given that this year’s gala theme references America’s Gilded Age, we’re expecting celebrities to go full-on period drama on the red carpet. Think opera gloves, frilled hems, and bosom-boasting bodices reminiscent of the romantic aesthetics from the era. According to several TikTok videos, it seems Vivienne Westwood is one of the on-brand names the Internet is buzzing about when referencing what they want their faves to wear. Westwood’s signature aesthetic, mixed with modern-day punk style, isn’t far off from what we’ll see. Never mind that the 81-year-old designer isn’t American. If the vibe is right, the fashion girlies will be all over it.

Vivienne Westwood Fall/Winter 1995

GERARD JULIAN

Vivienne Westwood Fall/Winter 1995

ARNAL/PAT Pool

So…Bridgerton?

Not exactly. The United States’ Gilded Age refers to the 30-year period of innovation and cultural revolution from 1870 to 1900. While we do get major Bridgerton vibes from it, the show’s costumes are inspired by similar pieces made in the Regency era, which ended in 1820. For a more historically accurate reflection of what we’ll see on the first Monday in May, may we suggest the show that is quite literally about the time period: The Gilded Age on HBO.

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