Met Gala 2021 a Fashion Spectacle but at the Expense of Safety?


“Met Gala 2021: All the MUST-SEE Moments You Missed!” (Courtesy of Entertainment Tonight’s YouTube)

By Lee Kedem, Arts Writer


America, land of the celebrities? This year’s Met Gala centered around the theme of “American Independence.” As Gigi Hadid said at the event, “And what better way to celebrate America really coming together about something that is not politics or anything like that. It’s just creativity and beautiful things that supports the Met Museum and teaching our future children and anyone who comes to New York about a little bit of American style and fashion.”

At first glance, I thought it was nice to celebrate art in the context of a country that brings up many mixed emotions. However, with the pandemic still spreading throughout the globe, is dressing up unmasked the right example to set with America in the spotlight? 

In Attendance

Many regular Met Gala attendees were not present due to health and safety concerns, as well as previous commitments. The celebrities and influencers who did attend took the theme in different directions. They ranged from Cara Delevingne’s outfit stating “Peg the Patriarchy” and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s dress saying “Tax the Rich” to Lili Reinhart with a dress made of flowers from each of the fifty states. There were many old-Hollywood approaches to the theme, with Kendall Jenner paying homage to Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” and Gemma Chan honoring Anna May Wong.

The group of young co-chairs — Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, Amanda Gorman and Timothee Chalamet — all brought forth different takes on American Independence. The attendees’ outfits were beautiful as always and, though some were more creative than others, they all brought the magic of the fashion world to our little phone screens to be stared at in judgmental adoration.

Social Spread

In this age of social media, the photos of the Met Gala are featured everywhere and any of the gala’s attendees are role models to many people around the world. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a powerful statement could have been made by having some of the biggest influencers wear masks throughout the event, but having the group of celebrities gathered unmasked felt slightly tone-deaf.

An easy fix to this concern could have been mandating masks and incorporating them into the costumes as part of the theme. Having a Maria Grazia-Chiuri designed Dior mask on the carpet could have set an example of how important safety measures are at present and America’s still-crucial role in fighting COVID-19. Using the theme “American Independence” was a choice that could have shown how celebrities weren’t going to take a free pandemic pass and party.


The Met Gala is an event that is deeply cherished annually and, after not holding it last year, the experience became all the more anticipated. However, the pandemic is not yet near a stopping point and when role models to so many young adults show up to a mass event unmasked, it sets an example that it is safe to do so, even though many areas around the world have higher COVID-19 rates than ever before.

Fashion is something that brings people together — a way to express oneself in a unique and alluring way, thus allowing for the magic inside people to be illustrated outwardly. I enjoy following the Met Gala every year, but it is important to acknowledge that there could have been a beautiful way to hold this event and assist the world in collecting its broken puzzle pieces, whether through theme or attendance. 


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