Met Gala 2021 Theme: A Two-Part Exhibition on American Fashion for 2021 and 2022

“VEIL FLAG” by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., 2020. Courtesy of Sterling Ruby Studio. Photography by Melanie Schiff. Homegrown fashion is the focus of the Costume Institute’s upcoming blockbuster, a two-part exhibition to be presented over the course of 2021 and 2022 in two areas of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Part […]

“VEIL FLAG” by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., 2020. Courtesy of Sterling Ruby Studio. Photography by Melanie Schiff.

Homegrown fashion is the focus of the Costume Institute’s upcoming blockbuster, a two-part exhibition to be presented over the course of 2021 and 2022 in two areas of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Part one, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” will open in the Anna Wintour Costume Center on September 18, 2021, and will remain on display when “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” opens on May 5, 2022, in the period rooms of the American Wing. Both shows will run through September 5, 2022.

Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, has an uncanny sense of timing. Despite the advance planning needed to organize an exhibition, he always seems to land on a topical theme, and stateside the subject of American identity is topic number one.

This “double play” first started coming into focus in 2018 as the curator simultaneously was planning how his department would participate in the museum’s 150th anniversary, celebrated last year, and the Costume Institute’s 75th, this year. “I wanted both shows to be collection-focused exhibitions,” he told Vogue.About Time,” last year’s exhibition, did that broadly; in contrast Bolton looked to a specific and “in a way neglected” area of the collection for the two-part “In America” show. The curator settled on the theme for two reasons: “The main one was the fact that the American fashion community has been supporting us for 75 years, really since the beginning of the Costume Institute, so I wanted to acknowledge its support, and also to celebrate and reflect upon American fashion.”

Robert G. Mull

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