Met Gala 2021: what was the theme, where was it held and who attended? From Kim K to Billie Eilish

The annual event raises funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

The Met Gala is one of the most talked about events on the showbiz calendar, attracting some of the biggest names in art, fashion, acting and music.

The annual event was delayed this year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as the gala attracts crowds of guests - from Kim Kardashian and Billie Eilish to British Tennis superstar Emma Raducanu.

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Each year, the event has a theme and celebrities will dress accordingly - previous themes have included 2018’s ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ and ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’ in 2019 - when the Gala was last held.

So, what is the Met Gala and what was the theme this year? Here is everything you need to know about NYC’s best-dressed event.

What is the Met Gala?

Beginning in 1948, the yearly event marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit.

It takes place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, with the theme for the opening evening tied to the theme of each year’s exhibition.

In its early days, the event was a midnight dinner and tickets cost just $50, but it has now established itself as “the jewel in New York City’s social crown".

Dame Anna Wintour, former Editor and Chief of Vogue magazine, is the current chairman of the institute, serving since 1995. She succeeded her Vogue predecessor, Diana Vreeland.

The gala now rakes in tens of millions of dollars, with overall annual contributions to the institute topping $200million.

Wintour oversees the benefits committee - deciding who will receive funding from the donations, as well as the opening night’s guest list.

Each year, a different theme is chosen and a world renowned musician will also perform at the gala. In 2019, Cher gave a show stopping performance and Madonna was the headline act in 2018.

What was the theme this year?

For 2021, the theme of the Met Gala was "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion", a nod to American Independence.

The opening night was reflective of the first of two parts to the annual exhibit. Part one, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” opened 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.

Stars from Blondie singer Debbie Harry to poet Amanda Gorman embraced the theme with nods to the American flag and the Statue of Liberty, while other outfits were less obvious.

Dame Anna Wintour wore a stunning Oscar de la Renta dress - a nod to the late designer.

There was also a line up of famous faces hosting the event this year, as pop star Billie Eilish, tennis player Naomi Osaka, actor Timothée Chalamet and poet Amanda Gorman presented.

Justin Beiber closed the gala with a surprise performance of four of his biggest hits, including “Lonely,” “Hold On,” “Anyone,” and—a real throwback treat—“Baby.”

The 27-year-old singer’s performances came fresh off the back of his VMA’s Artist of the Year award, presented the previous night.

Who were the biggest stars on the red carpet?

The biggest names in showbiz took to the red carpet, dressed by the biggest names in fashion.

In an extraordinary take of American fashion, Kim Kardashian turned up in an unidentifiable all black ensemble which is believed to have been designed by her date for the evening,  Demna Gvasalia, who was also clad in all-black.

Looking almost as happy as she did when she nailed the US open finals at the weekend, British tennis star Emma Raducanu also made an appearance.

Singer Billie Eilish wore a full ball gown and a cropped blonde bob hairstyle, which bore resemblance to America’s sweetheart, Marilyn Monroe. Eilish was accompanied by her brother, Finneas O’Connell, who chose an all-red suit and sequined face covering.

Kendall Jenner also gave us classic American beauty vibes, with her dressed down makeup and dress dripping with diamonds - a striking nod to Audrey Hepburn.

Her younger sister Kylie was not present, she announced on Instagram that she would not be attending and recently revealed she is expecting her second child with boyfriend Travis Scott.

Co-host Naomi Osaka showed off a colourful Louis Vuitton dress and hair-raising up-do, reportedly a nod to her Haitian and Japanese heritage.

However, it might be rapper Little Nas X who stole the show as he first appeared in a gold robe which he ripped off to reveal a Versace golden armour piece and - as if that wasn’t “look at me” enough - he then stripped down further to a gold and black sequined bodysuit.

Fashionably late to the show was Fenty designer and global pop superstar Rihanna, sporting a 1920’s style head-dress, statement necklace and oversized, collared black gown. She was accompanied by her partner, A$AP Rocky, dressed in a quilted, patterned robe.