What Exactly Does The 2022 Met Gala Theme, "Gilded Glamour," Mean?

No occasion grants celebrities the chance to peacock with quite the unbridled excess of the annual Met Gala; even the Oscars red carpet can't compete as fashion's biggest night. With “Gilded

Glamour” as the theme of this spring's event, there would seem to be no limits to how big, bold, and bejeweled the evening's looks might go.

The VIP party, a benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute and a tradition stretching back to 1948, will serve as a continued celebration of the museum's In America exhibition. Thankfully, however, this year's party will honor Part Two of the showcase, meaning celebrity stylists can move on from last year's mind-boggling theme.

The 2021 benefit, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” was moved to September due to the pandemic, created an unfortunate parade of conflicting aesthetics: Some stars went the Western route (see: Jennifer Lopez); others opted for Old Hollywood (see: Billie Eilish); and still others seemed to forego the theme entirely in favor of a personal branding statement (see: Kim Kardashian). The evening—ostensibly built around the question “Who gets to be American?”—largely lacked the cohesiveness and creativity of previous Met Gala themes, such as 2019's infamous “Camp: Notes on Fashion” and 2018's “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” But 2022's “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” is meant to be more of a “historical retrospective,” according to Vogue. (New York Times fashion reporter Vanessa Friedman confirmed the theme to be “Gilded Glamour.”) A clear nod to the United States's Gilded Age, a time of immense economic growth between the Civil War and the turn of the 20th century, the theme seems certain to manifest gold and over-the-top opulence.

As the stars prepare their wardrobes, here's what we know so far about this year's celebration.

the 2021 met gala celebrating in america a lexicon of fashion
A$AP Rocky and Rihanna at the 2021 Met Gala.
Dimitrios KambourisGetty Images

When is the 2022 Met Gala?

The big night will take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on May 2, 2022. Live From E!: Met Gala coverage will begin at 6 p.m. ET, with Vogue also launching its livestream of the event at 6. (You can watch across the magazine's digital and social platforms.)

Who are this year's co-chairs?

This year's festivities will be hosted by the intriguing cohort of actress Regina King, power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Tom Ford, Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour will serve as honorary co-chairs.

What is the theme, and what does it mean?

Drawing off of the official theme of “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” the secondary—or perhaps more straightforward—theme seems to be “Gilded Glamour,” as first reported by Friedman. Given that the official exhibit will be presented in the museum's period-centric rooms, “Gilded Glamour” theme is likely intended as an homage to American history, particularly that of the Gilded Age, which ran roughly from 1870 to 1900. The era is known for major industrialization, when business titans like John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Cornelius Vanderbilt made their fortunes. But the moniker of the era, sourced from Mark Twain's book The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, probed at the underlying issues of the period. After all, “gilded” does not mean “golden,” but rather a thin covering of gold veneer. The name also nods to the hypocrisy of the age, during which the facade of wealth couldn't hide immense income inequality, political upheaval, and post-Civil War racism.

The fact that men like Rockefeller amassed grand estates while average citizens lived in tenements will likely strike a chord with onlookers in the modern era, watching billionaires rocket to space while the country reels in the wake of a pandemic. With that in mind—and the fact that the Met Gala was frequently criticized for its tone-deaf festivities, even pre-COVID—the theme is an interesting, and potentially controversial, choice.

blake lively at the 2018 met gala
Blake Lively at the 2018 Met Gala.
Taylor HillGetty Images

Who's invited to the Met Gala and who is going?

The co-chairs will, of course, be in attendance, but fans can likely expect to see the usual suspects return, including Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, and potentially Rihanna (though with a baby on the way, all bets are off). Stars confirmed to appear include Megan Thee Stallion, Euphoria actress Sydney Sweeney, and Katy Perry, but rumors abound that we're also likely to spot Lizzo, Olivia Rodrigo, Kristen Stewart, the Kardashian family, and even the long-awaited return of Taylor Swift to the Met Gala.

The eight film directors tapped to curate “cinematic vignettes” for the Met's period rooms are also expected attend. They include: Janicza Bravo, Sofia Coppola, Julie Dash, Tom Ford, Regina King, Martin Scorsese, Autumn de Wilde, and Chloé Zhao.

In crushing news, there's at least one immaculately dressed celebrity not stopping by the gala this spring: Zendaya. She's got money to make, people!

Can I go to the Met Gala?

If you're famous—maybe! If you're not—well, tough luck. Invites are selective, and tickets cost $35,000 each, with tables running from $200,000 to $300,000, per the New York Times. Unless you have VIP credentials and cash to burn, it's likely you'll have to watch from the couch with the rest of us. But worry not. With live coverage of the event, we promise to make admiring from afar just as fun.

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