What—and who—can we expect to see at the 2022 Met Gala?

As the Met Gala returns on the first Monday in May, celebs are confirming, planning, and teasing their attendance for fashion's biggest night.

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We’re just one week away from the first Monday in May, which fashion followers everywhere traditionally recognize as Met Gala day. Of course, the past two years have looked a little different for the 74-year-old event—and the rest of the world, for that matter. After a 2020 cancellation and a September event in 2021, fashion’s biggest night will be back at its regularly scheduled time next Monday, debuting the second half of its “America: A Lexicon in Fashion” theme.

How are guests expected to capture the essence of American fashion? For next Monday’s installment, the theme mirrors one of HBO’s recent hits, basing its dress code on the country’s storied Gilded Age.

Zendaya Met Gala theGrio.com
Zendaya attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Huffington Post)

Spanning from approximately 1870 to 1900, it was a time of incredible economic and industrial development—including the introduction of electrical lighting and the telephone—placing the U.S. ahead of mother country Britain for the first time in history.

As is befitting of Manhattan’s most famed museum, the 2022 Met Gala dress code will largely center on New York’s Gilded Age. with the theme of “gilded glamour,” according to Vogue, which produces the annual event as a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Coincidentally, the 130-year-old Vogue was also founded during this period, making the era especially meaningful to the Met Gala’s producers.

In addition to proclaiming the event white-tie, Vogue describes gilded glamour as such:

For the upper echelon, fashion during that period was one of excess. Thanks to recent innovations of electric and steam-powered looms, fabric became faster and cheaper to produce. As a result, women’s dresses often featured a combination of many textiles, like satin, silk, velvet, and fringe, all adorned with over-the-top textures like lace, bows, frills, and ruffles. (The unofficial edict? The more going on, the better.)

Colors were rich and deep jewel tones. Lighter colors were only worn only at home, as they were impractical while walking in the streets of New York…Corsets were commonplace, and in the 1870s to late 1880s, women embraced bustles to elongate their backsides—in fact, a commonly repeated conceit was that a bustle should be big enough to host an entire tea service. 

Credit: Vogue

Considering the longstanding and continued marginalization (and imitation) of similar, yet natural silhouettes on women of color, that last bit is especially interesting. But as previously reported by theGrio, this year’s accompanying exhibit also promises to give more space to designers of color, perhaps resulting in representation more reflective of America itself.

Whether that same representation will show up in the designs worn on the red carpet remains to be seen, but we do know Regina King will be one of the co-chairs, alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ryan Reynolds, and Blake Lively, while LaLa Anthony will be among Vogue’s red carpet presenters.

In past years, Dapper Dan, Kerby Jean-Raymond, Aurora James, Sergio Hudson, Christopher John Rogers, and Olivier Rousteing have been among the designers worn (and in attendance) at the event. With any luck, we’ll see even more designers of color represented this year.

As for the extensive and always highly exclusive guest list, it remains top-secret, but we do have some early intel on who likely won’t be in attendance next Monday. One conspicuous absence is style star Zendaya, who will miss her second Met Gala since 2019’s pre-pandemic event because “Your girl’s got to work and make some movies,” as she told Extra, later adding: “I’ll be back, though, eventually.”

The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion - Arrivals
A$AP Rocky and Rihanna attend The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sept. 13, 2021. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Given Zendaya’s major moments the past several Met Galas (and elsewhere), this will be a loss, but similarly, despite shutting down last September’s red carpet with their heavily cloaked looks, expectant parents Rihanna (an event regular and 2018 co-chair) and A$AP Rocky aren’t expected to attend, either.

Given that Rih is in her third trimester, many were surprised she and A$AP recently flew to her native Barbados, as flying is typically not recommended in the final months of pregnancy (which likely indicates she wasn’t yet at 36 weeks). But given the not-so-warm welcome from the LAPD that awaited them upon their return last week—and the fact that A$AP is currently out on bail due to an assault charge—it’s pretty safe to assume these two will be sitting out this year’s Met Gala.

Other past attendees we’re hoping to see, if just for the fashion inspo alone? Ciara, Yara Shahidi, Lil Nas X, Iman, Beyoncé, Solange, Lupita Nyong’o, Janelle Monáe, and Cynthia Erivo, to name a few—but we’ll wait to be surprised on Monday night. That said, we can’t help but wonder if we’ll be seeing a return appearance by Keke Palmer, after her brutally honest critique of last year’s catering.

At any rate, join us as we follow the best and Blackest of the 2022 Met Gala red carpet next Monday, starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. —and watch the entire red carpet Livestream via Vogue‘s digital platforms at 6 p.m.

Maiysha Kai is Lifestyle Editor of theGrio, covering all things Black and beautiful. Her work is informed by two decades’ experience in fashion and entertainment, a love of great books and aesthetics, and the indomitable brilliance of Black culture. She is also a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and editor of the YA anthology Body (Words of Change series).

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