Why Is the Met Gala Taking Place In September and Not the First Monday in May?

The Met Gala is finally set to return after a 16-month hiatus.

The event, also known as fashion's biggest night out, is normally held on the first Monday in May at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This year, the event will take place on September 13.

Why Was the Met Gala Cancelled?

Pre-pandemic, the Met Gala had been an annual event to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute held every year since 1948.

The 2020 event was originally scheduled to take place on May 4 with the theme "About Time: Fashion and Duration," marking the museum's 150th anniversary.

As COVID began to hit New York City, the museum took the decision to temporarily close its doors to visitors on March 12, 2020 "out of an abundance of caution."

In a joint statement seen by Vogue, Dan Weiss, the Met's president and chief executive officer, and Max Hollein, the museum's director, said, "We have been closely following recent developments related to the coronavirus and have concluded at this time that it is in the best interest of our staff and volunteers, and public health, to close all three museum locations to the public at the end of business today, Thursday, March 12.

"In order to give staff enough time to prepare to work from home, we will close the museum to staff by noon on Friday, March 13, and will stay closed until further notice.

"In the next few days, we will undertake a thorough cleaning of the museum and will monitor the developments of this rapidly changing global health situation."

Anna Wintour attends the 2019 Met Gala
Anna Wintour arrives on the red carpet of the 2019 Met Gala John Lamparski/Getty Images

At that time, plans were in place for the Met Gala to go ahead on its original date as Nancy Chilton, the Costume Institute's chief external relations officer told The Cut: "We are proceeding as planned and look forward to a wonderful evening.

"We will, of course, continue to keep a close eye on the situation."

The event, which was to be co-chaired by Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Lin Manuel-Miranda and the creative director of Louis Vuitton Nicolas Ghesquière, was subsequently postponed.

On March 16, 2020 it was announced that the Met Gala would be postponed indefinitely after the museum, in line with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance at the time, took the decision to avoid gatherings of over 50 people for the next eight weeks.

Anna Wintour, former Vogue Editor-in-Chief and now Conde Nast's Chief Content Officer, has chaired the event since 1995 and called the decision "unavoidable and responsible."

The museum exhibition, for which the Met Gala serves as an opening night, was previewed in Vogue's May 2020 issue instead.

In another statement seen by The Cut on March 23, 2020 Chilton said: "The timing of the 2020 Met Gala is still under discussion.

"As we have shared, the Museum will remain closed to the public and staff until July 1, based on what we are hearing from the CDC and city, state, and federal leaders."

With the museum still closed to visitors, on May 20, 2020 it was finally announced that there would be no Met Gala that year "due to the global health crisis."

The museum did not reopen until August 29, 2020 and the exhibition finally opened to the public on October 29, 2020 until February 7, 2021.

As the bulk of the Costume Institute's funding comes from the Met Gala, 2020 attendees were encouraged to make donations rather than seek refunds.

2019's event reportedly raised $15 million from 550 guests.

Tickets cost around $30,000 for an individual - assuming you've been invited as the guest list is carefully curated - and $275,000 for a table.

Jennifer Lopez attends the 2019 Met Gala
Jennifer Lopez on the red carpet as she attends the Met Gala in 2019. Taylor Hill/Getty Images

A source told Page Six: "As the Met Gala is the Costume Institute's primary source of annual funding, they hope guests will consider generously turning their tickets to this fundraiser into a donation or transfer tickets toward next year's gala."

After the cancellation was announced, then pregnant singer Katy Perry singer shared the outfit she would have worn on Instagram, inspired by Madonna's 1990 Jean Paul Gaultier bustier.

Vogue also teamed up with Billy Porter to encourage fashion fans to recreate their favorite Met Gala outfits at home and post them to social media for the #MetGalaChallenge.

Wintour also hosted a virtual celebration called "A Moment With The Met" on YouTube which featured an address from Wintour, a performance by Florence + The Machine and a DJ set by Virgil Abloh.

"It would be impossible to recreate the gala on Monday evening, though I have loved hearing how so many are marking the occasion in their own ways," Wintour told Evening Standard.

"So instead, I asked a few friends to join me for a simple moment—one that I hope will bring us all a bit of joy."

Due to the pandemic this year's event was not able to take place in May but will be returning for a smaller affair on September 13.

In line with government guidance, guests will be required to wear masks indoors all the time they are not eating and drinking and provide proof of vaccination in order to attend.

This year's theme is "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" and the event will be co-chaired by Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, Amanda Gorman, and Timothée Chalamet.

Why Is the Met Gala Usually on the First Monday in May?

The Met Gala typically takes place on the first Monday in May, ahead of the opening of the accompanying Costume Institute exhibition.

So well publicised is this date, that a documentary about the careful planning of the 2015 event and its exhibition bore the name The First Monday in May.

In reality, while the Gala itself dates back to 1948, the tradition was only established in 2005. Between 1979 and 2004 the Gala was always held in December.

In 2022, the Gala could return to it's usual May date with the second part of the museum's In America exhibition "An Anthology of Fashion" earmarked for a May opening.

Cardi B attends the 2019 Met Gala
Cardi B walks up the red carpet steps as she arrives at the 2019 Met Gala Taylor Hill/Getty Images