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The 2022 Met Gala Theme Is "Gilded Glamour," So Here's What That Actually Means

It all goes back to "the most extravagant style this country has ever seen."

It's almost the first Monday in May, baby! You know what that means: It's Met Gala time.

Kim Kardashian covered head to toe in fabric for the Met Gala

And, as folks like Sarah Jessica Parker have pointed out, following the theme is a key part of any successful Met Gala look. So, let's take a closer look at what this year's "Gilded Glamour" dress code actually means.

Billie Eilish in a soft tulle ball gown

First thing's first: Let's talk about the Met Costume Institute's exhibit. Part one, "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" opened last year, and this year's Met Gala signifies the opening of part two — "In America: An Anthology of Fashion."

a mannequin wearing a striped flag dress

So what's the difference between part one and part two of the exhibition? As per the Met, part one "establishes a modern vocabulary of American fashion." On the flip side, the head curator of the Costume Institute, Andrew Bolton, said that "Anthology," “provides a historical context for 'Lexicon.'"

a mannequin climbing up a pole in American flag attire

Some designers that will be featured in the exhibition include Charles James, Halston, and Oscar de la Renta. However, Bolton stressed to Vogue that the exhibition would be more than the big names typically associated with the time: "A lot of the other names really have been forgotten, overlooked, or relegated into the footnotes of fashion history."

With that context in mind, the first thing to note about this year's Met Gala dress code is that it's white tie. This is basically the most formal dress code you can have: Think tailcoats, white waistcoats, and floor-length gowns.

Bradley Cooper in a tailcoat suit

Right, so what does this all mean for this year's "Gilded Glamour" theme? Vogue said that it "will ask its attendees to embody the grandeur — and perhaps the dichotomy — of Gilded Age New York."

a black and white photo of New York in the late 1800s

In short, New York's Gilded Age refers to a period of rapid wealth and grand building development in the city in the latter part of the 19th century. It's when still-standing buildings like the Waldorf Astoria and the Metropolitan Club were built.

an old drawing of a grand facade in the 19th century

Fashion at the time included things like corsets, bustles, gloves, and high necklines. And lots of DRAMA! There's a reason why Vogue dubbed this time, "The most extravagant style this country has ever seen."

So it wouldn't be surprising for us to see a lot on Monday's red carpet — think ruffles, feathers, bows, hats, (hopefully faux) fur, and frills.

For fabrics, a whole bunch of textiles were in use at the time — such as satin, velvet, tulle, and silk — and a more period-appropriate look would favor rich jewel tones.

So while we have yet to find out exactly how designers will interpret this theme, it's fairly safe to say that this won't be a subtle year for the Met Gala.