Met Gala 2021 Red Carpet Predictions: What Will the Stars Wear?

After a pandemic postponement, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vogue's annual, star-studded fashion fête is returning on Sept. 13. Here's what PEOPLE Style editors are hoping to see at the "Super Bowl" of fashion

Fashion's biggest night is here.

After being indefinitely postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vogue's annual Met Gala is back Monday night with a theme centered around celebrating American fashion.

Being touted as a more "intimate affair," this year's organizers are enforcing strict COVID-19 protocols, mandating that all attendees provide proof of full vaccination and wear masks indoors.

The Costume Institute will present a two-part exhibition, debuting with In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, the theme for this year's gala. The exhibit will open on September 18, 2021 and run through September 5, 2022 to "celebrate The Costume Institute's 75th anniversary and explore a modern vocabulary of American fashion."

So what does all this mean for the dress code? Expect to see a celebration of iconic American designers (Ralph Lauren! Vera Wang! Michael Kors!) on this year's red carpet, as well as custom looks from the new wave of fashion industry tastemakers including Christopher John Rogers, Sergio Hudson and Markarian's Alexandra O'Neill.

RELATED: The Best Met Gala Looks of All Time

And yes, there is bound to be a ton of stars matching their face masks to their outfits.

Below, our musings on what Met Gala style moments we're hoping to see.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph Lauren

Gwyneth Paltrow cries as she receives the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in "Shakespeare in Love"
Timothy A. Clary/Getty

Brittany Talarico, Senior Style Editor: I spent my summer on maternity leave, soaking up the last four months with my daughter — and also spiraling down Internet k-holes in the middle of the night while breastfeeding, which usually ended in binge buying products from Instagram ads and debating whether or not I need to try every viral eye cream on TikTok. I also spent a lot of time on YouTube, where I came across this video of Gwyneth Paltrow recapping her "life in looks" for Vogue.

In the clip, Paltrow reflects on the bubblegum pink taffeta Ralph Lauren ball gown she wore to the 1999 Oscars — arguably the most memorable look of her career. She took home the Academy Award that year, and the dress now has its own Wikipedia page. As Paltrow reminisced about the fairytale fashion moment, I envisioned her bringing the look back this year for her own personal Gwen-aissance on the Met steps. It's the kind of viral style move the world needs right now. Plus, it could not be more on theme: American designer — check! And I'm hoping to see stars go for the sustainable flex of re-wearing pieces from their own closet.

"They made me this beautiful dress. And I love it. And I kept it. And I have it," Paltrow tells Vogue of the one-of-a-kind Ralph Lauren design.

"It was in the days before stylists and I'd been looking through the Ralph Lauren look book and in the show they had this pink bubblegum taffeta skirt and I was like 'Oh, that's very me,'" Paltrow also shares of the look. "So I called and I said, 'Could I borrow this for the Oscars?,' and they said, 'Well, we'd liked to make you something,' which was thrilling."

And while there is a chance GP doesn't attend at all (never forget her infamous Met Gala diss), I'm still holding out hope that my 2am insomniac new mom fever dream becomes a reality. And Gwyneth, if you're reading this, you also might consider re-wearing the slinky Calvin Klein tank gown from 1995's Haute Couture Gala to an afterparty!

Iman in Halston

Model Iman attends Harper's BAZAAR 150th Anniversary Event presented with Tiffany & Co at The Rainbow Room on April 19, 2017 in New York City.

Colleen Kratofil, Style Editor: If the theme this year is all about honoring American designers, one would expect to see some slinky, glittery Halston pieces on display. And who better to give them a moment in the spotlight than former Halston model, Iman (she made one of her first passes down the runway in the '70s for the brand).

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Kim Kardashian West in Balenciaga

Kaitlyn Frey, Assistant Style & Beauty Editor: For the past few months, Kim has really been leaning into an edgier, BDSM-inspired style, and I'm convinced her Met Gala look will be no different. The fashion icon shocked fans when she stepped out in an American Horror Story-like full-body, black Balenciaga catsuit complete with a mask that covered her entire face at one of ex-husband Kanye West's Donda listening parties.

Kardashian did it again this past weekend when she arrived in New York City ahead of the Met Gala in a literal head-to-toe bondage-inspired leather ensemble. If her previous looks are any indication, I'm expecting Kim to break the theme and arrive in a badass Balenciaga moment at the Met.

Timothée Chalamet in Haider Ackermann

Hanna Flanagan, Style and Beauty Assistant: I'm expecting the actor, 25, to use his 2021 Met Gala co-chair role as an opportunity to spotlight his closest fashion collaborator: Haider Ackermann. Chalamet has been wearing the Colombian-born French designer for years (most recently, to the Venice Film Festival red carpet premiere of Dune).

Timothée Chalamet
Dominique Charriau/WireImage

"It's entirely embroidered [with lots] of very little black sequins," Ackermann told GQ of Chalamet's shimmery ensemble. "It's made in an atelier in Italy where they treat the fabric with such a délicatesse. They followed the work and they did it splendidly and successfully. It's completely one-off. It's been good. We're both very proud and very content."

The Oscar nominee famously donned the label during last year's Venice Film Festival as well, walking the red carpet in a cotton and silk Haider Ackermann suit paired with black cowboy boots. Chalamet rolled his pleated pant legs and belted his blazer in an expert display of styling skills.

Timothee Chalamet
Elisabetta A. Villa/WireImage

Chalamet and Ackermann have also shown off their fashion friendship at the Berlin premiere of Call Me by Your Name, the Busan International Film Festival, the Australian premiere of The King and even Paris Fashion Week (the actor attended the Haider Ackermann fall/winter 2020 ready-to-wear show last year).

"In a minute I knew that we would collaborate, due to this very joyful maturity that he has and this enthusiasm, and being very optimistic and uplifting, as his generation can be," the designer previously told Vogue of his famous friend.

Zoë Kravitz in Saint Laurent

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals
Neilson Barnard/Getty

Alex Apatoff, Executive Editor: Zoë Kravitz has been a longtime face of Saint Laurent (whose creative director is Anthony Vaccarello), and it's not hard to see why — she and the brand are a match made in fashion heaven.

She's memorably worn Saint Laurent to two Met Galas, the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty and major red carpets all over the world, and she always makes even their most over-the-top looks (whether a feminine strapless gown with a giant pink bow or a low-key column skirt worn with a sheer mesh bra) look as effortless as a T-shirt and jeans.

She's even worn a T-shirt and jeans by the brand (granted, the T-shirt was sparkly sheer chain mail, but still) to its fashion show, and I feel like she could bring back something similarly chic and insouciant for an American fashion-themed Met Gala this year. I can't wait to see what low-key sexy thing Kravitz and the brand are cooking up.

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