Singer Billie Eilish, who co-hosted the event, drew comparisons with Marilyn Monroe

The Met Gala – one of fashion’s biggest and starriest events – has rolled out its red carpet in New York for some of the planet’s best-known celebrities.

Held to raise funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, the Gala returns after being cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And although its famous guests must follow Covid-19 rules, including wearing masks indoors, that hasn’t stopped many going for all-out glamour.

This year’s costume theme is “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” – and the looks were inspired by everything from the Matrix film franchise to the Statue of Liberty.

The ball was co-hosted by pop star Billie Eilish, tennis player Naomi Osaka, actor Timothée Chalamet and poet Amanda Gorman.

Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Eilish was accompanied by her brother, Finneas O’Connell, who chose an all-red suit and sequined face covering
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Actor Timothée Chalamet donned a white silk suit by Haider Ackermann – a look described as “formal sweatpants”
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Co-host Naomi Osaka showed off a colourful Louis Vuitton dress and elaborate hairstyle – said to be a nod to her Haitian and Japanese heritage
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Tennis’s newest star, 18-year-old Emma Raducanu, was fresh from winning the US Open just days ago
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
23-year-old poet Amanda Gorman, who read a work at President Biden’s inauguration, was another co-host. She chose her Vera Wang dress and crystal headpiece to channel “a re-imagined Statue of Liberty”
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Blondie singer Debbie Harry embraced the theme in denim and a voluminous stars-and-stripes skirt
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Rapper Lil Nas X first served up a regal robe…
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
…which he whipped off to reveal a golden suit of Versace armour…
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
…which he shed for a sequined bodysuit

One of the most talked-about looks of the night came from the publicity machine that is Kim Kardashian – who covered her face and body in an all-enveloping black outfit.

The custom design was devised by Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of fashion house Balenciaga.

Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Kim Kardashian’s look spawned a series of memes on social media
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
The entrepreneur was accompanied by a man, believed to be designer Demna Gvasalia, who was also clad in all-black

The 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams made a statement of a more colourful kind, wearing a star-spangled bodysuit beneath a feather-laden pink cape.

Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Serena Williams grabbed attention in a Gucci bodysuit beneath a floor-length feather cape
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams wore a Matrix-inspired dress she designed herself
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Vogue chief Dame Anna Wintour, who oversees the event, wore an Oscar de la Renta dress in tribute to the late designer
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turned heads with a dress emblazoned with the words “Tax the Rich”

Other attendees, meanwhile, brought along props to accompany their outfits.

Without apparent explanation, singer Frank Ocean carried a green robotic baby, while musician Grimes brandished a sword.

Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Frank Ocean carrying his green robotic doll
Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
Grimes brought along a sword to the festivities

Among the last to arrive at the Gala was Rihanna – who has stolen the show at past events, with outfits including a Pope-inspired costume in 2018.

The singer and businesswoman turned heads once again as she posed in an all-black Balenciaga overcoat, while her boyfriend, rapper A$AP Rocky, swathed himself in a multicoloured quilt.

Met Gala 2021: Celebrities show off lavish outfits in New York
A$AP Rocky and girlfriend Rihanna arrived fashionably late, sporting contrasting outfits

One celebrity who wasn’t there was rapper Nicki Minaj, who said she hadn’t yet had a Covid vaccine, which was a requirement of entry.

She has also been criticised for a post saying people shouldn’t be “bullied” into having the vaccine, telling the story of a cousin’s friend who allegedly became impotent after being vaccinated, leading his fiancée to call off their wedding.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: “Currently no evidence shows that any vaccines, including Covid-19 vaccines, cause male fertility problems.”

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