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Met Gala Makes Big Return Following Pandemic Hiatus

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It was one of fashion's biggest nights.

The annual Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art returned Monday night after being canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CBS2's Ali Bauman had a front-row seat to all the looks on the Met steps.

PHOTOS: 2021 Met Gala Arrivals: A Lexicon Of Fashion

The Met Gala began with a bang from the Brooklyn United Marching Band, and from there the steps became a who's who of fashion, movies and music.

"I'm nervous. I'm not gonna lie. It's like ... we were shut down for so long and then to come back on such a huge red carpet," actress Megan Fox said.

The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion - Arrivals
Megan Fox attends The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)

"I'm super excited. I'm super star struck by everybody. I can't believe I'm here. A girl from Houston, Texas. I'm like, we made it!" rapper Megan Thee Stallion added.

The theme for the show was celebrating American fashion and the guests understood the assignment.

"For me, it's showing up and looking gorgeous," poet Amanda Gorman said.

"Kind of cowboy the American dream, I would say," singer Maluma said of her outfit.

"I thought about the most iconic American designer for me, who like influenced the way I saw Black Americans in pop culture and that was Tommy Hilfiger," playwright Jeremy O. Harris said.

Some interpretations were more spelled out than others.

"I'm wearing the colors of the suffrage movement and the green of the ERA and making a fashion statement that we need to get it done," Rep. Carolyn Maloney said.

"We asked what does it mean to be two working class women showing up to the Met, so we decided if we going to do it, send this message and say tax the rich," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added.

Even Mayor Bill de Blasio made his first appearance.

Red, white and blue were the colors of the night, as was anything sparkly, with the exception of Kim Kardashian, who came in all-black everything.

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Hosts Billie Eilish and Naomi Osaka stunned in their larger-than-life outfits and Lil Nas X shut down the steps with his costume changes.

"We are trying to be beautiful and colorful and look forward," designer Diane von Furstenberg said.

The Met Gala marked the opening of "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion," the first part of a two-part exhibition. It uses the organizing principle of a patchwork quilt to show the different facets of American design.

There are 100 ensembles, most of them from emerging designers.

"Seventy percent of the exhibition represents the future of American fashion," Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour said.

The guest list was hand-picked by Wintour and, if invited, tickets cost $35,000 apiece.

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