The annual event, for which this year's theme was "About Time: Fashion and Duration," will not take place on the first Monday in May.

By Mary Sollosi
March 16, 2020 at 04:04 PM EDT

The stars can stay in their sweatpants this first Monday in May: The 2020 Met Gala has officially been postponed indefinitely.

Time was up for the annual event — for which the theme was to be “About Time: Fashion and Duration” — on Monday. Vogue announced the news, quoting a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Museum of Art that "all programs and events through May 15 will be canceled or postponed" in adherence to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance against gatherings of 50 or more people in the next eight weeks.

Last Thursday, the Met (along with various other New York cultural institutions) announced its temporary closure and the cancellation of events through April 3 in response to the spread of coronavirus. The Met Gala, however, scheduled for May 4, was left out of that announcement. “We’re hoping for the best,” a rep for the Met’s Costume Institute told The Cut last week.

But now the party’s off, and the cancellation of fashion’s biggest night out comes as the latest in a long string of announcements wiping the calendar for the coming months as the threat of coronavirus looms: SXSW, the Tribeca Film Festival, and CinemaCon have all been called off (while Cannes resists), Coachella and Stagecoach festivals have been delayed, various concert tours have been canceled and film releases postponed, and seemingly countless film and TV productions have been suspended in the wake of the pandemic.

The Met Gala is no small engagement, and its cancellation is a huge loss for the fashion industry. Held on the first Monday in May (the only day of the year, under normal circumstances, that the museum is completely closed other than Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day), the event is a fundraising gala benefiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and marks the opening of its annual fashion exhibit, the subject of which doubles as the evening's dress code.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Last year, the theme of “Camp: Notes on Fashion” inspired a piece of fuchsia fashion performance art from Lady Gaga, Zendaya’s light-up Cinderella, and Katy Perry in chandelier cosplay, among other spectacles; 2018’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” blessed us with Rihanna as a new/young Pope and a whole swarm of angels. This year’s topic, “About Time: Fashion and Duration,” was chosen partially in celebration of the museum’s 150th anniversary and surely would have inspired a few personal throwbacks, some pointed commentary on sustainability in the fashion industry, and probably at least one celebrity arm wrapped in a row of expensive watches.

“Fashion is indelibly connected to time,” Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton told the New York Times upon the announcement of the exhibit’s concept and Gala’s theme. “It not only reflects and represents the spirit of the times, but it also changes and develops with the times.” The exhibit will feature 160 pieces telling the story of the last 150 years of women's fashion, and was inspired in part by the writings of Virginia Woolf and French philosopher Henri Bergson, both of whom grappled with the concept of the passage of time in their work. Monday's announcement did not mention what the postponement of the event means for the exhibit itself.

Along with Anna Wintour, the co-chairs for this year’s Gala were going to be Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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