Sidelined last year, the Met Gala is returning — twice

FILE - Lady Gaga attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala on May 6, 2019, in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Monday that the annual high-wattage celebration of both fashion and celebrity -- held virtually in 2020 because of the pandemic -- will return in person, first in September, then again on its usual date on the first Monday in May. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
FILE - Lady Gaga attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala on May 6, 2019, in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Monday that the annual high-wattage celebration of both fashion and celebrity -- held virtually in 2020 because of the pandemic -- will return in person, first in September, then again on its usual date on the first Monday in May. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File) (2019 Invision)

The Met Gala is coming back. Actually, twice.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Monday that the annual high-wattage celebration of both fashion and celebrity — canceled last year because of the pandemic — will return in person, first in September, then again in 2022 in its usual slot of the first Monday in May.

The galas, a “more intimate” version Sept. 13 of this year and a larger one on May 2, 2022, will launch a two-part exhibition, a survey of American fashion to be on view for almost a year.

“In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” opening Sept. 18, will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the museum’s Costume Institute and “explore a modern vocabulary of American fashion,” the museum said. Part two, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” will open in the museum’s popular American Wing period rooms on May 5, 2022, and will explore American fashion, with collaborations with film directors, by “presenting narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of those spaces.” Both parts will close on Sept. 5, 2022.

Filmmaker Melina Matsoukas ("Queen & Slim") has been commissioned to create an open-ended film to project in the galleries, with content changing during the course of the exhibition.

There was no immediate word on who the celebrity hosts, or chairs, would be for the galas, traditionally a heady mix of luminaries from fashion, music, film, TV, sports and other arenas. The first gala in September will be smaller, and held in accordance with government coronavirus guidelines. The second next May is intended to be larger, in line with previous galas which typically hold about 550 guests.

The gala is a major fundraiser, providing the Costume Institute with its primary source of funding. In 2020, the gala was canceled but fans were invited to engage in a social media challenge to recreate favorite red-carpet looks.

“Fashion is both a harbinger of cultural shifts and a record of the forces, beliefs, and events that shape our lives,” said Max Hollein, director of the Met, in a statement. “This two-part exhibition will consider how fashion reflects evolving notions of identity in America and will explore a multitude of perspectives through presentations that speak to some of the complexities of history with powerful immediacy."