The annual Met Gala, which traditionally takes place on the first Monday in May, is arguably one of the biggest nights in fashion.

Though last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic, and the 2021 Met Gala was postponed by four months, the fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit finally made its glorious, star-studded return on Sunday, Sept. 13.

Understandably, this year’s event was somewhat scaled back in an effort to combat the ongoing pandemic. Guests had to be vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before attending, and face masks were mandatory inside unless eating or drinking.

Despite this, many familiar faces and some fashionable up-and-comers showed out in striking looks inspired by this year’s theme: In America: A Lexicon on Fashion.

Rihanna, a long-time staple, made a last-minute appearance. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck showcased their love inside the venue. Grimes toted around a sword made out of a reclaimed assault rifle. Lil Nas X pulled off three different looks, much like Lady Gaga did in 2019.

Notably, though, some frequent, standout Met Gala attendees were absent. Katy Perry, Blake Lively, Selena Gomez, Beyonce, Cardi B and Ariana Grande, for instance, who have all delivered some of their most enduring fashion moments on the iconic steps outside the venue, were not in attendance this year.

We don’t know why all of the above-mentioned celebs missed out. However, these five famous faces below offered an explanation for their absence.

  • Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images


    Zendaya famously channeled Cinderella when she showed up at the 2019 Met Gala and has delivered several other iconic looks. Notably, she resembled a modern-day Joan of Arc in 2018. However, she was not able to make it in 2021.

    Why? The actor told Extra TV that she had a prior work commitment. “My fans are going to be very upset with me,” she said. “I will unfortunately not be able to attend because I’ll be working on Euphoria.” Although she missed out, her Dune co-star Timothée Chalamet acted as one of the evening’s co-hosts.

  • Neilson Barnard, Getty Images


    Halsey hit their Met Gala stride when they stepped out in a stunning red two-piece ensemble in 2019. However, they shared a simple explanation for missing this year. “I’m still breastfeeding,” the new mom wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “I only had my baby 7 weeks ago. There’s nothing more ‘American fashion’ than moms having to go back to work after just giving birth.”

    Instead, Halsey uploaded a photo on Instagram showing off some of the products from her about-face beauty line. At least they kept a fashion focus on the evening.

  • Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images

    Harry Styles

    Fashion plays a large role in Harry Styles’ brand, which makes him an obvious attendee at the Met Gala. The “Falling” crooner even co-hosted the event in 2019. However, fans never expected him to make it this year because he had a concert scheduled in Houston, Texas the very same night.

    Sadly for Styles and his fans in Texas, he wound up having to cancel the show at the last minute due to a severe weather threat.

  • Neilson Barnard, Getty Images

    Nicki Minaj

    In the hours ahead of the 2021 Met Gala, Nicki Minaj caused a stir on Twitter by sharing that she did not want to get vaccinated for the event. The new mother, who recently had COVID-19, expressed that she did not want to get sick and bring it back to her son. She added that she is still researching the vaccine and its potential side effects.

    What’s more, the rapper cited a wacky example of her cousin’s friend who was supposedly rendered impotent and left with swollen testicles after getting the vaccine. While she wrote that she’d likely get vaccinated to tour, she’s not ready yet. “They want you to get vaccinated for the Met,” she tweeted. “If I get vaccinated it won’t [be] for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research.” She last attended the Met Gala in 2019.

  • Mike Coppola, Getty Images

    Kylie Jenner

    Kylie Jenner grew up in front of our eyes while attending the Met Gala over the years. Most recently, she delivered a showgirl fantasy when she wore a campy silver and lilac gown in 2019. Jenner, who recently revealed that she is pregnant with her second child, took to her Instagram story ahead of the Gala to confirm that she was “so sad” but would be unable to attend this year. “I can’t wait to see all the looks,” she added.

    Sources told Page Six that Jenner was planning on attending, but that it wound up being too large of a commitment while pregnant. Her sisters Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner and mom Kris Jenner made appearances.