Usually held annually on the first Monday in May, the Met Gala returns twice this year as a smaller, more intimate event than in years past (the affair was canceled last year and rescheduled for this September due to COVID-19 restrictions). The Met gala aka the Met Ball, hosted by Keke Palmer and Ilana Glazer, is an evening when designers, models, celebrities, and stars convene to celebrate fashion and fundraise at the new Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. This year’s met gala theme focused on all things American fashion and the guests did not disappoint.
“In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”
Head curators of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Andrew Bolton and Wendy Yu decided now was the time to redefine America’s role in the fashion industry. The change in recent years of political and social justice movements has affected the fashion industry greatly. Movements like body and gender inclusivity, and the rise in sustainability awareness sparked the recent fashion renaissance and are what inspired the American theme for this year’s gala. The first exhibit, “In America; A Lexicon of Fashion ” opened on September 18 and the exhibit is organized to resemble a home with intersecting walls and rooms that reflects fashion in recent times. Pieces from notorious designers Christopher John Rogers, Sterling Ruby, Conner Ives, Prabal Gurung, and Andre Walker are all being featured in part one of the exhibition. “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”, Part 2 of the exhibit will open on May 5, 2022, along with another gala. This exhibit will feature American filmmakers and their cinematic scenes that interpret a different history of American fashion.
Red Carpet Fashion
This year’s red carpet was filled with political statements, corsets, backless gowns, evening gloves, western-styled attire, feathers, naked dresses, dramatic sleeves, bodysuits, 2-piece sets, and sparkles. Some celebrities chose to wear looks designed and made by American designers while others embraced the freedom of expression and independence in America.
As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cara Delevingne quickly went viral for the political statements written on their red-carpet outfits, many other celebrities at the Gala displayed their opinions on social justice movements through fashion with bold statements. A$AP Rocky wore “meat is murder” on his undergarments, Lil Nas X’s metal outfit read “remember to vote in local elections”, J-LO’s western hat bore the word environment, Kim Kardashian modest all-black look hides the phrase “reform prisons”, Pete Davidson’s jacket flashed “rasiscm=nope”, Grimes wore a mask that read “space trips are only kind of wasteful”, Niki de Jagar’s “pay it no mind dress” paid homage to famous trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, and Alica Keys white utility-inspired dress advised “unionize, but not in a way that perpetuates corruption”. Kris Jenner also displayed a political opinion, embellished on the sleeves of her gown that read the phrase, “say their names”, as well as Frank Ocean who carried a baby doll that spoke and said, “Within a capitalist society, the inherent value of a human life is commodified based on the labor it can provide”.
Best dressed to the theme
Celebrities like Jeremy O’ Harris, Barbie Ferreria, Billie Eilish, Precious Lee, Tyler Mitchell, Chance the Rapper, Kendall Jenner, Amandla Stenberg, Ciara, Lorde, Leon Bridges, Lupita Nyong’o, A$AP Rocky, and Rihanna interpreted the theme of the event in a variety of creative ways and all paid homage to American culture and history in some way. Fan favorites that best followed the theme include Rihanna’s homage to black culture in America, she chose to wear an oversized Balenciaga coat along with a matching hat to represent the people imprisoned and affected by the stereotype. Another favorite was Ciara’s homage to American football in her neon green, metallic, Seahawks jersey-inspired gown, Tyler Mitchell had a similar idea with his red sports-inspired suit. Kendall Jenner gained attention as well in her Givenchy nude bodice and shining stars overlay.
Fan Favorites on the Red Carpet
Looks like Billie Eilish’s, Iman’s, Kim Kardashian’s, Timothée Chalamet’s, Lil Nas X’s, Imaan Hammam’s, and Jennifer Lopez’s, are some of the most talked-about and adored looks from the Met. Billie Eilish wore an Oscar de la Renta gown inspired by the holiday barbie doll she would ask for every Christmas as a child. Eilish refused to collaborate with De la Renta unless the brand stopped selling fur products, and consequently the brand did make the significant and environmentally positive change. Kim Kardashian was dressed in head to toe Balenciaga. Unlike past Met gala’s she attended Kim showed no skin at all, she covered her entire body and briefly explained that nothing is more “American than a T-shirt head to toe”. Fans have circled many theories explaining her look and Kim confirmed the theory that the bodysuit was intended to be a reference to her iconic body and sexuality in America. Iman’s look designed by Dolce and Gabanna captured many and amazed fans. Timothee Chalamet once again took male fashion to the next level in his all-white ensemble by Haider Ackermann paired with converse sneakers. Lil Nas X had a total of three looks for the gala including a Donatella Versace regal inspired cloak, a gold metallic suit of armor, and a bodysuit drenched in crystals. Imman Hammam strutted the carpet in a nude and sparkled star Tiffany & Co dress. Lastly, Jennifer Lopez inspired her fans with her creatively involved western look by Ralph Lauren.
The Met Gala or “fashion’s biggest night out” is an opportunity for celebrities and designers to create new, bold, astonishing looks that shock the fashion world and this year’s outfits definitely stunned us all. Influencers, celebrities, designers, and viewers are eager to see the looks of the Met Gala in May and anxiously await the second part of the costume exhibit, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”.