The 2021 Met Gala Disasters and Delights


On Sept. 13, one of the world’s most illustrious fashion and social events graced the tabloids, news, and our social media feeds. Stars made bold political statements and portrayed American icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn in this year’s theme, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”. 

  Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, Timothée Chalamet and Amanda Gorman co-chaired the event which was established in 1948 and raises money for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Attendees are given invites by Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Anna Wintour or otherwise, brands can host a guest for $35,000 a ticket and buy a table from $200,000 to $300,000.

Couture fashion in itself is a particular niche and has continued to intrigue the masses following previous year’s themes, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” and “Camp: Notes on Fashion”. Although this year some attendees seemed to ignore the theme altogether or took a rather unappealing interpretation. 

Many guests chose to send a political message with their Met Gala look. Indigenous model and activist Quannah Chasinghorse chose to pay homage to her ancestry. She is Hän Gwich’in (from Canada and Alaska) and Native American Oglala Lakota (from South Dakota). Her stylist Peter Dundas dressed her to represent her heritage. Chasinghorse wanted to send the message that Indigenous people are still present, and that land they live on today is stolen from them. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also made a political statement with her look. Her message featured her wearing a white dress with the words “Tax the Rich” in red in the back. Many would say that a statement like this is hypocritical. Ocasio-Cortez often preaches about being a member of the working class, however, making such a statement about taxing the upper class whilst attending and contributing to a prestigious event among celebrities and the social elite is hypocritical. 

Kim Kardashian walked the carpet submerged in a Balencigaia haute couture black gown, submerged in an obscure mask that covered her features. The TV and beauty icon is a quintessential figure of America’s pop-cultural scene. Kardashian’s look indicated that even when completely obscured, her figure and stature can be recognized amongst a changing America.

Jennifer Lopez wore Ralph Lauren. Lopez was adorned with an embroidered gown, a faux fur cape and a cowboy hat. Her western-inspired look paid homage to the largest federally recognized tribe, The Navajo Nation.

Singer and songwriter Lorde, who is depicted on the Vogue Oct. issue, wore a white two-piece dress designed by upcoming fashion brand BODE. Her look was made of recycled materials and included elements of the sun and earth, a nod to Lorde’s new album Solar Power.

Youtuber Nikki de Jager, also known as “NikkieTutorials” on Youtube, wore a look inspired by the transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson who was a leader in the stonewall riots. 

Jager who came out as transgender in 2020 last year, joined a large group of guests who aimed to bring representation to the Met Gala with their fashion.

Gemma Chan paid homage to Hollywood’s first Chinese American star Anna May Wong. Chan teamed up with designer Prabal Gurung to create a black mini dress bedazzled with a dragon motif and a structured up-do worn by Wong. 

Lili Reinhart’s look featured a Christian Siriano pink asymmetrical dress, adorned with a floral pattern. The flowers on her dress not only looked visually appealing, but also represented each of the fifty states flowers.

Billie Eilish in Oscar de la Renta went out of her usual attire for such events. She wore a floor length peach ball gown and her hair styled in a traditional fifty’s manor. Her contribution to the theme was paying homage to Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly with her attire and hair style choices. 

Dan Levy created a bit of controversy over his Jonathan Anderson look. It features a celebration of LGBTQ+ rights and visibility, while also sending the message that there is still more to be done for the community.

The Met Gala sets tones for future fashion trends and designers. This year’s gala left the fashion world with tones of activism, youth, sub-cultural references and an overall sense of sustainability. 

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