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Met Gala: a Night in America

After much delay, one of the most important nights in fashion served up some of its best looks yet. The Met Gala finally celebrated the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s current exhibition, titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”. The gala is typically held on the first Monday in May, however, COVID-19 prevented the 2020 event from taking place. As a result, the Met Gala took place on September 13.

Co-chairs of this year’s event included Billie Eilish, Timothée Chalamet, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman. Rihanna also announced on social media a week before the gala that she would be hosting the official after-party, so the night was sure to be a stunner from the get-go. However, a lot of controversy surrounded the night, as more influencers from YouTube and TikTok attended the event for the first time. Some of those guests included Addison Rae, Dixie D’Amelio, and Madison Beer. 

One of this year’s co-chairs, Timothée Chalamet, made his debut at the event in a street style yet sleek silhouette. The actor wore a white, satin tuxedo by Haider Ackermann and a Cartier brooch with sweatpants and Converse. Chalamet’s more casual look came in handy, as he walked 10 blocks to the event instead of taking a car. 

Another co-chair, Billie Eilish, made history as the youngest co-chair in the gala’s history. The 19-year-old singer embraced her inner Marilyn Monroe with a skin-tone Oscar de la Renta dress, complete with a dramatic train. She paired the gown with over 30 pieces of Cartier Jewelry and makeup and hair inspired by Old Hollywood. 

Newcomer Pete Davidson also made his Met Gala debut in a black tunic dress by Thom Browne. He paired the dress with a white blazer and black boots. He told Vogue he was going for a “sexy nun” look. In tribute to his late father, who died in service on September 11, 2001, Davidson also wore a custom lapel pin and antique Fred Leighton necklace featuring several of his father’s birthstones, garnets. 

The most noteworthy look of the night was from Met Gala fan-favorite Rihanna and her boyfriend, A$AP Rocky. Arriving fashionably late to the event, Rihanna wore an all-black Balenciaga ruffled coat and matching Stephen Jones Millinery hat. Rocky initially stepped on the carpet wearing a colorful quilt overcoat by ERL before transitioning into a black suit and white, ruffled top. After all of the looks from the night, these definitely stole the show. 

This year also featured many outspoken ensembles. Cara Delevingne wore a white custom bulletproof-style vest by Dior, inscribed with “peg the patriarchy” in red print. Though Delevingne took credit for the idea in a video with Vogue, it was quickly revealed that “peg the patriarchy” was actually “coined [and trademarked] by an artist and sex educator named Luna Matatas,” according to The Mary Sue. (Matatas, a queer person of color, has also stated that she was neither consulted nor paid for the use of her slogan.)

Other looks included “Schitt’s Creek” actor Dan Levy in a custom Loewe ensemble featuring an image of two men kissing, which was an adaptation of the work of artist and activist David Wojnarowicz. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a white, mermaid-cut gown by Brother Vellies with “tax the rich” printed in red on the back. Critics have called her out for the irony of the dress, as it reportedly costs $30,000 per person to attend the event, according to Fortune

The most courageous political look was from Congresswoman Carolyn Bosher Maloney, who wore a gown designed by Antonios Couture. The vibrantly colored ensemble included sashes embroidered with the words “equal rights for women,” and Maloney carried a coordinating purse with “ERA YES” on it. The colors of Maloney’s gown were those of the suffragette movement — purple, white, and gold.

The Met Gala is famous for its avant-garde fashion, and with that comes a lot of criticism on certain looks. Some looks that were highly criticized at this year’s gala included Kim Kardashian’s full-body black Balenciaga moment, Kim Petras’s horse head dress by Collina Strada, and Addison Rae’s red Tom Ford for Gucci gown.

For better or worse, the night was definitely memorable in the world of fashion. We can only hope these celebrities bring the same energy to next year’s Met Gala red carpet.