Villa-Vogue: The 2021 Met Gala Fashion Recap | Culture
On the second Monday in September, the upper section of Fifth Avenue in New York City was filled with cream-colored carpets and snap pumps for the first time in more than two years. What seemed like an eternity of silence for the fashion world has finally come to an end with the return of the 2021 Met Gala.
For those who may not know, the Met Gala is the fashion equivalent of the Oscars. Fashion’s Super Bowl, if you will. It’s the party of the year when everyone comes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the Costume Institute’s new annual exhibition. Each Met Gala adorns a different, far from bland theme that every A-lister tries to outdo. This year’s theme was “In America: A Fashion Lexicon.“
The theme of “American independence” seems simple. Just put on a pair of cowboy boots, a belt with one of those big buckles, maybe even dress from head to toe in red, white and blue, right? Wrong.
Andrew Bolton, curator in charge of the Costume Institute, told Vogue that he focused this year’s event on the question “Who is becoming American?” Today’s American fashion designers are at the forefront of conversations surrounding diversity, sustainability, gender fluidity and body positivity. That being said, the Gala theme has become a framework for designers to engage thoughtfully with their pieces for the show.
The 2021 Met Gala featured over 100 pieces, ranging from Marc Jacobs to Reunion Island. Not a single set came close to the previous one, but each represented the common theme. So, without further ado, here’s what American independence looks like, or at least through the reach of our nation’s A-listers.
Let’s start by collecting some of our favorite looks of the night.
Iman to Harris Reed- The model stole the show with a fully handmade gold leaf crown, jacquard bustier and flares, adorned with a huge statement created in collaboration with Vivienne Lake.
Kendall Jenner in Givenchy- Jenner is no stranger to the red carpet, but her Givenchy ensemble may be her best effort yet. The dress, which was adorned with crystals and a jeweled neck piece, was inspired by the house’s muse and once American sweetheart, Audrey Hepburn.
Kaia Gerber in Oscar de la Renta- A nod to old Hollywood, Gerber looked timeless in her black strapless Oscar de la Renta ball gown. The piece was a tribute to Bianca Jagger, who wore a similar Dior piece at the 1981 Met Gala. Kaia Gerber’s corset top was lined with beautiful ivy vines embroidered in black. I don’t want to be dramatic or anything, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look more flawless in my life.
Lorde in Bode- Lorde waved the flag of sustainability by displaying a custom embroidered two-piece that celebrated the American arts and crafts movement. Designer Emily Bode is known for designing her men’s clothing with recycled fabrics and clothing. To accompany his motto of sustainability, Bode brilliantly showcased Lorde’s dress with detailed handwork of pressed coins, 1920s cabochons, and 1940s cracker jack charms in support of upcycling. From white leather slip-ons to the jeweled crown and everything in between, Lorde’s ensemble has to be my favorite of the night.
TimothÃ©e Chalamet in a ~ mix ~ of designers- Chalamet’s Met Gala 2021 ensemble received a range of opinions due to its more âlaxâ look. While some found the decision to wear sweatpants and Chuck Taylor All Stars at the biggest fashion event to date inappropriate, I personally found the juxtaposition to be quite powerful. Despite the fact that Chalamet’s outfit could serve as a New York Uniform weekend, he rocked it while sporting some of the world’s most respected designers. The formality of the Rick Owens turtleneck and Haider Ackermann satin tuxedo jacket contrasted with the informality of the sweatpants and sneakers. Ackermann, a French designer, told Vogue: âWhenever I visit America, I am always struck by the wonderful clash of upscale and downtown cultures, music and sports, and all that energy that mixes together. ” The Gala co-host’s look paid homage to the contrasts of American fashion by implementing a fusion of urban style and elegant couture.
I could write a novel focusing on the success story of each gala outfit this year, but I’ll save you some time. There are still a number of questionable looks that need to be discussed, so please grab a seat and microwave some popcorn because you’re up for a ride.
AOC in Aurora James– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, United States Representative for New York’s 14th Congressional District, definitely wins the crown for the most memorable yet controversial look of the night. AOC wore a white mermaid dress with the message “Tax the Rich” scrawled across her back in large red print. I don’t want to form biased opinions from my work, so let’s take a look at both sides of the argument. Many supporters across AOC believe that it was necessary for the activist to speak out by attending such an event. However, praise has been repeatedly rejected with claims that “A true socialist would not attend a 35,000 ticket event in the first place” (John Ganz, Gawker.com). However, it does not come down to a debate between left and right. Politics aside, most viewers found her dress hypocritical and cloying due to the environment she was in. The Met Gala is known for hosting the richest personalities in the world, where a ticket alone costs $ 35,000 and a table costs $ 300,000. While it’s still not clear whether AOC had to pay a ticket or not, many found the statement on her dress hypocritical as she partied and stood with the Faces of Wealth on her own. Many claim the congresswoman used the term as an excuse to attend the extravagant event rather than doing beneficial work for the message behind it. In order to get further opinions on the matter, I selected a random sample of Villanova students and asked them if they supported holding the AOC public statement. The search ended with 83% of Villanovans against the question, with a slim 17% support.
Frank Ocean at Prada- Frank Ocean made a surprise appearance at the Met Gala in a black Prada sports jacket and pants. The most notable part of her ensemble is an animatronic baby puppet painted in neon green to match Ocean’s dyed hair. The puppet waved to the crowd as singer Pink + White held the prop on her hip and posed for photos. The puppet wore a jumpsuit printed with a design from Ocean’s new luxury business, Homer. The robot baby has received negative feedback from the nation as the message behind the doll isn’t clear, but to be blunt (no pun intended), I don’t care. It’s Frank Ocean. Frank Ocean can do whatever he wants.
Kim Kardashian in Balenciaga – The bar was high for Kim Kardashian, who is known to outperform her previous Met Gala looks since her first debut in 2013. This year, Kardashian wore a black Balenciaga haute couture gown unlike anyone has seen before. The set covered the A-lister from head to toe, completely obscuring the famous physique she is most famous for. The look gave Kardashian something she hasn’t known in a while: anonymity. While I find the post quite intriguing, Kim’s outfit has been the inspiration for many viral memes.
Addison Rae in Gucci- Newly famous influencer Addison Rae surprised many with her Met Gala debut in a 2003 electric red Tom Ford dress for Gucci. Rae received a huge amount of backlash for attending the event due to the issue of her fame and received hatred over rumors of the reuse of Kourtney Kardashian’s 2019 Christmas dress. Despite the uncertainty as to the veracity of the rumor, many Met Gala followers are furious that such an elite event invites a TikToker rather than other A-listers.
Kim Petras in Collina Strada- Kim Petras wore a 3D horse head at the Met Gala. No thanks and I have said enough.
Finally, it’s clear that the 2021 Met Gala was full of good looks and bad looks and an array of messages about American independence. The event certainly proved that fashion is an artistic medium for more than a few stitches and hems. Art is fashion and fashion is art. On to the 2022 Met Gala for “An Anthology of Fashion”. We’ll see each other there.