The Vogue Gala Could have been MET-er

It has been a crazy year, and this year’s Met Gala crazy fashion fits that well. The annual Met Gala takes place in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that not only fundraises for the museum, but also allows designers from across the world to showcase their works on celebrities, models, and social media influencers. There is a theme for every event, this year’s theme being, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” The main idea behind this was to showcase American culture from the past, and “establish a modern vocabulary of American fashion based on its expressive qualities,” in the words of the Metropolitan Museum.

The Met Gala usually takes place the first Monday of May, however, due to Covid-19, the Metropolitan Museum of Art postponed the Gala “indefinitely.” During the time when the Gala was being planned for it’s 150th anniversary in 2020, the CDC guidelines included having no more than 50 people indoors with masks. This would have made the Gala impossible, so it was postponed until this year, making it the first year since 1948 that the Gala has not occurred.

The Gala started out as a way to raise money for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum. In 2014, twelve million dollars was raised for the museum, breaking records. There has been much controversy over themes and outfits, and some people dislike when political statements are made at such an expensive event. The Gala costs $30,000 per seat and over $100,000 for a table. It is an iconic event for fashion lovers and celebrities alike, and the designs are always fun to see and review.

I will be reviewing many looks from the Gala and judging them based on their accuracy to the theme, and overall design. It is important to keep in mind that this is my personal opinion and no disrespect is meant towards any designers or models.

Model Quannah Chasinghorse wears Peter Dundas’ design themed around Native American culture. All photos provided by Vogue Magazine

The first look I want to talk about is Peter Dundas’ dress designed for Native model and activist, Quannah Chasinghorse. The dress was a gold metallic fabric, and was styled with authentic Navajo jewelry flown out to New York by Chasinghorse’s aunt. This is a great example of sticking to a theme without letting it tie you down. The Native American roots, both with the design and the model, show American fashion in a way most have not seen on a large scale before. It was a great way to give exposure to a Native model and the causes she chooses to support. Overall, the look is a 9/10.

Kim Kardashian wearing Balenciaga head to toe black capes

Though Chasinghorse’s look was a great success, it’s hard to say the same about Kim Kardashian’s. The look was to promote her husband Kanye West’s new album, Donda. The album cover is simply a black square, and West decided to use the Met Gala as a promotion. This decision makes sense with the West’s past, such as when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMA’s, however, it is a rather self-serving thing to do at a charity event. Overall the design process didn’t seem to be too creative or interesting ,and the look is rather boring. I am rating this look a 2/10.

Nikki De Jagar at the 2021 Met Gala

Marsha P. Johnson, one of the most influential transgender activists of the 20th century. Johnson’s slogan, “Pay It No Mind,” is embroidered onto a blue sash at the bottom of the dress, and the flowers on the skirt and in the headpiece acknowledge Johnson’s most famous picture. The look is amazingly designed and works well with the theme. It shows a piece of fashion and culture that heavily affects the model, along with a large population of LGBTQ+ Americans. It is my first 10/10 rating.

Singer Kehlani wears Alliete

Kehlani showed up at the Gala wearing Alliete, and, suffice it to say, it was unique. The glittering chaps and blazer show a mix of modernity and western fashion. The cropped blazer with a sharp double lapel shows a very urban-centric design, while the hairstyle and pants show a 1970s-era pleasure suit. The straps around Steinfeld’s arms are an interesting choice, though honestly confusing. They don’t seem to allude to any era of American fashion, especially not a western or 70’s disco design. Overall, the design fits the theme and looks fairly good. 7/10.

Ariana DeBose in Michael Kors Collection and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry

Next up, Ariana DeBose in Michael Kors. This look is very obviously themed to be 1920’s era flappers, as well as some 1960s soul singers inspiration. The 1920s were a time where America was coming out of a war, and Kors wanted to represent the pandemic coming to an end with that vision of hope. The dress is very glamorous and classic while giving a modern twist. The earrings and rings also help accentuate the classic look without making it too campy. Overall the design is beautiful and encapsulates the theme quite well. 9/10.

Denim. The great American invention. The great, overused, design prospect at the 2021 Met Gala. So much denim was used this year, we’ll probably have a jean shortage in a few weeks. Now, not all of these looks are “bad,” but the trope of American Denim got very boring, very fast.

Ben Platt had a denim suit, obviously inspired by ’70s disco. 6/10.

CL wore a denim dress inpired by the traditional Korean costume, the hanbok, which technically doesn’t apply to the theme. Yes, she’s Korean, and yes, denim is American(ish) but the costume not only looks like she’s wearing a diaper but doesn’t come close to fitting the theme. A+ for the idea, F for execution. 3/10.

Lupita N’yongo’s look is a bit of an eye-sore at first, but if you understand the inspiration, it’s an understandable eye-sore. (I’m sorry, I hate denim dresses.) N’yongo’s hair is inspired by a Brooklyn-based artist known for creating beautiful paintings of abstract African hair, and it’s amazing! One of the best “accessories,” at the Gala, if you will. The hair fits the theme and has an interesting connection to the designer and model. The dress is a Versace denim dress which is very angular and has a good shape, but it is not aesthetically appealing. The hair is a 10/10, the dress is a 4/10, concluding with a 7/10.

All in all, denim makes sense with the theme, but many designs did not pull it off well. The denim trope as a whole gets a 4/10 from me.

Ciara wears a dress inspired by her NFL husband, Russel Wilson

Ciara understood the assignment. The singer showed up in a lime green sequin dress inspired by her husband, Seahawk player Russel Wilson’s, jersey. She wore her husband’s Superbowl XLVIII ring and a bedazzled football clutch. The shoulder pads imitate a football jersey while the long train gives a very feminine look. The green inspired by the Seahawks makes sense, though is a bit jarring to look at. A darker green or more cyan tone may have been a better design choice, but overall it is not a bad dress. It fits the theme and has personal significance to the model. Overall, it is a 7/10.

Addison Rae wears a 2003 Tom Ford

TikTok has become a big deal in the past few years, and obviously, people are intrigued by the influencers that are popular in this app. However, this invite of Addison Rae, a 21-year-old TikTok influencer, is just odd. She is has gathered 84.7 million followers on TikTok for her dancing videos, but her presence at a fashion centred charity seems confusing, as she isn’t usually a philanthropist and has no connection to the fashion industry. Either way, whether or not she should have been there is not really my problem. However, her dress is. The vintage Tom Ford dress worn by Rae has been seen on so many celebrities it’s not even close to a new or creative look. Maybe Rae’s stylist thought it would be a nice callback to previous red carpets, but it just seemed boring. Although Ford is an American designer, the dress did not seem to fit the theme and was rather bland. Overall the look is a 3/10 from me.

Billie Eilish wears a custom Oscar de la Renta dress

I think everyone can agree that Billie Eilish looked stunning in her “Old Hollywood-esqe” dress, but the inspiration is a tiny bit disappointing. Although the dress looks very old Hollywood, it was apparently inspired by Holiday Barbie. The long train and blush tulle gives a very ethereal and romantic glamour vibe, but the tight bodice and cap sleeves stem from a 1950s or ’60s design. The look is beautiful and makes many celebrities look like they’re going to a high school prom, but it disappointed in terms of theme. The look gets an 8/10 from me.

The 2021 Met Gala seemed to be a great success in terms of both design and fundraising for the museum. While several celebrities failed at both design and theme, most did very well and seemed to enjoy being back to crazy events.