Met Gala 2021 Felt Muted, Relatively Speaking, Of Course. Here Were Some Outrageous Looks We Loved, Film Companion

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit in New York, also known as The Met Gala, also known as “The Oscars Of East Coast” opened today. The last Met Gala, held in 2019 under the theme of “Camp: Notes on Fashion”, was an extravagant display of texture, sweep, style, and sex. Who can forget Kim Kardashian wearing a skin-tone custom Thierry Mugler covered in white crystals that resembled water droplets, making her look like she just emerged from the Pacific Ocean on the West Coast, wet hair and everything?  

While the Met Gala is usually held on the first Monday in May, the pandemic shifted things around and here we are, in September. It is a downscaled event. New York Times Fashion director Vanessa Friedman noted, “[T]he guest list is about a third smaller than usual — and it’s very youth-focused.” 

Also Read: 13 Of The Most Outrageous Looks From The History Of The Met Gala

This year’s theme is “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”, and while perhaps we expected the same audaciousness of the 2019 Met, this year’s contenders were more muted. The extravagance, like Lil Nas X’s stripping down to reveal three different outfits, had a been-there-seen-that vibe from Lady Gaga’s own mini-performance on the red carpet in 2019. 

Even the dame of the Met Gala, Rihanna, who per usual arrived late, wearing charcoal black Balenciaga, had a very, well, classic look, elevated by that beanie.

Then there was KimK herself, who came completely masked. This would have felt more novel had she not done the very same look in black leather with Demna Gvasalia two days ago. 

But there were also moments of stunning craft, bizarre staging, and outsized sweep. Here are some of our favourite moments from the Met Gala red carpet

Hunter Shafer from Euphoria fame wore an archive Prada, with a spider face and white lenses. 

Tracee Ellis Ross in blue Balenciaga was all the texture we asked for. 

Billie Eilish, the 19-year old music phenomenon, and co-host of the Met Gala only agreed to wear her peach Oscar de la Renta if the company ended all their fur sales. Her sweeping look, an homage to Marilyn Monroe was so dreamy and airy, perched on the stairs.  

The always fashion-dependable Dan Levy came prepped in custom LOEWE, looking like “what a gay superhero might wear”. Including artwork by the artist and LGBTQ activist David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992), his look “reappropriates a homophobic cartoon to instead celebrate same-sex love”

Of course since the theme was America, the cowboy and horsegirl representation was inevitable and thriving on the carpet. 


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The Dogs Of Met Gala had their spotlight

Timothée Chalamet in a satin Haider Ackermann tuxedo, with sweatpants and Converse all star was the precise mood of America — half in half out, half athleisure, half diamond glitter. 

When we asked for sweep, Normani’s Valentino  silk taffeta mustard-yellow gown was exactly what we had in mind! Completely helped by Carrie Mulligan’s bright pink Valentino haute couture as the perfect colour blocking contrast. 

Though we were starved of the usual bizarre-quotient Iman, in Harris Reed with a halo-like headpiece and an overskirt, both in feathers, was a lewk.  

Then there was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a Brother Vellies gown that got everyone on Twitter ranting or raving. A social message to tax the rich at a dinner with the richest of the rich? Radical or rabble-rousing? Both? 

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