This year’s theme for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Benefit was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” a celebration of fashion from the United States.
The beige carpet of the pandemic-delayed 2021 Met Gala has finally rolled out. The broadly interpreted theme, ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’, was embraced by a star studded guest list of designers, musical artists, models and more controversially, influencers and teenage TikTok dancers.
Here’s what Qatar’s social media users had to say about this year’s guest list and some of the exhibits of fashion absurdism in New York this year.
Controversy was at the heart of this year’s Met Gala.
A fake seating plan for the event circulated in public spheres in August and saw the likes of TikTok dancer Addison Rae seated next to Italian design legend Donatella Versace.
While the plan was later revealed to be fabricated, it prompted a larger conversation on how much one of the best known names in fashion has in common with 20 year old social media dancer that does the bare minimum for millions of views.
At the core of this discourse, many wondered if being “rich, young, and white” was the only criteria needed for an invite from Vogue Chief Anna Wintour, the face of the Met Gala.
For a highly-anticipated event for the fashion and design realm, many were confused and critical of the choice to invite names that have done little for the industry, such as social media influencers and TikTok stars.
Another Twitter user pointed out how men failed to “try” to creatively interpret this year’s theme.
“Anna Wintour needs to ban tuxes and suites so these men actually have to TRY #MetGala,” tweeted one user.
Frankly, I wonder how a plain black tuxedo screams “American fashion.”
Meanwhile, Rihanna’s highly anticipated Met Gala appearance was the talk of the event.
The artist has established a powerful presence at the benefit for years, with her iconic 2015 yellow dress by Guo Pei, her papal John Galliano fit for the 2018 Heavenly Bodies event, and others, to name a few.
This year, Rihanna stepped out in a massive Balenciaga overcoat and matching hat alongside rapper A$AP Rocky, who donned an equally massive quilt-inspired look by ERL only to take it off (and reveal yet another basic male Met Gala staple). One thing’s for sure, the two looked very cozy.
— ♡ (@shnoaimi_) September 14, 2021
Social media users in Qatar also yearned for Rihanna to follow in the footsteps of her date and reveal a new look under the coat-dress. “I was waiting for her to drop that big black trench coat for the final #MetGala look,” said one user.
Old Hollywood and Cowboy Galore
This year’s guests were meant to embody Americana. From tributes to American designers, to manifestations of American cultural symbols, let’s see who understood the assignment at this year’s Met Gala.
Staring off with some controversial fits, popular American Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ made her Met Gala debut in a white gown by Brother Vellies.
The back revealed a bold message – “Tax the Rich,” in bright, red letters. This received polarising reviews, with some finding it hypocritical to make the statement at an event where tickets run for $35,000 apiece and tables can rack up to $300,000.
Up next we have Somali-American supermodel Iman who turned heads in a massive gold feathered headpiece by young designer Harris Reed. Iman was reminiscent of a Fourth-of- July firework, and mad a big bang on the beige carpet.
It’s been a big year for artist Olivia Rodrigo, who’s debut album Sour has skyrocketed the teen musician to instant worldwide success. Her Met Gala look, however, was not as big of a hit. She took the carpet in a sheer “punk” inspired Saint Laurent bodysuit, suggesting she made the right choice of going into music instead of fashion.
Met Gala co-chair musician Billie Eillish walked the carpet in a soft peach Oscar de la Renta gown and a coif heavily inspired by Old Hollywood stars Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly.
Co-chair Timothée Chalamet paired a Haider Ackermann tuxedo jacket with sweatpants and high Converse sneakers. The mismatch screams American but also reminds us of when you can’t really figure out how formal an event is.
Old Hollywood was the pool of inspiration for many guests, including rapper Megan Thee Stallion who donned an asymmetrical Coach dress with a ruffled hem with her styled in Old Hollywood glamour waves.
Legendary hip hop and soul artists Erykah Badu was giving Abraham Lincoln wearing Thom Browne. The designer fitted Badu in a black silk scarf with white satin buttons, a sportcoat and suspender skirt, satin lapels, black lace-up boots and a black sausage dog bag. As always, Badu understands the assignment.
Now, onto the cowboys and maidens.
Actress MJ Rodriguez channeled Scarlett O’Hara in a billowy white blouse and corset ensemble, while Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh embraced the American West in matching black satin white lined suits complete with gold-tipped boots and bolo ties.
The Crown actor Josh O’Connor paid homage to 50s rock’n’roll legend Elvis Presley, mirroring the late musical star’s iconic blue blazer.
Finally, Kim Kardashian made a statement in a head-to-toe black Balenciaga fit complete with a face covering that dominated the headlines, but fell short of the theme.