The Met Gala looks this year were… eclectic to say the least.
Typically held the first Monday in May, the Met Gala is arguably one of the most exclusive and biggest fashion events of the year. The Gala is held in New York City as a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and while the event has been canceled the past two Mays, it was finally held Sept. 13.
Every year the Met Gala has a theme correlating the exhibition on display at the Costume Institute. This year, the theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” While a broad theme, celebrities and designers sought inspiration from old Hollywood to futuristic, from the wild west to football — and they did not come to play.
One of the most prominent inspirations at the Gala was old Hollywood. A term coined for American film from the 1910s to the ‘60s, it’s an aesthetic personified by glamour and lavishness. Think icons like Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe.
Billie Eilish channeled the latter two in her gorgeous ball gown designed by Oscar de la Renta — who Eilish inspired to drop fur going forward — albeit the color washed her out a bit. Eilish told Keke Palmer in her interview that she was also inspired by Holiday Barbie, another famous American icon. Her gown was jaw-dropping and one of the most memorable looks of the night.
Other celebrities giving old Hollywood included Kaia Gerber, in a stunning black gown also by Oscar de la Renta. Megan Thee Stallion, Kit Harrington and Rose Lesley also sought inspiration from the ‘50s and old Hollywood. Others like Emily Blunt, Kendall Jenner and Gemma Chan took direct inspiration from celebrities Hedy Lamarr (“Ziegfeld Girl”), Audrey Hepburn (“My Fair Lady”) and Anna May Wong (“Shanghai Express”), respectively.
Anok Yia, one of the best dressed of the night, did a look inspired by ‘20s French-American activist and entertainer Josephine Baker. Barbie Ferreira also channeled the ‘20s flapper-burlesque aesthetic, wearing one of the most beautiful gowns of the evening. While she looked amazing, her hair did not match the vibe of the dress and should have been done up in a ‘20s-style bob.
Timothée Chalamet was Gatsby on top, and sweatpants and converse on the bottom, all of which fit the theme.
Some attendees channeled more modern American icons, including host Keke Palmer with a Dianna Ross inspired look, or Lupita Nyong’o with a Britney Spears denim dress moment. Then there was Channing Tatum, who supposedly was going for a JFK junior look — although all he was serving was a regular tuxedo.
Lil Nas X pulled a Lady Gaga on the red carpet by showcasing three different looks — Gaga did this at the 2019 Met Gala by layering four different looks — starting with a regal gold cape and ending with a gold metallic Versace bodysuit.
Others went for an aesthetic so uniquely American: the wild west. Maluma — arguably the best-dressed man of the night — wore a bright red Versace cowboy look. Then there was Jennifer Lopez who served Indiana Jones in a look designed by iconic American designer Ralph Lauren.
What’s more American than the wild west? Football. Ciara wore a sparkly dress with her husband Russell Wilson’s number, as well as his Super Bowl ring. While not the best look of the night, it certainly fit the theme.
While many celebrities delivered, others not so much. The Biebers rolled up looking like they were part of the security detail — at least Hailey’s dress was pretty. Kim Petras served horse girl, Kim Kardashian arrived in what looked like a black morph suit and Madison Beer looked like she was late for her prom in 2010.
While Rihanna has been known to bring some of the best looks to the Met every year, her and ASAP Rocky fell flat on the theme. It was giving “we just came back from a sleepover” more than Americana.
A theme as broad as American fashion warrants a range of looks that weren’t entirely cohesive or on point. While there were definitely some amazing looks, nothing quite compares to “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” in 2018 (who can forget Blake Lively or Rihanna’s looks).