The Met Gala staged its in-person return with predictable wow moments, and I-hope-the-stylist-remembered-to-tape-that-strap-firmly moments. The theme was the lexicon of American fashion, per the Met’s big new exhibit. Some people read the invite, some people thought about it, some people addressed it intelligently, others playfully, and others just dressed up and down for the sheer hell of it. Lil Nas X triumphed in gold, Kim Kardashian was encased in black, A$AP Rocky coveted a colorful blanket, Billie Eilish was Marilyn, and much skin was on show.
There is certainly a lot of skin on display at the Met this muggy Monday night, barely encased in some very beautiful clothes. Cara Delevingne let her pantsuit top do the talking: it read “Peg the Patriarchy.” And then there is Kim Kardashian, who arrived in New York a few days ago in what looked like a bondage mask.
Lil Nas X had performed a fabulous costume change medley, and Iman showed the meaning of dressing up to anyone who thought something sparkly would suffice—Kim K had to be guided up the steps, all in black head to toe. Maybe this will catch on, and we will soon be wandering the streets not only in masks but utterly encased. Slits for eyes for seeing, slits for noses for breathing, and slits for mouths for eating will be seen as strictly for wimps. What fun we shall have.
Kim Kardashian looked joyous and upbeat in this all-black jumpsuit that covered her full body, complete with a face mask. At least it’s COVID-safe.
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X performed three costume changes on the carpet: robe, body armor, then bodysuit. Twinkling, thrumming, ruling, with gold. And a divine triumph of the “gay agenda” that he resoundingly trumpeted at the VMAs. He returned to the amazing armor look once inside.
A$AP Rocky and Rihanna
They arrived super-late, photographers came to blows trying to see what the big reveal would be, and there it was. A$AP Rocky wore a colorful blanket we all need to be wrapped up in when times are tough or we have a cold and only Dawson’s Creek reruns on Netflix will do, and Rihanna wore a gorgeous Balenciaga gown. Under that magnificent granny blanket was a sharp tux, by the way. Great. But not show-stopping, and one hopes those photographers are all now having a drink, commiserating over the absurdity of it all.
This is how you dress for the Met Gala. Shimmer, drama, a hat that will repel all unwelcome attention, and welcome all the right kind. Wow, one has to dance in this divine Harris Reed creation.
Majestic coolness, and someone who read the invite. Red, white and blue, y’see. Zac Posen designed this, from distressed denim top half to flowing, shredded skirt and fluttering train.
One of the night’s first arrivals, Keke Palmer, made a case for ending the night right here and letting us all go home. How could it get better than this shimmering bodycon number straight off the Sergio Hudson spring runway?
Last night, her partner Machine Gun Kelly wore a glittering red suit, tonight Megan Fox wore the lady-equivalent from Dundas. It took 50 people to embroider the dress, and had to be assembled.
Glinda the Good Witch is with us, in Miu Miu. Actually, this is a reference to Hedy Lamarr in Ziegfeld Girl.
You won’t find better diamonds in the hair, ever. Crisp and beautiful in white. But the diamonds!
Earlier in the night, Illana Glazer posted an Instagram story of her Met Gala prep, which included breast pumping (the Broad City star became a mom in July). “Making milk,” she said. “Met milk.” And then she slipped into this dramatic feathered number hand-sewn by Jason Rembert of Alietté. Cool mom!
JLo's dramatic Wild West Ralph Lauren look imagined a super sexy Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Americana never looked so good. And neither did the color brown.
Gymnast Nia Dennis did a casual backflip on the red carpet in her electric blue catsuit.
One of the biggest names in fashion pays homage to an American titan of the industry: Anna Wintour in Oscar de la Renta. “It was the great Oscar de la Renta who brought me to the museum, so I wanted to honor him,” she told Keke Palmer on the red carpet.
Timothée Chalamet, a co-chair this year, wore white, with dashes of black on the collar to add drama—a short waiter’s jacket, loose-then-tapered trousers, and white sneakers. Some jewels casually on the waist. He really does thoughtfully dress for his gay fanbase, time after time.
Very few people stick to themes of a Met Gala, at least visibly—so, props for this at least to Dem congresswoman Carolyn Maloney who wore a dress with “Rights for Women” and “ERA Yes,” to signal her desire for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Co-chair, poet, and headband queen Amanda Gorman wore a crystal headpiece and sparkling eye makeup to pair with a navy blue gown by Vera Wang. There were 3,000 hand-sewn crystals blazed on the gown, which she told Keke Palmer on the red carpet was a nod to the “Statue of Liberty.” It was a thoughtful outfit: she wore a laurel crown to represent her poetry and toted a clutch that read “Give me your tired.” Gorman said she wanted to celebrate “America welcoming the world.”
Leon Bridges told Keke Palmer on the red carpet he did not agree with the “politics” of his home state, Texas, but he was referencing the state with his Bode jacket. The first dose of yeehaw charm from the evening.
Now this is an outfit that you wear after a year and a half indoors. Julia Garner mixed all the naked trends: see-through, leotard, an ab-slit by the famously American designer Stella McCartney.
Ella Emhoff referenced the great American tradition of... figure skating warm-up practice? The inspiration for her fishnet, rhinestone, fire engine onesie looked like it could have been an ice rink. Either way, the newly-minted model looked very comfortable in Stella McCartney.
Channeled Josephine Baker in custom Dior. Transcendent.
Dripping in pearls, in a corset dress designed by Jonathan Simkhai. It’s giving me elegant saloon energy, though that purple eyeshadow is all Gen Z.
In Thom Browne and a black skirt, the SNL star coyly showed his calves, and called himself a “slutty nun.” He is also wearing jewelry made to honor his firefighter father Scott, and everyone who died on 9/11.
The brilliant Mj Rodriguez—the standout actor and star of Pose—is wearing gorgeous monochromatic Thom Browne; a collision of modern and old, she said. Her historic Emmy nomination—she is the first trans woman to be nominated for a lead acting Emmy—gave her the opportunity to speak for trans people all over the world, she said.
Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz
Young love is a beautiful thing, even though if it feels slightly odd, and you very old, when you remember one of its participants as a young boy. Peltz is wearing Valentino.
Tracee Ellis Ross
Tracee Ellis Ross worked the bathrobe chic trend, nailing that elusive comfortable-but-put-together vibe in a Balenciaga couture number.
Dressed by Loewe, a David Wojnarowicz artwork, an image of men kissing as a declarative image of queer love and equality: perfect statement dressing. And extremely handsome.
Dressed by boyfriend Reuben Selby in this futuristic piece of fabulosity, Williams said this was a tribute to American movie heroines and The Matrix. And that is her hair, not a hat.
The black jumper of the VMAs has GONE. Instead, enter the bombshell, with this gorgeous, winning tribute to Marilyn Monroe by Oscar de la Renta. And the likely cause of a thousand falls and trips in the Met, as people try not to step on that train. “I am shivering and shaking,” she said. “I am so excited, and couldn't be happier.” Apparently, she leveraged her influence to get the designer to stop using fur in his clothing.
One night after killing it in metallics at the VMAs, Saweetie was back in Christian Cowan, wearing a flesh-baring gown that must make her stylist hold their breath. It came with symbolism too: Saweetie said that the dress came draped with tributes to the Black American and Filipino heritage flags.
Naomi Osaka, another co-chair, said her older sister worked with Louis Vuitton to create the look, which represents her background as a Haitian and Japanese American. “Americana means a mix of all cultures,” she told Keke Palmer on the red carpet.
What’s better than a cape? A feathered cape (duh), says Serena Williams. She threw it over a lace catsuit, which recalled the jumpsuit she wore, and was unfairly fined for, on the tennis court in 2018.
An Elon-less Grimes brought a sword to the red carpet, because of course she did. She told Illana Glazer on the red carpet that her look was inspired by the upcoming movie, Dunes. Watch below the video of the making of Grimes’s “Dune-esque” 2021 Met Gala look, plus, the meaning behind her sword.
In classic Ralph Lauren, and stars and stripes for the hair...
Skin, skin, and metallics in this Prabal Gurung dress, inspired by the Venus de Milo.
Megan Thee Stallion
A super cute, if conventional, Coach pinup look from Megan Thee Stallion. It’s very mid-aughts does 1940s retro—cue the Christina Aguilera.
Kim Petras wore the cool person label of the moment, Collina Strada, to pay her respects to “horse girls.” The designer, Hillary Taymour, also wore a horse around her neck. Both were based on her ponies from childhood, named Justin and Kangaroo. It took four hours for Petras to get ready, probably due to her extra-long braid. Fashion!
Karlie Kloss wore cherry red Carolina Herrera and walked the carpet not with her husband, Jared’s brother Joshua Kushner, but creative director Wes Gordon. It was, overall, fine. It wasn’t a risk or particularly interesting, but its Americana color got the job done. Bonus points for Gordon’s matching, extra-large red lapel rose.
Irina Shayk debuted a pixie cut and had some fun with Jeremy Scott in a see-through corset gown with floral appliqués. The naked dress is back, she says!
Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson looks ready to dance in a crop top and pants (maybe it’s a jumpsuit?). Whatever it is, I’ll take a seat at her table, please.
Praise the Lorde, who arrived looking like she’s not quite over 2018’s “Heavenly Bodies” theme. Note that the Vogue September issue cover star is wearing flats. We love a comfy queen.
Megan Rapinoe looked quite star-spangled, and had one of the best accessories of the night: a clutch that read “In Gay We Trust.”
Precious Lee’s custom Area ensemble weighs 100 pounds, and the model needed a team of four people to help her get dressed. That sounds cruel and unusual, but she looks fabulous.
Skirt or suit? Why pick one when you can have both, as Virgil Abloh shows? Bonus points for the rabbit ear hat.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a gown that read, “Tax the rich” to an event where seats cost $60,000, because she’s always reading the room. It was designed by Aurora James, the designer behind Brother Vellies who launched the 15 Percent Pledge, where retailers can sign on to dedicate that amount of store shelves to brands led by people of color.
Hailey and Justin Bieber
Hailey wore Yves Saint Laurent and Justin Bieber modeled a new branch of his clothing line, dubbed La Maison Drew. Their basic black ensembles were the bare minimum—snooze.
It’s easy to look elegant when you’re Gemma Chan, but this mini dress/train situation takes her effortless chicness to new levels.
Gabrielle Union in Iris Van Herpen is the stuff of Met Gala dreams—you can’t go wrong with this structural beauty.
Taika Waititi and Rita Ora
Can glamor be sexy? Can men and women ever look really, perfectly well matched? Well, yes they can!