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The death of the Met Gala

Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap…

What was that? Not the chirps from the goslings on Lyman Lakes, but the sound coming from my mouth in reaction to the Met Gala red carpet this year. A wise woman once said, money cannot buy taste. This is reaffirmed every awards season as the world’s most accomplished celebrities file onto a carpet to disappoint America one red bottom at a time. The primary reason for this year’s public outroar is the complete disregard for this year’s theme: Gilded Glamour, i.e. the Gilded Age. I recognize that fashion is interpretive; however, with all due respect to the designers featured at the Gala, there is no excuse for sacrificing the theme (and the art of fashion design) to satisfy the wishes of a nepotism baby. 

An outstanding example of a look that abided by the historical understanding of the Gilded Age while experimenting with fashion was seen on Evan Mock. The color, the modified spin on corsetry and the collar of his shirt! This is proof that men’s red carpet wear can be more than a tux embroidered with flowers or the nation’s flag. Bad Bunny was also an example of elevated gala wear appropriate for the Met’s event. He, unlike many of this year’s attendees, did research on the Gilded Age, specifically in Puerto Rico. The shape and tailoring of his floor-length coat  addressed both the feminine and masculine silhouettes of the 19th century while maintaining the contemporary flair that Burberry executes so well. 

The main attraction of the night came from the Kardashians, and not for good reason. The crime committed by Kylie Jenner in Off-White was one for the books. With respect to Virgil Abloh and his legacy, this is bad. Quite possibly one of the worst Met Gala looks I have seen next to Amy Schumer’s coat dress (also seen that evening). The dress itself was fine, but in combination with the snapback veil and the hair and makeup choices, it was a disaster. Kendall Jenner’s ensemble was poorly executed as well, though I do applaud the brave choice of the bleached eyebrows. The only member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan that I will tip my hat to is Kris Jenner. Her homage to Jackie Kennedy was 90 years off the theme, but she was a beacon of hope in the darkness of her children’s demise. 

My honorable mentions are Lenny Kravitz, David Harbour, Billie Eilish and Blake Lively. Lenny Kravitz’s sex appeal has been growing exponentially over time and there is no end in sight. The stylistic use of lace to create a corset effect, alongside his cape, emphasized his regal rockstar attitude. This expression of using 19th-century details to support one’s essence is what the Met Gala should be. David Harbour and Billie Eilish were chronically on-theme, so much so that one could assume that they rented their ensembles from Carleton’s costume shop. While I tease their “costumey” attire, I was refreshed by the literal take on the Gilded Age in a sea of fashionably and historically challenged participants. 

In contrast to Heavenly Bodies – the Met Gala from 2018 – where almost every celebrity present delivered, this year’s event was an all-time low. The disconnect between the upper echelon and their understanding of historical context depletes any hope I have for future Met Gala participants. Lastly, I would appreciate it if Anna Wintour would both dress for the theme she assigned and stop inviting Addison Rae.

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