Culture Files: Met Gala Monday Recap


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Perhaps the closest, Addison Rae, was wearing a red dress that was speculated by the E! Hosts to be a vintage Tom Ford. Both Dixie and Addison’s dresses were plain, giving homecoming or prom vibes more than Met Gala.

Normally the first Monday in May, the Met Gala is a major outlet for celebrities and influencers to showcase their style in elaborate ways. But unfortunately due to COVID and extra prosecutions in place, the Gala has been canceled for the last two years. Bumped to September in an attempt to still hold the event, Anna Wintour decided that this year the Gala would be a two-part party; one hosted now and another on the first Monday in May (theme to be announced in January. The Met Gala also known as the Met Ball has the goal to raise funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art each year. With COVID-19 impacting the celebrity get-together two years ago, now in 2021, the Gala is back from the two-year gap. The theme on Monday the 13th, was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” to celebrate and match the Costume Institution’s theme’s new exhibit. The massive amounts of photographers, media, and endorsement deals from designers make the Met Ball one of, if not the most prestigious party invite in the world.

With a two-year break in between the last Met, you would think that celebrities and designers would have had more time to pull together personal, and more impactful outfits. With the theme focusing on American culture and with the social changes America has been experiencing these past two years I expected to see more statement pieces about these radical movements. However, I was sorely mistaken. While the majority of this year’s attendees looked decent, many missed the mark entirely. Many seemed to be heading off to a glorified prom, not a $30k a table charity event being live-streamed on every channel. While a simple and classy look is hard to mess up, when so many celebrities are doing it at once the true creativity of the Met Gala gets lost.

Kim Kardashian, The embodiment of American Culture?

Easily one of the most notable looks of the night was Kim Kardashian’s take on JK Rowling’s character the dementor. Covered head to toe in a black Balenciaga morphsuit, one would think that at a glance the Kardashian would be unrecognizable; however, the icon was noticed immediately and she truly did have one of the most theme fitting dresses of the night. At first thought, an all-black look would appear to fall short of the American theme. The figure-fitting dress did hug her curves but left the rest up to the viewers’ imagination – nonetheless, one thing everyone knew was who it was. 

My interpretation of her outfit is that it is a nod to the American socialite’s influence on and of American Culture. Being recognized by just her iconic curves is something that no other could pull off. Kim Kardashian did not need stars or stripes to fill the theme of American Lexicon because she is American fashion.

Social Media Influencers Among Celebrities

Addison Rae, Dixie D’Amelio, and Emma Chamberlain all missed the mark. While each girl brought her best to the Gala, not a single one of their outfits screamed American fashion to the crowd. Perhaps the closest, Addison, was wearing a red dress that was speculated by the E! Hosts to be a vintage Tom Ford. Both Dixie and Addison’s dresses were plain, giving homecoming or prom vibes more than Met Gala. Perhaps the two were making up for the prom they lost when COVID was at its peak? What set the older D’Amelio apart from the other two influencers was her protruding black hat, although still not a nod to American culture. Perhaps the two TikTokers and YouTuber Chamberlin hoped to pull a Kim Kardashian and thought that their very presence would be enough to demonstrate American culture? If that’s so, I would lay claim that none of these three girls, least of all Dixie and Addison, has not been around long enough to make any sort of cultural influence outside the realm of social media- unlike Kim K. 

Addison’s red dress was ill-fitting in the middle and offered up an attempt at a popular corset look, which failed miserably when matched with her new haircut and out-of-place jewelry. Rae’s hairdresser stayed up all night to cut and bleach her hair when in reality they both should have gone to bed. Addison’s inspiration was the early 2000’s. While the dress was a decent attempt at that, the Met is a place for influencers to showcase their most extravagant style which Addison fell short of.

Dixie D’Amelio was going for Audrey Hepburn’s inspiration with her black cocktail dress and shoulder-length gloves. Nonetheless, when combined with the larger-than-life headpiece, Dixie became hidden and appeared dainty as if she would collapse under the weight of the hat. Although the nod to Audrey Hepburn is very fitting for the American Culture theme, the shorter dress got in the way of Dixie’s true potential. Perhaps if the dress was longer and more similar to Hepburn’s classy Breakfast at Tiffany’s appearance, the outfit would have gone over better.

Talk About Using Your Platform

Billie Eilish, well known for her baggy, oversized fashion, long nails, and neon hair did a complete 180 from her usual style. In what appeared to be an attempt to break away from her normal style, the “Ocean Eyes” singer walked onto the carpet in a billowy princess dress and a dark lip. But her change in style and hair were not the most influential choices she made that night – it was the dress itself. 

The princess dress was designed by Oscar de la Renta as a nod to old Hollywood. The best part, however, was that before Billie walked onto the carpet, she had the house of Oscar de la Renta agree to stop using animal fur in their designs. While other influencers stand high on their self-made podiums and promote ads for stomach flattening teas or skincare products, Eilish is using her platforms in ways that not many other celebrities have. Her love for animals and her progress as an animal activist has gone beyond her just becoming vegan but now extends to the fashion industry. I hope that along with Oscar de la Renta, Billie’s actions push other influencers and fashion designers to create more environmental and animal-friendly fashion options.

Men in Fashion…Who Didn’t Wear Just A Tux?

What could be more American than sweatpants and converse sneakers? According to Timothee Chalamet, nothing better could fit the American theme. Clad in a white blazer, sweats, and white high-top converse, Timothee proved that among men in fashion it does not take much to stand out. His white satin blazer was a contrast to almost every other male’s black tuxedo featured at the Met. The balloon trousers looked comfortable to wear and the black contrasting lapel on the blazer popped against the all-white outfit and tied together well with his dark curls.

Who didn’t wear a tux that night is a good question, but who didn’t wear a tux and had three outfits? Little Nas X. The flamboyant Montero singer arrived at the Met Gala in a massive gold cloak that completely hid his figure. Armed with his own “bodyguards,” Nas proceeded to shed the cloak and show the gold armor underneath. All but welded to his skin, the armor left little to the imagination and neither did the bodysuit which was underneath. In a matter of seconds, the singer/dancers went through the most costume changes on the steps that night. Not exactly sure what the outfit was supposed to symbolize, perhaps he decided to cosplay as C3PO the popular Star Wars robot which has every lasting influence on American culture, or maybe he just wanted to wear gold. Either way, it was different from yet another tux at the event.

Those That Hit The Mark- And Those Who Didn’t

While the Met Gala has a theme (“In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”), not every celebrity hit home. Some used it as an excuse to ditch normal formal wear they would don for the VMAs or the Grammys and allowed their outfits to take over their own persona on the carpet. But those whose outfits you would think had nothing to do with the theme actually did. My three favorite looks were brought to you by Yara Shahidi, Lil Reinhart, and rapper Saweetie and appeared to have missed the American theme completely; but in reality, hit it dead on.

Yara Shahidi at first glance appears to be angelic in her Christian Dior dress and dewy makeup look. Paired with a trailing floor-length gold tulle veil, Cartier necklace, and elbow-length gloves, Shahidi was easily one of the best dressed there. While the dress itself was beautiful, I wonder what it had to do with the American theme? Apparently a lot. Yara’s dress was an attempt at a tribute to black artists (specifically Josphine Baker), which was the true meaning behind it. And together with the creative team at Dior, some old photos of Baker’s American tour, and inspiration, Yara Shahidi looked like a true queen in one of my favorite dresses of the night.

Speaking of favorite dresses, Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart had a stunning light pink dress adorned with flowers and a sweeping trail. Besides looking stunning in the pink dress which looked great against her pale skin and blonde hair, the flowers were a nod to all 50 states. Each state’s official flower could be found on her trail or bodice in an amazing display by her designer Christian Siriano. My most favorite part of her night, however, was how it was her 24th birthday on September 13; I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate.

Finally, one of the best looks of the night was Tap In rapper Saweetie. Starting with her hair, Saweetie sported a wet hairstyle. Among the female celebrities this year, the wet hair look was popular (brought into the spotlight by Kim Kardashian’s 2019 Met Gala look), along with wearing diamond barrettes, sparkling crystals, and magnificent headpieces. Saweetie’s dress draped her body perfectly, a sparkling red dress that looked to have a slight Greek influence with how it was tied, pinned together, and hanging off one shoulder. The most impressive part, however, was the two trails representing the rapper’s heritage. Featuring a two-part trail, one half presented the Black American heritage flag through the black and red colors. The other side represented her Philippine history with red, yellow, blue, and white. The dress was designed by Christian Cowan in a creative attempt to show her heritage, which he successfully succeeded in doing.