Fashion’s biggest night returns with the 2021 Met Gala


Kai Pilger

Kai Pilger | Wikimedia Commons

Barbara Chang

The Met Gala returned on the evening of Sept. 13 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event came back on the calendar with fewer guests than in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Met Gala, also known as the Met Ball, is akin to the Oscars for fashion. Celebrities and models get together in loud and daring outfits to commemorate and raise money for the museum’s Costume Institute. Invited guests usually wear garments that correspond to the annual theme and are based on the highlighted exhibit from the Met.

This year’s gala was inspired by the Costume Institute’s two-part exhibition called “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” and “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” Therefore, most of the looks celebrities wore were expected to honor American fashion and to be made by American designers. According to Vogue, the institute’s curator, Andrew Bolton, wanted to emphasize the impact of American fashion, especially how much it changed over the years due to politics and social justice.

Younger stars led this year’s event, with Timothée Chalamet, Amanda Gorman, Billie Eilish and Naomi Osaka serving as the gala’s co-chairs. The honorary chairs were designer Tom Ford, Instagram head Adam Mosseri and Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue and a long-time chairwoman of the gala.

Designers would usually fill the guest list of the Met Gala with the most popular and noteworthy celebrities ranging from actors and models to performers and entertainers.Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the red carpet still bedazzled with the most prestigious and well-known superstars of the times.

Celebrities who showed up on the red carpet took this year’s theme into consideration. Channing Tatum wore an elegant and classic Versace tuxedo because it reminded him of the late John F. Kennedy Jr., according to The New Yorker. Tatum’s outfit was simple to the point and emphasized his handsomeness effortlessly.

Yara Shahidi from the TV show “Grownish” appeared in a strapless, beige Dior gown with a veil in honor of Josephine Baker, the American Jazz Age performer. This sparkling and embroidered ensemble captured Shahidi’s beauty and showed the elegance and sophistication of historical American fashion.

Singer and fashion mogul Rihanna came to the red carpet in a puffy black gown by Balenciaga that had hints of elements from Parisian designers like Rei Kawakubo and Folies Bergère. Even though this extravagant and over-the-top dress wasn’t made by an American designer, the spectacular fashion risks that she took highlighted the freedom of expression that American fashion is known for. A$AP Rocky, went to the Met Gala in a coat made of quilt that looked like a giant blanket, and his outfit was from a Californian brand influenced by American folk art. His outfit was not flattering at all, and a reveal of a classy suit underneath would’ve been much more preferred.

Maybe A$AP could’ve taken inspiration from Lil Nas X, who put on a show on the red carpet by wearing three different outfits.Lil Nas X first wore a golden, embellished and bedazzling cape. For his second look, he took off the cape and came out in a golden armor.Last but not least, he removed the pieces of his armor and appeared in a tailor-made bodysuit decorated with gold crystals.

Another timeless American icon, Jennifer Lopez stepped onto the Met Gala red carpet in a signature Ralph Lauren garment that was inspired by the Wild West with a cowboy hat.  This dress stole some of the spotlight on the red carpet because it’s very different from the other outrageous and eye-catching outfits. Lopez found a dress that displayed her maturity and sex appeal in a sophisticated and subtle manner that suited her perfectly.

Kim Petras, a buzzworthy pop singer,  also took inspiration from the West, as she wore an outfit by New York designer Collina Strada. The dress came with a rubber horse head as the top part, and a striking skirt that has a print from Strada’s resort collection in 2020 called “Sistine Tomato.” Petras’ look took things overboard theatrically, and it seemed like there was way too much going on in one outfit.  The costume-like dress she wore also downgraded the elegance and exclusiveness of the Met Ball.