There were so many celebrities on the red carpet at Monday’s Met Gala, you’d think fashion itself was going out of fashion.
We were robbed of the opportunity to see extremely beautiful people dressed in clothes we could never afford last year when the 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Fortunately, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual display of feathers and flamboyance was back on track this year, with veterans of the event posing alongside a slew of younger stars making their gala debuts.
Previous themes for the event have included punk, camp, Catholicism, and technology, but the Met decided to keep things local for 2021. In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, guests were invited to celebrate the United States, its history, and its greatest designers.
The Met Gala is the fashion industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, and it brings together designers, models, and Hollywood celebrities to compete for media coverage. The event raises funds for the Costume Institute, the only curatorial department at the Met that must fund itself.
You’ve probably already seen the likes of Lil Nas X, Emma Raducanu and Kim Kardashian grabbing the headlines. So here’s a round-up of some of the other eye-catching looks from the event, and who designed them.
1. Kim Petras was not horsing around
When Kim Petras walks into a bar, the bartender asks, ‘Why the long face?’ Except, in this slightly painful analogy, he’s talking to her dress.
The German pop star wore a light blue Collina Strada gown with a bright floral print and a giant horse’s head protruding from the top of the gown, as is customary.
Petras grew up riding horses and wanted to represent “all of the horse girls and horse humans here today.”
Hillary Taymour, a designer who walked the red carpet with Petras, said: “We could be on the best-dressed list or the worst-dressed list, but hopefully it’ll be one of those moments that people remember.’
‘Do you remember when Kim Petras and I dressed up as horses for the Met Gala?'”
It was one of the night’s most daring looks, and it presumably put Petras in the running for the next Godfather sequel.
2. Simone Biles brought serious star quality
The gymnast’s dress appeared to be made of feathers, but it was actually a showgirl-inspired satin gown with feather-mimicking crystal embroidery.
We have a feeling actual feathers were at least a little lighter.
“How do I feel in the dress? It’s definitely heavy, but I feel beautiful, strong, and empowered,” Biles told Vogue ahead of the Met Gala.
The three-in-one outfit was designed by Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk of Area and included a hand-embellished skirt covered in Swarovski crystals weighing more than six stone (around 40kg), a mini dress underneath, and a black catsuit decorated to look like a starry night’s sky.
3. Dan Levy can give you directions to the station
Because he arrived wearing a stunning outfit with a map of the world embroidered on it.
The Schitt’s Creek star collaborated with Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson to create an oceanic ensemble that he describes as celebrating the LGBT community’s “resilience, love, and joy.”
While his on-screen character David Rose would have jumped at the chance to attend a Met Gala, Levy reflected: “I’m a pretty introverted person, and I tend to avoid big parties, so this is really taking a big step out of my comfort zone.”
The intricate multi-pastel outfit, which featured hand embroidery and beading, featured an image of two men kissing inspired by the late artist and Aids activist David Wojnarowicz.
Levy elaborated: “When I put on the look, I definitely feel like a superhero for the community, as described by Jonathan. And that is the America I want to be a part of.”
4. Camila and Shawn made their Met debut
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, one of music’s hottest couples, attended their first Met Gala on Monday.
The couple is used to posing affectionately on red carpets; the night before the gala, they attended the MTV VMAs, and earlier this month, they attended the Miami premiere of Cabello’s new film Cinderella.
Michael Kors purple crop top and skirt with sequins and feathers were worn by the Havana singer.
Not one to deviate from tradition, Mendes wore a Kors ensemble, going topless underneath a black leather jacket, and looking every inch the 1980s American rock star. “I almost convinced him to take off that jacket down there,” Cabello joked to reporters. “I kept saying, ‘Take it off! Take it off!'”
Maybe next year.
5. Please stop what you’re doing and bow down to Jennifer Lopez
When we said “icons only,” Jennifer Lopez responded, “OK, I’ll be there.”
The 52-year-old (sorry, what?) singer and actress, who is widely regarded as one of the most underappreciated pop stars of her generation, looked stunning in a Ralph Lauren gown.
The all-American, western-inspired ensemble featured faux fur sleeves, a black cowgirl hat, and, according to the Daily Mail, revealed a plunging neckline.
Lopez has recently romantically reunited with Ben Affleck, who went to the Met Gala with J Lo but didn’t walk the red carpet, opting to head straight inside. (You didn’t miss much, he wore a fairly standard black tuxedo).
6. Kid Cudi went emo
We applaud any male celebrity who abandons boring suits in favour of something far more interesting – and Kid Cudi worked tirelessly to create something that would not disappoint.
His acid green hair and sooty eye make-up were almost as intriguing as his outfit – the US rapper appeared to be inspired by Dennis Rodman’s ’90s party days.
Cudi wore a Louis Vuitton ensemble that included a cerulean sweatshirt (yes, we’ve been watching The Devil Wears Prada) and transparent vinyl pants.
Ben Baller and KAWS completed the look with a diamond and 18-karat gold astronaut chain.
“And for those asking me… yes. The space man’s backpack really opens up,” Baller wrote on Twitter.
7. Grimes is going into battle
Yes, I’m well aware that face masks are no longer required, Grimes thought to herself as she prepared for the Met Gala, but don’t you think this one goes so well with my outfit?
The singer (and Elon Musk’s partner) wore an outfit inspired by the upcoming sci-fi epic Dune, and her stylist Turner reached out to jewellery maker Chris Habana to borrow an original mask from the film.
Grimes wore a custom gown by Iris van Herpen, which the designer described as “inspired by distant futures” and took over 900 hours to perfect.
Lightning-bolt shapes were hand-crafted from mirror-finish liquid silicone and arranged in a 3D “laser-cut labyrinth” on a nude-illusion bodice.
8. A$AP Rocky has a new hobby
During lockdown, some people learned an instrument or a language, but A$AP Ferg did not. Rocky apparently finished one of those patchwork quilts your auntie Monica was always so good at.
Rihanna looked stunning in a Balenciaga couture black ruffle dress from Nicolas Ghesquière’s fall 2021 collection, accessorised with a beanie and Bulgari diamonds.
Rihanna arrived extremely late to the Met Gala, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever seen her perform live. So late, in fact, that by the time she and the other attendees were inside partying, the live streaming had stopped.
You’d think that dating A$AP Ferg would have improved her timekeeping abilities. But it wouldn’t be as fashionable if she wasn’t fashionably late.
9. Whoopi Goldberg and Carey Mulligan were each others Valentines
Christmas is just around the corner, so what better time for Whoopi Goldberg to remind everyone about her favourite Quality Street chocolate?
Her large purple ruffles were paired with bright green, elbow-length gloves. Valentino created her flowing gown with six layers that helped to build its bell-shaped design.
Goldberg said she was “proud” to walk the red carpet with Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, who also designed Carey Mulligan’s pink gown (the strawberry cream?).
Next year, we hope he goes for the green triangle look.
10. Ella Emhoff showed why she’s now a professional model
The 22-year-old stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris walked the red carpet with Ozark star Julia Garner, holding hands.
Emhoff accessorised her futuristic look with a red Stella McCartney diamond mesh body suit and matching trousers, as well as sparkling eye gems and Cartier jewellery.
After attending her stepmother’s inauguration in January, Emhoff was snapped up by IMG models, and Monday marked her Met Gala debut.
“I’m someone who’s really passionate about comfort,” she told The New York Times. “Even though this is the Met, everyone is allowed to still feel comfortable in their own skin, their own style. There’s no playbook to how you dress to this.”
11. Erykah Badu is very sorry if she knocks in to you
But her vision is somewhat impaired by her ensemble, designed by Thom Browne.
“Erykah is an American icon, she is a true definition of the creativity in America,” Browne said of the Grammy-Award winning queen of neo-soul.
Badu looked stunning in a black silk duchess gown with white satin buttons, a sportcoat, and a suspender skirt.
But, if you’re anything like us, the only thing you’ll be thinking about is that fantastic sausage dog purse.
12. There was no shortage of political slogans
Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, naturally used the red carpet to make a political statement.
She wore a white off-the-shoulder gown with a tulle skirt to the event with Brother Vellies designer Aurora James.
The dress also featured the large words “tax the rich” in red on the back, which we doubt would have gone down well with the various millionaires in attendance.
Model Cara Delevingne wore a bullet-proof vest designed by Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri with the words “peg the patriarchy” on it.
We’re obviously too young and inexperienced to understand what pegging is, but she’s essentially advocating for equality and women’s rights.
“You’re going to have to look it up if someone doesn’t know what this means,” Delevingne told Vogue. “It’s about women’s empowerment and gender equality – it’s a bit like saying,’stick it to the man.'”
13. Some took the theme more seriously than others
In a year when most celebrities ignored the theme and wore whatever they wanted, we’re dedicating this final entry to fashion legend Tommy Hilfiger and his wife Dee Ocleppo.
While Hilfiger wore a fairly standard but sharp suit, Ocleppo clearly caught the American theme and wore a dress that paid homage to the American flag.
It was red, with white and blue stripes, and no stars, but it looked elegant and stylish while remaining true to the theme.
Debbie Harry, a member of the Blondie band, was one of the other celebrities who wore an outfit that included a reference to the flag (below).
Debbie and Dee, we salute you.