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The Star-Strudded 2021 Met Gala

It is no secret that the highlight of the Met Gala is the fashion! Since 1946, the Met Gala, or ‘the Super Bowl of fashion,’ has garnered public attention and media coverage due to the glamorous, and often outlandish attire that guests come dressed in. The event is hosted annually at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and is a fundraising ball that benefits the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Typically, the gala is held in May, but was postponed until Mon., Sep 13th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, there is a theme; the 2021 theme was ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.’

The theme of each gala is reflective of the costume exhibit that runs concurrent to the event itself. Exhibits are displayed in the Anna Wintour Costume Center; Anna Wintour is also in charge of the guest list. It was in 1972 that the event attained its celebrity-oriented status. Tickets for the Met Gala cost a whopping $30,000, and it is customary for corporations to purchase tables for between $200,000 and $300,000 and invite guests of their own. Proceeds go to the Costume Institute, which is precisely why the gala is known as a space where celebrities can parade around in their most ludicrous attire. 

In the fashion world, the Met Gala presents a remarkable opportunity for designers across the globe to work with celebrities in order to promote their collections. In some cases, celebrities even wear numerous costumes in the span of the night, especially if they are featured as performers. For roughly a week following the red carpet showing each year, it is common for the Met Gala to remain trending on social media. Whenever the Met Gala rolls around, the fashion choices never cease to provide entertaining fodder for conversation. The best outfits are those that are considered original in design, eye-catching, or that adhere to the theme of the year. Conversely, boring, lackluster, or outfits that veer too far from the theme are typically the most criticized.

Since the theme of the gala this year was pleasantly broad, there were a number of not only stunning, but creative costumes on the red carpet. A couple standouts for their creative fashion statements were Lil Nas X, Kim Kardashian, and Lorde. Lil Nas X gradually stripped away layers of his golden Versace costume throughout the evening, going from a full-body cloak, to Transformer-like armor, and finally ending with a glimmering catsuit. Kardashian, too, chose full-coverage, but to an even greater extent. Her black Balenciaga gown, while simple, stirred up conversation across social media due to it concealing her entire face. Unlike Kardashian and Lil Nas X, Lorde was unafraid to show some skin! Lorde’s two-piece Bode design revealed the vertical center of her chest and her stomach. The off-white piece featured multicolored embellishments as well as a dainty golden belt around the waist. It was the golden headpiece that truly brought the look home, though, as it made Lorde glow, despite her choice to wear a dull color.

Something must run in the family, because like her sister, Kendall Jenner also broke the internet with her Met Gala look. Jenner stole the spotlight in a sheer, floor-length chiffon Givenchy gown, embellished with jewels. The gown, says Jenner, was inspired by a look worn in My Fair Lady by film icon Audrey Hepburn, whom Jenner claims to adore. Despite the glamour of most gowns worn at the event, the Met Gala is also a place for politically bold attire; this year was especially bracing. Cara Delevingne made a statement in her Dior-designed white pants and white vest, emblazoned with ‘Peg the Patriarchy’ in crimson red lettering. 

As always, the fashion at the 2021 Met Gala did not disappoint. In fact, I would argue that the designs this year have raised the bar for the coming years. My personal favorite look was either Kendall Jenner’s or Yara Shahidi’s, which was a nod at an iconic look worn by Black-American performer, Josephine Baker. I definitely hope that looks inspired by iconic women in the arts will continue to make their way onto the red carpet at future Met Galas.

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