Each year on the first Monday in May, the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a fundraising gala in support of the Costume Institute. The Met Gala marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibition and is displayed at the museum in New York City. Following the cancelation of the 2020 Met Gala, due to COVID-19, the 2021 Met Gala was postponed until September 13 and all attendees were required to be vaccinated.
The Met Gala is a themed event reflecting the exhibition, and guests are asked to dress in correlation to the theme. This year’s theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” According to Vogue, the 2021 Met Gala is focused on celebrating all this American Fashion.
Andrew Bolton, a curator from The Met, reflected on the theme saying, “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance. I think young designers in particular are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency.” After the past year and a half this country has had, the importance of highlighting positive changes in American society is so important, and it is no secret that this change comes from the youth.
This year’s co-chairs were Timothee Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka, giving representation from all walks of talent: acting, singing, poetry, and sports.
Eilish stunned the iconic Met steps in a nude, Marlyn Monroe pin-up inspired, Oscar de la Renta gown. An ode to one of the most recognizable American figures, Eilish turned heads with her newly dyed blonde hair as well as stepping away from her usual oversized streetwear-inspired outfits.
The co-chair not only paid homage to Monroe but made sure that her look would enforce change at Oscar de la Renta. After the event, Oscar de la Renta will be completely fur-free, an issue that was particularly important for Eilish who has voiced her opinion in regards to animal rights.
The Met Gala is fashion’s biggest night, making it the perfect opportunity to use clothing as self-expression. One of the most polarizing outfits of the night was none other than Kim Kardashian. Kardashian, who has been one of the most anticipated guests since 2013, caused an uproar when she showed up in a black Balenciaga haute couture look with a matching mask and gown, leaving everything— but nothing— up to the imagination.
While completely covering every inch of her face and body, Kardashian remained anonymous. This incognito persona is not something anyone has ever seen from arguably the biggest public figure in the world, yet people still knew it was her. The recognition of Kim Kardashian, solely from a black silhouette, signifies her magnitude in American pop culture and fashion.
The women in attendance usually occupy the media’s attention with their lavish gowns, but when male attendees stray from the classic black tuxedo, they receive praise as well. Singer Lil Nas X debuted performance art on the carpet when he dramatically revealed three different Versace outfits. The first was a regal cape, which then led to a gold suit of armor, and then finally a stripping into a crystalized bodysuit with signature Versace baroque detailing. Versace labeled his look as an “LGBTQ+ American Fairytale” depicting a true queer American fashion.
Although the circumstances remained unconventional, the influential names in fashion showed up and presented their interpretation of American Fashion.
Cover Photo: Teen Vogue