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The Met Gala was a failure: here’s why

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

Ella Hiple

Staff Writer

September 29, 2021

So the Met Gala, what is it? The Met is an annual fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It’s an event for the higher class, an opportunity to showcase fashion and wealth. Past years have been magical. Some to quote would definitely be the 2019 Camp theme and the 2018 Heavenly Bodies theme. The theme for 2021 was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” Seems weird, right? While it’s one of the more broad themes we’ve seen as compared to later years, I know that I personally was very excited to see how the elite would take it in stride. One would think that these people with riches, and stylists, and sponsorships would do a great job, right? WRONG. The 2021 Met Gala can be summed up into two words: disappointing and a waste. These celebrities wasted this amazing theme, and I for one am very angry about it. Why, you ask? I'll tell you.

First off, I want to explain the theme further. It’s hard, I’ll admit. But if I can understand it, celebrities have no excuse. The theme of “In America” means to me, celebrating American fashion through the years. The actual exhibit in the museum showcased clothing from the 1940s to now, so why didn’t the celebrities do the same? I wanted to see high fashion versions of carhop waitresses from the '50s, references to early Hollywood starlets, costumes inspired by television cartoons, and famous commercials. Why weren’t there people dressed up as fancy pilgrims with crazy buckles and ruffles? Where were the references to famous American artists? I simply don’t understand. The main issue I have is that the theme was disregarded. Too many celebs treated the Met as any old red carpet event, but it’s so much more than that. The Met is about fashion! Fashion is not just something fun to look at; it's the whole point people are there in the first place.

Even though I’m upset about the event, it wasn't without its shining stars. To their credit, some people did actually try to make the theme work for them, and they got my stamp of approval. Emily Blunt, for example, wore a Miu Miu gown inspired by Hedy Lemarr and her

role in “Ziegfeld Girl,” and I personally thought she looked stunning. Lupita Nyong'o wore a perfect Versace gown crafted from denim and beaded details, with the denim itself being the on theme aspect of the dress. It’s not a perfectly notable reference, but I am obsessed with her take on the theme. Not to mention that her hair itself was also a part of the ensemble, with the style being inspired by Lorna Simpson, an American artist herself (Vogue). Imaan Hammam wore a sheer dress from the Versace 2020 spring collection,

inspired by the stars on the American flag. Ciara was a stunner in her jaw-dropping gown, designed by Peter Dundas, and inspired by her own husband's football jersey. What is more American than football! Yara Shahidi wore a gown inspired by the 1920s, not quite a flapper

but still stunning nonetheless. Speaking of flapper dresses, a surprise of the night was wearing a pearl-encrusted flapper dress worn by Barbie Ferreirade, star of Euphoria. It was

designed by Johnathan Simkhai; definitely one of my favorites looks of the evening! (Seventeen). Iman, of course, always one for the theatrics (as the Met should be!) showed up in a custom Dolce and Gabbana gown. It was said to be inspired by the 18th-century Crinoline, as well as 1920s showgirls, specifically Federico Fellini’s and Jean-Paul Gaultier’s designs (Vogue). Another notable look was worn by Timothée Chalamet. He wore a silk suit with, and get this, sweatpants and Chuck Taylors. Definitely a statement. He was said to be inspired by Chuck Taylor himself, a famous basketball player, as well as New York's “streetwear and high fashion mix.” Normally men just wear a plain black tux to the Met, but Timothée stood out, in a very good way might I add.

Now that the good is out of the way, on to the true meat of the 2021 Met Gala; the bad looks. Starting off strong with Lil Nas X.

I like him as a person, but wow, way to copy Lady Gaga’s 2019 look. Just saying, he couldn’t have made it more obvious if he tried. Only Gaga is cool enough to pull off three looks on the carpet, sorry Nas. The looks themselves were eh, not really my favorite. The cape screamed British Monarchy to me, definitely not on theme, and what was with the R2D2

second look? Now I’ll give it to him, the jumpsuit was kind of alright, but not good enough

to save the ensemble. Megan Fox showed up in a weird strappy dress, designed by Dundas (clearly between her and Ciara she got the short end of the stick). It’s not terrible, but compared to the dress she wore just the night before at the VMAs, it's atrocious. The cherry on top is her inspiration, which she claims is “Dracula and other horror films.” Dracula isn’t American for heaven's sake! Serena Williams killed Big Bird's cousin and wore their feathers to the Met, but at least her jumpsuit had stars, right?! Dan Levy wore a map? I’m really at a loss for words about his look, I don’t even know where to start. At least it’s high fashion, so I

respect it. Honorable mentions include; Whoopi Goldberg in what I can only assume is a deflated hot air balloon. Jennifer Lopez in cowboy look? (At least she attempted the theme, I’ll give her that.) Cynthia Erivo wore a dress made of toilet paper, or at least that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw it. Lastly, Taylor Hill, who claimed to be inspired by the Statue of Liberty, but besides the color of the gown, I see it as lackluster at best (Elle). And

last but not least, no one can forget Kim Petras, who wore a literal horse head to the Met Gala (Vogue). A HORSE HEAD DRESS!! TO THE MET GALA!! I can not emphasize how much I despise this outfit. The only, ONLY, redeeming quality of the look is this picture of Kim and her stylist Hillary Taymor, which I find absolutely adorable. I wanna finish off with my personal “she looks stunning but literally what is the theme” look. Billie Eilish. Billie looked stunning in a floor-length Oscar de la Renta pale pink gown. But what was her inspiration you

ask? One may think Marilyn Monroe from first glance (an overdone look, but beggars can’t be choosers), but NO! Billie said her inspiration for the look was HOLIDAY BARBIE!! What about that dress says Holiday Barbie?? What about Barbie screams American fashion? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Billie takes the cake for the best off theme look, and for that, I must force myself to look past how stunning she is, and only relay the cold hard facts. Do better Billie. (Side note: I love the new era she is in, and I have faith that her future looks will not disappoint me).

The 2021 Met Gala was full of some questionable looks. Some nailed the theme right on the head, some missed the mark entirely, and some left me just plain bored. I mean just take a look at all of the people who wore a plain black look to the ball; Hailey Bieber, Gillian Anderson, Taraji P. Henson, Kaia Gerber, and Róse. If you ask me, that's five too many black

looks. The Met Gala is no place for black! Surprise me a little, try something new! A wonderful example of black that stuns is Maisie Williams, who wore a black ensemble she actually designed herself, with the help of Thom Browne. I suppose I should mention Kim Kardashian and Rhianna, who wore black as well but also did something fun like Masie. I honestly loved Rihanna's look, but she was styled by Balenciaga, a designer from Spain, and inspired by one of the companies own designs from back in the day, so it is unforgivable in my mind. I have nothing to say about Kim’s look, probably because I still don't quite understand it. Emma Chamberlain’s look was incredible, so were Nicola Peltz’s and Kristen Stewart’s. Tessa Thompson’s, Carey Mulligan’s, and Gigi Hadid wore beautiful gowns too.

And Lily-Rose Depp’s was one of my personal favorites of hers (Elle). But none of them were on theme! They all looked stunning, but they could have looked stunning somewhere else. Were they going to a random fashion show, or were they going to the Met Gala for heaven's sake! The Met was about a lexicon of American fashion. That's the qualm I have, no one cared about that. Most simply wore what they thought was cool, and I won’t tolerate it. With the year we’ve had, the last these celebs could give us measly commoners is some wonderful fashion to gawk at.

Thus concludes my long-winded rant on the 2021 Met Gala. The good, the bad, and the ugly, all wrapped up in a cute little bow for your reading pleasure. If you learned anything from this article dear reader, I hope it is that fashion is important, and should not be taken lightly. For something too easily overlooked, it is immensely important. I can only hope and pray that the second part of the Met, coming up in May of 2022, is better than the looks we were given last week. (That theme is said to be “American Independence,” so I’m waiting on the edge of my seat to see how that plays out). For now, we fashion connoisseurs anxiously await the next major fashion event, praying for some juicy designs to get our hands on!

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