Today, we live our fashion critic dreams again by tuning in to the 2021 Met Gala red carpet. This year’s gala is held in celebration of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” Understandably, there were incredibly varied interpretations to the theme.
Join us in listing those who understood the assignment and those who were better off donning a different fit. If it helps you process the “Alert Level 4” granular lockdown classification, you’ve earned this little fashion fantasy.
It’s always a delight to see adventurous Lupita Nyong’o on the red carpet. This year, the actress forwent the bright colors she’s known to rock in favor of a sculpted Versace denim dress. Half of the dress is composed of denim—its panels and train. The other half uses sheer material with beaded detailing. It’s fierce and sophisticated.
What completes the look is hair inspired by conceptual artist Lorna Simpson who explores the shape of Black women’s hair.
Lil Nas X served a dramatic outfit change on the carpet, reminiscent of Lady Gaga’s in 2019. The rapper’s three-part Versace ensemble screamed royalty, even if it was his first time on the beige carpet. Versace called it a “three-part LGBTQ+ American fairytale” in a post. “He arrived on the red carpet in a dramatic cape that exudes regality and represents concealing one’s true self. The cape was then shed to reveal gleaming Medusa-adorned armor, a symbol of protection from the prejudices faced as a Black, queer person. Finally, the armor is removed to reveal a skin-tight bodysuit that represents living life as your true, unguarded self,” the fashion house wrote.
We’re totally here for more sparkly menswear that shows off the silhouette. Enough of the boring suit and tie. This isn’t the Emmys.
We expected nothing less from actor Dan Levy’s Met Gala debut. Levy donned a colorful and bold outfit from Cartier and Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson. With support from the estate of LGBTQIA+ artist and activist David Wojnarowicz, the top with puffed sleeves was built upon his work “F*ck You F**got F*cker.” The title was taken from a homophobic cartoon that Wojnarowicz encountered. Levy’s bag, on the other hand, borrowed the artist’s self-portrait “Untitled (One Day This Kid…).”
“Tonight, we’re celebrating the resilience, the love, and the joy of the community while honoring a crucial American voice that was taken from us too soon,” Levy shared on Instagram. “To mark the collaboration, Loewe has made a donation to Visual AIDS, an organization [Wojnarowicz] supported, that continues to promote AIDS awareness and education.”
Met Gala 2021 co-chair Naomi Osaka said that her Louis Vuittonruffled ensemble is a statement on multiculturality. In particular, it’s a nod to her Haitian and Japanese heritage. She and her sister Mari helped co-design it with Nicholas Ghesquière; the koi print began as a digital painting by Mari.
Her hair is another story: It’s a braided topknot with three looped braids adorned with red flowers and gems. The ends then spread to resemble a fan. Hairstylist Marty Harper said in a press release that it was inspired by Haitian school girls and Japanese Onna-Musha warriors.
Along with Blackpink’s Rosé, CL is one of the first female K-pop idols to grace the event. CL’s custom Alexander Wang denim look is inspired by hanbok. Below the otkorum (knot tied on the hanbok), the dress falls open to reveal her white briefs underneath. It’s sultry but fierce.
CL’s hair was also styled to resemble a headpiece worn by South Korean royalty. We love modern takes on traditional Asian attire.
Indigenuous model Quannah Chasinghorse was a vision to behold in her Peter Dundas lamé gown. It would be an absolute crime not to have Indigenuous representation at an event celebrating American fashion. She paired her dress with Navajo turquoise and silver jewelry. Her makeup stayed simple as she wore her traditional Hän Gwich’in handpoked face tattoos with pride. We can’t wait to see more of her.
In Zendaya’s absence, her “Euphoria” co-stars took upon the task of serving us Met Gala looks. Barbie Ferreira’s Jonathan Simkhai gown gave us 1920s glam with a pearl-encrusted low-cut bodice and an off-shoulder string of pearl detail. Interestingly, her hair and makeup make her look like a cross between a flapper and a sea princess. More plus-sized couture please!
Kim Petras kept it fun in this Collina Strada number with a 3D horse head bustier. The print on the skirt is from Strada’s resort collection playfully called “Sistine Tomato.” Petras also sported a dramatic braid with the ends resembling, yup, a horse’s tail. This one is a win for horse girls everywhere.
Designer Harris Reed further brought out the goddess in Somali supermodel Iman by dressing her in a golden brocade jumpsuit and a tiered overskirt. The hollow overskirt is adorned with metallic gold-painted feathers and is paired with an attention-grabbing tiered halo with the same detail. The 25-year-old designer said he took inspiration from American ballroom culture, then made it “romanticism gone nonbinary,” Harper’s Bazaar reports. It’s giving me fiesta headpiece vibes, and honestly, the Met Gala could do with more of that.
Are you shocked that Rihanna isn’t on this list? Us too. Who do you think earned the Met Gala “best dressed” title?