MET 2022: Who Understood the Assignment?

Which of our favourite celebrities took the theme on board?

Jenica Davis
19th May 2022
Image: Instagram @metgalaofficial
The 2022 Met Gala arrived on the 2nd May, celebrating the second volume of a two-part Costume Institute exhibition. The theme of part two was “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” exploring the evolution of American fashion. Celebrities descended onto the red carpet to take on the dress code of ‘Gilded Glamour’ – an era between 1870 and 1900. With many people being underwhelmed with the response to the theme this year, there were still several striking looks that embodied the grandeur and luxury of New York in the late 19th century. Here are some of my favourite looks alongside some of the most controversial looks from the night.

If there’s one person that knows how to deliver a grand entrance on the red carpet, it's Blake Lively

If there’s one person that knows how to deliver a grand entrance on the red carpet, it's Blake Lively. Blake explained that "Instead of looking to fashion to influence the dress, I[she] looked to New York City architecture and the classic buildings.” In a custom Versace look, Blake stood out with the theatrical colour change of her dress, transforming from bronze into blue-green, symbolising the oxidation of the Statue of Liberty. The copper bow on the skirt was unravelled to reveal a long, dramatic blue train, and her rose-hued gloves were also peeled off to reveal a matching blue pair underneath. Her seven-tier crown further mimicked the seven rays on the Statue of Liberty. Not only did Lively pay homage to Liberty, but also to the ceiling of Grand Central Station, which inspired the constellation design of her blue train, and the front of the dress was designed to emulate the architecture of the Empire State Building.

For many Black attendees, designers, and stylists, interpreting the Gilded Glamour dress code meant acknowledging the truth of the Gilded Age – that it was an era of immense income inequality and post-Civil War racism

Image: Instagram @cynthiaaerivo

For many Black attendees, designers, and stylists, interpreting the Gilded Glamour dress code meant acknowledging the truth of the Gilded Age – that it was an era of immense income inequality and post-Civil War racism. Wearing Louis Vuitton, Cynthia Erivo celebrated Black Women’s history with her angelic look, paying homage to Black women in Louisiana of the 19th century. Draped in white lace, Cynthia’s custom feathered train and statuesque headscarf certainly brought elegance to the red carpet. Stylist, Jason Bolden, explained that the inspiration of the headscarf related back to a stretch of Louisiana history “when Black women were told to cover their hair.” The practice, known as tignon law, was first instituted in the late 18th century, however its reverberations continued for generations.

Image: Instagram @giakuanconsulting

A look from this year which I particularly liked that I’ve not seen many talk about is Danai Gurira’s. Danai embraced the Gilded Glamour theme with her one-shouldered, electric blue gown whilst infusing African identities into her design. Designed by Taofeek Abijako, this custom look was inspired by Festac ‘77 – a historic international arts festival hosted in Nigeria during the 70’s. Danai’s voluminous silhouette pays homage to the grand silhouettes that performers wore at that festival, however the dress also celebrates Americana with the top of the gown symbolising the wings of an eagle. The accessory of a Fly Whisk is further a nod to Danai and Abijako’s heritage as it was often used by influential people in African culture to emphasise both gestures and spoken words.

Some other looks that I thought exceptionally stood out was Lizzo’s regal moment with her gold-embroidered coat by Thom Browne; Taylor Hill’s extravagant blue gown with embroidered flowers designed by Miss Sohee; Laura Harrier’s corseted, black and silver custom gown by H&M; Stormzy’s all-white three-piece suit by Burberry; Nicola Coughlan’s feathered black and pink gown by Richard Quinn; Jessie Buckley’s deconstruction of gender stereotypes with her pinstriped suit by Schiaparelli and drawn-on moustache. I also must mention Genesis Suero, the news anchor for the Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo, who stole the media’s attention with her stunning gold gown designed by Lucia Rodriguez, outshining many of the guests who attended.

Image: Instagram @gigihadid

However, from Kylie Jenner and Nicki Minaj’s donning of baseball caps to Gigi Hadid’s giant puffer cape, there were definitely many looks that sparked a lot of debate. One look in particular that created a lot of controversy was Kim Kardashian’s. Kim wore a vintage Jean-Louis dress that was worn by Marilyn Monroe during her birthday performance for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in 1962. There was much controversy from the public surrounding whether it was the most ethical decision to expose this fragile dress, which is a monumental piece of history, into the open. Others found it disrespectful and rather insulting towards Marilyn Monroe’s legacy. There were even further issues when it was revealed that she lost 16 pounds in three weeks to fit into the gown, not sending the best message in terms of modern-day diet culture. Many questions have been raised as to whether Kim should have worn this look, and perhaps making a replica of this historical artefact would have been the best option in my opinion.

With many spectacular designs as well as some conflicting ones, it’s certainly safe to say that the 2022 Met Gala brought some memorable looks nonetheless.

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