Red carpet radicals: The Met Gala really wanted to make a statement

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, June 15, 2024

Red carpet radicals: The Met Gala really wanted to make a statement
Grimes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala in New York, Sept. 13, 2021. Calla Kessler/The New York Times.

by Vanessa Friedman

NEW YORK, NY.- On the second Monday in September, upper Fifth Avenue lit up with a blitz of flashbulbs not seen in over two years.

The Met Gala — like Broadway, like New York Fashion Week, like the U.S. Open — had returned, and with it the extreme pageantry that it inspires as guests and the designers who dress them vie to see who can create the most viral look according to theme.

The dress code this year was “American Independence.” (It was linked to the Costume Institute exhibition it celebrated, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.”) What exactly that means is a question George and Martha Washington probably never had to contemplate (even Dolley Madison, the resident founding fashionista, likely didn’t ask), but the gala provided a variety of answers: some obvious, some more pointed, all plumbing the mythology of the country — historical, pop cultural, and just plain fantastical.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for example, wore her politics on her sleeve — or rather, her back — in a white mermaid dress by Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies and the 15 Percent Pledge, with the message “Tax the Rich,” scrawled in bright red letters, and a bag to match.

Given that the gala is a cornucopia of capitalist values, full of the rich and famous, that’s independent thinking for you.

Along with Rep. Carolyn Maloney, in a suffragist purple, white and gold gown and cape by Antonios Couture calling for “Equal Rights for Women” and an ERA clutch, Ocasio-Cortez took the fashion statement idea to a whole new level.

There was a sense, before the gala, that after 2019’s “Camp” theme, which had Billy Porter on a litter borne by six shirtless men and Katy Perry as a chandelier, the costuming for the Costume Institute had gone about as far as it could go, and perhaps the time away had been an opportunity for a reset. Maybe attendees would just honor the occasion by wearing a nicely elegant gown by an American brand, rather than a look that probably flirted with national cliché. Some — like the event’s honorary chairman, Anna Wintour, in floral Oscar de la Renta — did. But as the evening progressed, it became increasingly clear they were in the minority. Besides, many couldn’t, even if they wanted to, because they were the guests of European brands and thus had to also model their clothes. Meaning they had to engage with the theme in more overt ways.

The West was worn. Leon Bridges sported a blue suede cowboy jacket from Bode, while Jennifer Lopez’s plunging beaded Ralph Lauren gown, faux fur bolero and leather hat had a whiff of the million-acre ranch, and Kim Petras’ Collina Strada came complete with … a horse head. So was the melting pot, thanks to co-host Naomi Osaka, in a Louis Vuitton gown that referenced her Haitian and Japanese roots.

There was denim, obviously, as modeled by Ben Platt, David Byrne and Lupita Nyong’o in a molded Versace jean bustier.

Also a lot of red, white and blue, sometimes all in one outfit, such as Megan Rapinoe’s Sergio Hudson pantsuit (in what turned into one of the trends of the night, her bag also had a message: In Gay We Trust); sometimes in a designer’s matching guests, such as Stella McCartney’s troika of Ella Emhoff in red trousers and top, Julia Garner in a white sheer gown and Nia Dennis in a blue bodysuit.

Or maybe it was a superhero suit? That’s how Serena Williams said she thought about her silver Gucci number, worn under a gigantic feathered cape — like a couture caped crusader.

Likewise caped and crusading: Lil Nas X, who shed his regal Versace outerwear to reveal a gleaming gold C-3PO suit, which he then jettisoned to expose a crystal-beaded bodysuit — an LGBTQ+ parable in clothes about the power of revealing your true self. It echoed Dan Levy’s billowing Loewe outfit, based on a work by the late American artist and activist David Wojnarowicz featuring an appliqué of two men kissing on the front, framed by lapping water and a map of the world.

The sartorial metaphors didn’t end there.

Ciara played her part in a lime green sequined Dundas football jersey gown with her husband Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks number on the front and his Super Bowl ring on her finger. Amanda Gorman, also a co-host, came as an interpretation of the Statue of Liberty, thanks to a sparkling deep blue Vera Wang gown illuminated by more than 3,000 crystals, carrying a book clutch with the title “Give US Your Tired,” a nod to the Emma Lazarus poem at the statue’s base. Homages to other statuesque women like Barbie and Marilyn Monroe combined with a touch of Disney’s “Cinderella" in the gigantic nude Oscar de la Renta ballgown of co-host Billie Eilish.

Even the humble canvas Converse All Stars had a moment courtesy of co-host Timothée Chalamet, in almost all white with an edge of black via a Haider Ackermann jacket and Rick Owens shirt, meant to pay homage to his kicks.

But there was also the looming look of doom. Fair enough; it’s part of the story of this country, too: Hunter Schaffer’s bulging, zombie-white contact lenses or Kim Kardashian’s face-obscuring Balenciaga body stocking, gloves and dress with train, turning her into a shadow of herself. Evan Mock wore archival Thom Browne shorts with a black patent leather mask on his head, suggesting fetish and bondage. Erykah Badu also had a Thom Browne bubble obscuring her features — though as far as unsettling accessories go, Frank Ocean, in Prada, birthed the best memes with a robotic green baby doll that matched his bright green hair.

Not a bad reminder, really, that this is a country full of people from elsewhere, and many of us were once aliens in the land.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

September 15, 2021

A deep dive into Matisse's 'The Red Studio'

Seeing double with Jasper Johns

Red carpet radicals: The Met Gala really wanted to make a statement

'Gender alchemy' is transforming art for the 21st century

Exhibition at Joan B Mirviss LTD. showcase Itō Hidehito's contemporary approach to celadon ware

Nasher Sculpture Center announces Nairy Baghramian as winner of the 2022 Nasher Prize

Nigerian born New York artist Moyosore Martins opens exhibition at the new Path Galleries

Oscar Munoz: Invisibilia exhibition now open at Phoenix Art Museum

Doyle to auction the Sarah Belk Gambrell Falangcai Vase

Exhibition of 30 sculptures by Bosco Sodi activates Dallas Museum of Art's Sculpture Garden

Hauser & Wirth presents new sculpture, painting, and collage by Lorna Simpson

All the world in a 'slice' of art

'French Elvis' Johnny Hallyday honoured with new statue

Theatre debut 'perilous', says French star Vanessa Paradis

JFK diary, Anne Revere's Academy Award among remarkable rarities up for auction

The Eyes Have It: New exhibition reopens Lehman College Art Gallery

Exhibition of new work by Martha Tuttle opens at Tilton Gallery

Asya Geisberg Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Icelandic artist Guðmundur Thoroddsen

Kaycee Moore, actress in Black directors' seminal films, dies at 77

Classical music looks ahead to a fall in flux

George Wein, jazz festival trailblazer, dies at 95

The trumpeter Adam O'Farrill's art of avoiding the obvious

A climate opera arrives in New York, with 21 tons of sand

What are the changes and future of cryptocurrency-related industries?

Best Way to Increase Your Instagram Followers

The Importance of Keeping Your Mental Health

Eco-friendly Technologies To Green Your Life

Save money on a preowned camera

How online casinos have implemented new technology and design in their sites

Tips to Help Capitalize on the Wildz Casino Bonuses Stress-Free

Why Play At Caxino Casino Hassle-Free-Everything to Know

What Impact Is Streaming Having On The Gaming Industry?

Online Slots Development: Technological Advances

How To Get 4000 Hours Of Watch Time?

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful