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The celebrities who understood the ‘Gilded Glamour’ assignment at the Met Gala

Janelle Monae arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

Janelle Monae arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

Published May 4, 2022

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Has the Met Gala peaked? I ask this because it seems like no one actually cares about what the event is about.

The whole point of the Met Gala, is to commemorate the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibition. It's a time to celebrate the fashion industry’s contribution to the art world.

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And everyone who scores an invite – which is difficult to get, mind you – is expecting to go all out and deliver a fashion masterpiece that will leave everyone in awe.

But let’s be honest, when was the last time your jaw dropped after seeing a celebrity alight the famous steps of the Met?

Rihanna in Guo Pei Couture. Picture: supplied

For many, it was in 2015 when Rihanna wore that now unforgettable creation by Guo Pei. It brought new eyes to the Met Gala and more people started paying attention. While it was previously the stomping ground of the most illustrious people, it started opening up to more people in the public eye.

Which then brings me to this question, has the Met Gala peaked? The gala takes place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and has been happening on the first Monday in May for a number of years.

This year’s exhibition is titled In America: Fashion Anthology, and it kicks off on Saturday, May 7.

The dress code for this year’s gala was “Gilded Glamour and White Tie”, referring to the extravagant era of American fashion in the last decades of the 19th century, when industrialisation rapidly widened the wealth gap in the country. Pretty easy, right?

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And yet, it didn’t seem that way, judging by the looks we saw on the red carpet. And it bothers me because everyone is Okay with just being basic and not putting the required effort.

For the past few years I have been trying to find the words to explain my feelings about why the Met is not as prestigious as it was. And this is seen by the number of people who land on the guest list and then commit the worst fashion crime by not respecting the theme.

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Sarah Jessica Parker echoed many fashionistas’ sentiments last week when she said: “Whenever I go to the Met, I don’t understand how everyone else didn’t spend 7 to 10 months working on it. The assignment is the theme, and you should interpret it. It should be labour-intensive and challenging.”

Thank goodness for SJP (and Rihanna, Iman, Karolina Kurkova and Blake Lively to name just a few) who have understood what is required of them. Sure, some of their outfits may look odd and strange to people who don't understand the deeper meaning of the fashions exhibited at the Met, but we can’t help but appreciate their attention to detail.

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This year’s Met Gala was once again filled with guests who did not do any research, took the theme literally and just chose to rock up in whatever their stylist (or brand) could give them (looking at you, Emma Stone).

Here are our picks of the best dressed at the Met Gala. These are people who clearly researched thoroughly what was expected of them and this was shown in the attention to detail and out-of-the-box thinking. Sure, they could have just come in gowns and white tie tuxedos, but they went a step further, which is what we all expect from celebrities.

And these below celebrities who understand the gravitas of the Met Gala and do their best to show that they understand the assignment.

Blake Lively

Blake Lively arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

With Blake Lively being co-host, I expected a lot. And she delivered. Even without the train, the dress is stunning. She paid tribute to America's history and the Gilded Age. Versace made a dress that showed how the Statue of Liberty has changed over the centuries due to oxidisation. And then the bodice had art-deco style shapes. It's perfect.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

SJP reminded us of the importance of research when thinking about the #MetGala. And she showed just why it's important. She decided to wear Christopher John Rogers, who paid homage to Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a former enslaved woman who was hired to dress Mary Todd Lincoln. The fascinator was by Phillip Treacy.

Quannah Chasinghorse

Quannah Chasinghorse arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

The model and activist looked into her heritage and paid homage to the American First Nations People. Prabal Gurung made the dress, which is gorgeous, but it's the accessories, especially that neck piece, that made the look sing.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson arrive at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

The parallels between her and Marilyn Monroe, have always been there. Both used scandals that could have ruined them and turned them into money making schemes. How American. I didn't know this Jean Louis dress made famous by Monroe when she sang ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President’ to President John F. Kennedy, was actually based off a Bob Mackie sketch. It’s fashion history and it’s clear that she did research. And it paid off handsomely. Pity about the lengths she went to so she could fit into this dress.

Shawn Mendes

Yeah, yeah it's not white tie. And thank goodness. The propped up collar on his trench and blazer by Tommy Hilfiger, is a very 19th century aesthetic. He looks like a modern travelling robber baron, like George Russell from The Gilded Age.

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

While we may think it's just simple platinum column gown with a fancy train and corsage by Versace (on theme for Gilded Glamour), but it's also a tribute to Diahann Carroll- a style icon our Black women loved to emulate.

Cardi B

Cardi B arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York. Picture: Reuters

One thing about Cardi is that she knows that she always has to be beyond excellent so that she gets her props. And this shmoney dress by Versace? The embroidery and the chains? The texture? It's like she’s wearing a coin mint!

Austin Butler

Austin Butler arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

The actor is getting rave reviews for his Elvis portrayal. And good looks. I like how de-constructed this Prada outfit is. It was like he was either in the processing of dressing up for (or undressing after ) a fancy dinner in 19th century New York.

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

This hooded gown by Ralph Lauren is one of my favourite looks at the Met Gala this year. And she looks fantastic. It's excessive, grand and totally Janelle.

Henry Golding

Henry Golding and Liv Lo arrive at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picture: Reuters

If you are going to do classic white tie, then Henry Golding is the standard.

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