Met Gala Community Reviews

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Sebastian Stan

Despite Sebastian Stan’s recent role as murderer/cannibal/kidnapper in the Horror-Comedy Fresh, his Valentino monochrome ensemble at the Met Gala is without question his biggest jump scare of 2022. Stan swaggered into the event sporting a pink overcoat and matching long sleeve shirt and pants that made him easily identifiable in a crowd. Unfortunately, the head-to-toe fuschia look failed to replicate the glamor of the Gilded Age. In fact, Stan shared a greater resemblance to a pink highlighter than to a gentleman from the late 19th century. I have decided that it may be best to refrain from judging Stan’s stylist as perhaps the intense neon color of the atrocious suit blinded her while she was selecting it? I truly must give Stan credit for his grand accomplishment— it’s quite remarkable that he managed to attend such a prestigious event, wearing one of the most esteemed designer brands, and still wind up looking like a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

 

Nicola Coughlan

The Met Gala underwhelmed me and many others this year as few attendees followed this year’s theme of White Tie and Gilded Glamor. I could talk about how Billie Eilish wore an on-theme upcycled dress or how Blake Lively glamorously paid tribute to the architecture of New York. Instead, I want to discuss an amazing dress that was unfortunately overlooked. 

Nicola Coughlan, an Irish actress famous for her role as Penelope Featherington in the Netflix series Bridgerton, wore an absolutely stunning dress and cape that followed the theme better than most of the gala guests. The base of the dress was pink with a black bust and a heavy black cloak. The dress used many elements from Gilded Age fashion including pink puffy gigot sleeves and black elbow length ballroom gloves. The element that took the outfit to the next level for me was the pink and black feathers that protruded from tiny flowers. The flowers each had a crystal in the center from which the feathers popped out. Coincidentally, the outfit pays tribute to Coughlan’s Bridgerton character, whose last name contains the word “feather.” 

I believe that Coughlan’s experience in wearing period dresses on the set of Bridgerton helped her develop a sense of the look she wanted to create for the Met Gala. While Bridgerton celebrates fashion of a different era in a different country, many themes overlap. Overall, I don’t think Coughlan and her styling team received enough attention or credit for the amazing job they pulled off. Her dress was both on-theme and unique.

 

Winnie Harlow

I adored how model and spokesperson Winnie Harlow, dressed by the revolutionary Iris Van Herpen, portrayed Gilded Glamour in a prevalent, luxurious fashion. She dressed in a white, translucent mini dress decorated with a massive white organza flower-like accent on the front and back. In the middle of two embellishments was a large black applique, extending in tendrils like a branch across the front of the dress. The outfit featured clear, spine-like 3D accents extending outward for an avant-garde look. I love these unique pieces that emerge from the dress itself, allowing the outfit to diverge from the lifeless suits and gowns of other attendees. Harlow’s footwear included close-toed white slingback stiletto heels with bow detailing at the back, which was a less unique choice, but allowed the dress to receive more attention.

The standout portion was a gorgeous headpiece crafted by Van Herpen, who is known for her lavish and experimental headwear. I loved the manner in which the headpiece featured glass and gold detailing in addition to white flame-like accents and clear gemstones. The headpiece reflected the spine-like look of the dress, but also recalled the look of an elegant candelabra, thanks to the flamed accents. I agreed with the way Harlow’s hair was elegantly pulled back, allowing the wearable art piece to shine. 

Van Herpen’s work exemplified how Gilded age gowns were meant to display wealth and status. Her dress was so intricately structured, so detailed, and so covered in luxurious materials and jewels so as to seem that she was not merely wearing clothes, but art.

As a Van Herpen enthusiast, I was excited to see her work at this year’s gala. I admire her unique substance that plays with fabric and metal in a confrontational manner. Her work on Harlow contrasted amongst the more dull designs at the event, created by artists like Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Riccardo Tisci. While many arrived in a simple gown or a lethargic tuxedo, Harlow stood out in Van Herpen’s eccentric work.

 

Riz Ahmed

Fashion is inherently political, especially outfits worn to events of great prestige. Each attendee of the Met Gala has the ability to make a statement. As expected of the dress code, many attendees leaned into the opulence and extravagance reflective of the Gilded-Age era American upper class. Riz Ahmed proved a refreshing interpreter of this year’s theme by wearing an outfit that honored “the immigrant workers who kept the Gilded Age golden,” according to his red carpet interview with Vogue. Double-knee pants, a silk jacket, a tank top, and knee-high boots identified a workwear silhouette, while his Cartier necklace was inspired by Islamic jewelry from India. The look was custom-made by 4S Designs, an independent immigrant designer.

Notably, during the now-often romanticized Gilded Age, unrestrained worker exploitation was the norm, political corruption was rampant, and racist policies like the Chinese Exclusion Act were enacted. The irony was not lost on much of the general public that Gilded Glamour was the theme of choice during a time of extreme and increasing wealth disparity and inequity. In fact, the “Gilded” in the name Gilded Age was coined by Mark Twain to describe that the period was glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath.

Ahmed’s look was a lone sobering reminder of reality for marginalized Americans in what critics call an “out-of-touch” dress code for an event that represents one side of an ever-widening gulf.

His choice to reference socioeconomic disparity, like other “politically conscious” outfits, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2021 “tax the rich” dress, brings viewers back to the implications of making such a statement while attending an event with a $35,000 ticket. While the ethics of these disparities are up for debate, I found Ahmed’s outfit remarkable and powerful. By breaking through the superficial nature of the event, Ahmed’s statement shines through more strongly and provides necessary nuance to media coverage and conversation.

 

Kardashians

Let’s talk about the Kardashians/Jenners at the Met Gala and let’s start with the worst one. For context, this year’s theme was Gilded Glamour from New York’s Gilded Age (think Bridgerton but better). Kourtney, like at the Oscars, was very much low budget, not on theme in the slightest. Her outfit was giving NYC fashion student Tik Toks (an okay outfit and then layers on layers). 

Kylie: Much love to you, but what did you have on? Her dress for the carpet was so awful and in no way on theme. It was giving wedding dress in the worst possible way and let’s not even talk about the backwards cap. She stated that she did not care what people thought of her outfit, but we’re the ones who get to sit in sweats and watch, so Kylie… we care. She wore the outfit in honor of Virigl Abloh, the founder of Off-White, who died this past November, but if you had seen the dress she wore to the after party, you would be incredibly confused. Her after party dress consisted of a white corset as the bodice, a white silk skirt, and a ruched mesh cover for her top also from Off-White. Would that dress be completely on theme for the carpet? Not really. Should she have worn it on the carpet rather than the literal wedding dress? Yes. 

Next is Khloe. Mediocre at best. Looked like Kim’s but worse. Not worth mentioning. 

Kim wore the same dress that Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to JFK. She wore it because the “most American thing” she could think of was Marilyn Monroe. The vision was definitely there but it didn’t have the effect that she thought it would; it was rather anticlimactic in comparison to other outfits on the carpet. 

Lastly, we have Kendall Jenner. She looked absolutely gorgeous. She showed up in all black; the skirt looked a lot like Kylie’s (but done right) — the top was sheer with small flowers. She wore a small mesh top over the sheer one. She was the only Kardashian/Jenner that was on theme. Go her. 

Kris gets an honorable mention because she’s Kris and turned five girls (with little to no talent) into multimillionaires. Her dress was okay. Blake Lively is another honorable mention because, as she does every year, she ate.