After much anticipation, the Met Gala finally arrived — and celebrities delivered.
The coveted event, usually held on the first Monday in May at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, saw a number of celebrities interpret American style in various ways. The theme, which was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” was the first of the Costume Institute’s two-part examination of fashion in the U.S.
A recurring theme at the gala captured the essence of a certain time period in American culture: the “old Hollywood glamour” depicted in the ‘40s to ‘60s, with icons such as Marilyn Monroe.
One of the first to step onto the red carpet was none other than Billie Eilish, who veered off her typical style of comfortable, oversize clothing and wore a custom peach-colored Oscar de la Renta gown featuring a printed tulle ombré bustier top and with an oversize tulle skirt. Her new bleach blonde hair styled in soft curls to show a bob brought out her inner Marilyn.
Eilish was one of the four co-chairs for this year’s event, along with Timothée Chalamet, Amanda Gorman and Naomi Osaka.
Barbie Ferreira of “Euphoria” also referenced old Hollywood glam, wearing a custom pearl-encrusted Jonathan Simkhai gown that exudes the popular burlesque era in the U.S. decades ago. She wore her hair down in curls and finished the look off with sultry purple eye makeup.
Megan Thee Stallion debuted at the event wearing head-to-toe Coach, sporting a custom form-fitting, baby pink dress that featured dramatic asymmetric ruffling. The rapper’s hair was crimped in loose finger waves, which was made popular in the ‘20s and ’30s.
“That’s my favorite era, so I’m like, ‘OK, we got to give it, we got to serve it.’ I’m giving Megan Monroe,” the rapper told YouTuber Emma Chamberlain in a Vogue interview.
While some celebrities served old Hollywood more generally, some decided to be more specific in their exact vision for their looks. Many turned to the classics, channeling fashion figures such as Audrey Hepburn.
This was the case for Kendall Jenner, who stunned in custom Givenchy, walking the carpet with the brand’s creative director, Matthew Williams. Her outfit was a modern re-creation of the ball dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady.”
The long gown had an illusion tulle, fully embroidered with crystal beads, flowers and fringe, over a nude corset bodysuit. Jenner topped the look off with matching gloves and beige leather sandals.
Another celebrity who channeled a fashion icon was Yara Shahidi, whose Met Gala outfit was inspired by Josephine Baker, a legendary American-French entertainer. Later on in her life, Baker became a French Resistance agent during World War II and a civil rights activist. She also was the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture, “Siren of the Tropics,” which was released in 1927.
Shahidi wore a custom Christian Dior strapless silk dress embroidered with beads, a thin belt around the waist, and complete with a short trail and gold tulle cape. She also wore matching gloves, a braided cap and a plunging diamond necklace. Her makeup was also by Dior Beauty.
Kaia Gerber made her debut at the Met Gala in custom Oscar de la Renta. The look was a re-creation of Bianca Jagger’s black Dior dress from when she attended the Met Gala back in 1981, with legendary American designer Halston by her side. The look featured a more floral-like pattern at the top of the corset, then flowed out like a ball gown.
The 20-year-old model even styled her hair just as Jagger did for the look, keeping it simple yet chic.
Gigi Hadid returned to the event once more in an outfit that exuded a modern twist on a Jackie Kennedy Onassis-inspired look. The model wore a custom white column dress featuring a thigh-high leg slit in the back by Prada, with black leather elbow gloves, embellished tights and crystal black pointed pumps. Her normally blonde hair was red for the night, styled in a high ponytail finished with a black Prada clip.
“We wanted to just showcase something that can be really simple yet regal. Maybe we’re giving a little nod to the first ladies who have carried our country over the years. Maybe we’re giving a little nod to some ‘50s, ‘60s glamour, Vogue,” Hadid told Chamberlain in a Vogue interview.
Though the model didn’t exactly specify who inspired her, the look was somewhat reminiscent of a pink strapless Christian Dior gown and white gloves the former first lady wore to a dinner at the White House celebrating André Malraux, then France’s Minister of Cultural Affairs, in 1962.
Tracee Ellis Ross walked the Met Gala carpet in Balenciaga, wearing a dress from the brand’s fall 2021 couture collection. The actress wore a cobalt blue, collared satin coat paired with jewelry from Tiffany & Co., for whom she is a global ambassador. On the carpet, Ross stated her look was an homage to her mother Diana Ross in the 1975 film, “Mahogany.”
Halle Bailey, arriving with her sister Chlöe for their first Met Gala appearance, wore a sequined, pink bodysuit, paying homage to the great Tina Turner, who loved sporting a good bodysuit. The look featured a deep, plunging neckline and plenty of fringe detailing all around. She finished the look with matching pink heels and her hair up in a high ponytail.
This year’s Met Gala invited approximately 400 guests — a third of its normal amount in the past. The event is a fundraising benefit for the Museum of Metropolitan Art in New York City. Last year, the Met Gala was ultimately canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibit will be available on Sept. 18. The second part is scheduled for May 2, 2022, with the theme “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.”
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