What is the Met Gala, and why are the outfits so eccentric? This is not your usual red carpet, and here we are to explain the importance of this day.
The first Monday in May arrived to let us celebrate the importance of fashion and fundraise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Organized by Vogue Magazine, the Met Ball is considered one of the most exclusive events in the world. The guest list is checked by Anna Wintour herself, and a chair in the event can cost over 30.000 dollars. Every camera turns to the red carpet while personalities from music, film, high society, and theater gather to celebrate art and inaugurate the fashion exhibit of the year.
But the Met Gala is not your usual red carpet. With the invitation comes great responsibility: Following the chosen theme. Every year Vogue announces the dress code for the evening, which matches the museum exhibition. It is about highlighting the crucial moments of fashion in the history of the world. It’s a night to remember that clothes go beyond what we see and can encapsulate feelings or moments in history. From “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” to “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” the Met Gala has allowed designers to explore their creativity to unite the 21st century with historical fashion.
This year’s theme was “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” evocating Gilded glamour. It takes us back to the 1870s, a time of unprecedented prosperity, change, and industrialization. New York changed overnight with skyscrapers creating a beautiful skyline and fortunes arising all over the city. The telephone and the lightbulb were invented during the Gilded Era, named by Mark Twain, and the world started to see a process of change that has not stopped since then. And fashion is no exception.
According to the Met organizers themselves, there is only one word to describe this era in fashion: Excess. Thanks to technological innovation, creation processes were cheaper and faster, leading to an ideal of the more, the better. A combination of textiles and over-the-top textures was the key to standing out during this time. From feathers to diamonds, this theme is about opulence and creativity.
Because of that, one of the most important dresses of the night was worn by Blake Lively, who also served as a co-chair this year. Not only did she bring an enormous bow that transformed itself into another dress, but she also encapsulated New York City in her outfit. She was inspired by the architecture, so the colors showed the transformation of the Statue of Liberty from copper to blue due to oxidation, and the textile images recreated the ceiling of the Grand Central Station. She stole the show with her dress, proving that gilded fashion and New York cannot be understood separately. Other looks that stood out for following the theme were Rosalía, Isabelle Boemeke, and Billie Eilish.
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But one of the night’s biggest moments came when Kim Kardashian appeared in the iconic Marilyn Monroe dress from “Happy Birthday Mr. President.” Never worn before by another person, the dress is made of six thousand hand-sewn crystals and gives an idea of shining nakedness. This type of dress is more common now, but during its time, it was controversial. Revealing outfits were not the norm. As the dress cannot be altered because of its historical importance, Kim had to enter a strict routine to be able to fit in it. The look may not be Gilded fashion in the characteristic sense, but it captures the sense of opulence and excess that formed this era.
Now we wait for the following first Monday in May, while we remember that Met Gala is not about who looks more stylized or has the cutest dress, but it is about following the theme and finding ways to explore historical fashion with our modern touches.