This year’s best Met Gala looks channeled the abstract


Georgia Jensen, staff writer

Each year, on the first Monday of May, the world’s biggest names in culture, music, and the arts come together for fashion’s biggest night of the year: the Met Gala. Acting as one of the few positives of the pandemic, the past 12 months have seen not one but two Met Galas, both of which draw inspiration from the same exhibit, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” albeit under different themes. 

“Gilded Glamor,” the theme of the event this past weekend, refers to the Gilded Age in American history, a period between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the 20th century. As a time of vast economic growth, the era is commonly associated with its opulence and decadence, characterized by lavishly elaborate fashions like corsets and bustles for women, as well as refined four-piece suits, and narrow silhouettes for men. 

As to be expected, not everyone was on theme, and although celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Olivia Rodrigo stunned in elegant, floor-length gowns, being both stunning and on-theme is what separates a Met Gala look from any other red carpet appearance. 

The night’s most memorable looks opted for a more abstract thematic interpretation. These are some of the night’s best (on-theme) looks, listed in no definitive order. 

  1. Blake Lively:

One of the night’s four hosts, Lively set the bar high. Putting her own unique spin on the theme, Lively’s custom-made Versace gown paid homage to the iconic Gilded Age architecture. With a bodice recreating the detailing of the Empire State Building, a train mimicking the Statue of Liberty’s oxidation, and embroidered replications of the constellations that adorn the ceiling of Grand Central Station, Lively’s dress was a fashion monument to all things New York. 

Courtesy of Vogue Magazine

      2. Lizzo:

The “About Damn Time” singer’s look plays interestingly on gender-specific fashion tropes of the era. Lizzo’s corset and gilded coat by designer Thom Browne are references to common styles worn by women and men of the time. Her corset, with a black fully-corseted dress, promotes fashion freedom, serving a purely aesthetic purpose rather than to unrealistically contort the singer’s figure. Her coat was a similar reimagination of a classic Gilded style: the Chesterfield coat, typically worn by men of the age. 

Courtesy of Vogue Magazine

      3. Evan Mock:

The “Gossip Girl” actor similarly channeled androgyny for his Met Gala look through an imaginative combination of the age’s most prevalent masculine and feminine styles. Mock’s jacket, designed by Gen-Z brand Head of State, combines the feminine corseted waistline with more masculine aspects such as a plunging vest line, frilled collar, and a narrow silhouette. 

Courtesy of Vogue Magazine

      4. Sarah Jessica Parker:

SJP’s full Christopher John Rogers look was undoubtedly eye-catching. With an exaggerated bustle, loud gingham print, and an extravagant headpiece, the only thing better than Parker’s look is its inspiration. Inspired by the White House’s first Black female designer, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, Parker’s dress is a modernized version of one of Keckley’s most iconic designs of the 1860s: the gingham gown. 

Courtesy of Vogue Magazine

      5. Riz Ahmed:

Ahmed’s ensemble by 4S Designs easily took the most creative and thought-provoking approach to the night’s theme. Unlike the night’s more extravagant looks, Ahmed’s paid tribute to the influx of immigrant workers during the Gilded Age. Dressed in repurposed workwear, Ahmed’s ensemble is a celebration of immigrant culture. 

Courtesy of Vogue Magazine