Every year, the fashion enthusiasts await the Met Gala with vigor for both the outfits and the attendees, and the Met Gala 2021 guest list received just as much fanfare. The reveal of garments worn by celebrities at the Met Gala takes everyone’s breath away year after year. Some remain in our memory for years to come, such as Rihanna’s yellow Guo Pei gown, while some aren’t even memorable enough to make it onto flop lists. But no matter the outfit, gaining an invitation to the Met Gala basically grants a celebrity A-list status. This is perhaps the reason so many fans on Instagram and Twitter complained once they found out that influencers such as Addison Rae were invited.
So why the outrage? The Met Gala has a certain level of prestige to it — everyone wants to attend, but only a select few get the chance. Up until recent years, this meant that the attendees would be world renowned stars with impressive careers. However, a side effect of the rise of influencers is that their social media fame often translates into mainstream success (whether trolls want it to or not), gaining them access to events like the Met Gala. You can probably imagine similar outrage when the Kardashian-Jenners first started attending in the early 2010s. Perhaps the outrage would be lessened if infčuencers showed up in showstopping outfits, but their fashion, especially on red carpets, leaves much to be desired.
The influencer takeover is accompanied by a group of almost entirely Gen Z co-chairs, signaling that, hey, we’re in charge now. Anna Wintour tapped Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka to help her pull off this event, and with Gen Z in the driver’s seat, it got me thinking about all the fun table combinations that could come out of this year’s Met Gala. (Billie rubbing elbows with Rihanna? Yes please.)
Who, then, are Gen Z’s dream Met Gala attendees? What do we want to see from them? If I had the power to craft my dream Met Gala table, who would make the cut?
The Met Gala is not just about wearing beautiful clothes and looking your best (which seems to be most of influencer culture). The whole point of the event is to showcase fashion as an art form and show its versatility and mutability through the embodiment of different themes. The dream Met Gala attendees, therefore, have to follow the theme — this year, it’s “In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion” — and wear garments that stand out. We don’t want to see just another classic black dress or a peplum skirt. We want innovative design, craftsmanship, and looks that have us going: How in the world did they create that?
From this criteria, two names immediately come to mind: Rihanna and Zendaya. From Rihanna’s bedazzled pope outfit at the 2018 Met Gala to Zendaya’s light-up Cinderella gown at the 2019 Met Gala, these two gave us so many swoon-worthy fashion moments that it would be a fashion crime not to put them at my ideal Met Gala table. Given that Zendaya is now dating Tom Holland, it’s only fitting to put him at the same table. (If Zendaya has any influence over what Tom would wear, boy oh boy, would it be epic. I have faith he can at least do better than Shawn Mendes.)
The table wouldn’t be complete without the music industry — aka Taylor Swift — joining it. While Taylor’s outfits don’t always hit the nail on the head, her Met Gala outfits are remembered, especially the metallic dress with her bleached hair. Besides Taylor, the dream table is in desperate need of Blake Lively, one of Taylor’s BFFs, who perhaps has the best style of all celebrities. Seriously, I haven’t seen a fashion flop from this woman in years if ever. (Her husband Ryan Reynolds can be invited too, as a treat.)
The dream Gen Z table wouldn’t be complete without pop queen Olivia Rodrigo and Olympic champions Suni Lee or Simone Biles. Each one of them would add some needed freshness to the red carpet, and while none of them have attended the Met Gala yet, they all have the potential to show up in killer outfits. Olivia has a very nostalgic style (along with her music), and incorporating that vibe into her outfit would be interesting. She’s also apparently friends with co-chair Billie Eilish, and I’d love to see the two of them hanging out again. On the other hand, Simone and Suni would probably go all out, as they are well-acquainted with choosing outfits for their competitions. Plus, the theme is all about America — who better to represent that than our beloved silver medal champions?
Will we get a similar table in real life? What will the outfits look like? Will the wait since last year’s Met Gala cancellation have been worth it for some iconic moments, or will we be disappointed? I, for one, am incredibly excited. I hope that the designers and stylists really come through — and I hope the attendees, influencers or not, are ready to be the talk of the town.