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The Met Gala Is Basically Just Prom Night For Celebrities

In case something catastrophic happened last night and you missed the 2021 Met Gala, during which Hollywood’s brightest stars left their lavish homes to don over-the-top looks and break the internet, it’s time to catch up ASAP. Despite some of your favorite Met Gala all-stars missing the grand event — AKA Zendaya, Gaga, Beyoncé, Harry Styles, and more — the night was still one for the books. If there’s anything I learned, it’s that this year’s Met Gala was seemingly dominated by Gen Z, plus, it was basically just prom night for the Hollywood elite — bathroom selfies and all.

Given that the 2021 Met Gala theme was “In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion,” I’ll begin with none other than American heartthrob and Met Gala co-chair Timothée Chalamet, who arrived at prom in an all-white satin tuxedo, sweats, and Converse sneakers. God bless America. Rumor has it that he skipped the limo ride and walked ten blocks to get to the Met, which leads me to believe he’s just like us, you know? Like the weirdly charming theater guy who sits behind you in homeroom, he stole our hearts. Timmy, please ask me to prom next year.

In true prom queen fashion, Gen Z royalty Emma Chamberlain dazzled (as usual) with her gold Louis Vuitton gown and stunning smokey eye. Dixie D’Amelio channeled Audrey Hepburn in a Valentino ensemble, and Billie Eilish’s Marilyn Monroe-inspired look revived old Hollywood glamour. Ella Emhoff (VP Kamala Harris’ stepdaughter) made her Met Gala debut in all red, along with another famous daughter, Natalia Bryant, who would’ve made her late father, Kobe Bryant, proud. Lil Nas X had an undeniably show stopping entrance, and I gasped when I saw Naomi Osaka and 18-year-old US Open Winner Emma Raducanu, who I absolutely wouldn’t mind being in a prom group with. 

While some stars left us confused by their tacky prom ‘fits, Gen Z showed the world that the Met Gala was low key all about them this year, with stars like Yara Shahidi, Madison Beer, Maisie Williams, Barbie Ferreira, and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman rendering us speechless. As usual, people questioned how Addison Rae got an invitation to Hollywood prom in the first place, but alas, she does have some fans, even if it’s unclear who they are

When Kendall Jenner arrived on prom night wearing a sheer gown (that I know she didn’t walk ten blocks in), I couldn’t help but notice the looming shadow following close behind her. Alas, it was Kim. Heads turned as Bennifer walked in wearing a Westworld-inspired getup, and while I’ll admit that the couple somewhat followed the “American” theme, their dramatic masked kiss left me wildly unsettled, much like Westworld itself. 

I lost my mind when Pete Davidson arrived at prom wearing a white tux and black skirt combo. Between the king of Staten Island, Dan Levy and his Met Gala debut, and rapper Jack Harlow, who looked dapper in his burgundy suit, next year’s Hollywood prom group is about to be next-level. Just saying. 

Ciara slayed in her football-themed dress, which was both a nod to hubby and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and a clear demonstration that she understood the “American” assignment. Famous couples like Channing Tatum and Zoë Kravitz were drop-dead gorgeous, along with Hailey and Justin, who gave us Three Blind Mice glam — although, admittedly, their look seemed too “prom-like” for my taste. Megan Fox and MGK were stunning, even if they continue to give us NSF-prom tongue kisses that we didn’t ask for, while others, like Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, (sadly) left me feeling un-American. To further add to the chaos, Frank Ocean brought a robot baby to prom, and proceeded to treat it like an actual baby all night.

Throughout the evening, Lil Nas X, Addison, Timmy, and friends continued taking selfies in the bathroom. Eyebrows raised when AOC demanded we tax the rich and when Cara Delevingne said to “peg” the patriarchy. And just when prom chaperones were getting ready to clean up for the night, Rihanna finally arrived wearing an oversized black blanket and a slouchy beanie. While the moment was undeniably worth it for RiRi’s existence alone, the quarantine chic look was just “eh” — but, I give her props for being comfy and showing up to prom instead of skipping. Plus, I’d like to cop whatever quilt-jacket-carpet A$AP Rocky had on, and my heart sings that the couple looked so happy upon their arrival. That’s what prom night is all about, right? 

In case it was unclear before, the Met Gala is basically a giant prom night for Hollywood stars. Unlike your high school prom, however, it’s way more expensive, you need access to the best designers in the world, and the event probably doesn’t have snacks, which is going to be a “no” from me (although this mysterious golden retriever in the corner did make things more exciting). Between the glitz, glamour, dramatic entrances, and he-said-she-saids, I can only imagine what it’s like to get ready for fashion’s biggest night of the year, during a pandemic, with a prom theme of none other than…America. 

That said, I wouldn’t mind an exclusive invite to next year’s prom night — especially considering the sheer talent and beauty of Gen Z, and the way they continue to completely upstage everyone around them. Until then, though, I’ll watch from afar as shouting paparazzi and angry prom chaperones gather on the sidelines to catch a glimpse of the most popular kids in school — I mean, Hollywood. As for your prom kings and queens? I’ll let you decide.

Tianna was an Associate Editor at Her Campus Media HQ where she covers all things pop culture, entertainment, wellness, and TikTok trends. She graduated from North Carolina State University and received her masters from Columbia University. Tianna currently lives in New York City where you can find her sipping coffee, practicing yoga, and singing show tunes.