After a year off of the fashion’s world biggest night, the Met Gala returned on September 13, 2021. The gala, typically held the first Monday of May, was canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020 and pushed into September of this year. As a brief background for those who don’t know, the Met Gala is a fashion-focused event in which celebrities and A-list designers choose to collaborate on a unique look to match the annual theme. The Met Gala is not only a place to exhibit all types of fashion, but it is a fundraiser and party for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.
This year’s theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” which was a little confusing for many fans of the event. However, it was highlighted by the gala organizer, Vogue, as “all things American fashion.” This year, like most years, has a theme that is very much open to interpretation by the celebrity and designers that choose to collaborate with one another. This year also featured a very diverse group of celebrities ranging from popular social media influencers to A-list models and actors. According to the same Vogue article, the theme was chosen to reflect a new wave coming into the fashion world based on social and political changes. There were many looks throughout the night, some to the extreme, and some baring the minimal. Let’s dive into and depict some celebrities’ and designers’ creations for the American theme.
Among those who reflect the newer takes of classic American fashion, there are looks of 1900s Hollywood glam all the way to a more “cowboy” or western approach. Billie Eilish (styled by Oscar de la Renta) wore a beautiful peach-colored ball gown with sheer shoulder caps and a sweetheart neckline. Her hair was styled as a short, wavy, swooped bob – a look with a perfect mix of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Pharrell Williams and his wife Helen Lasichanh sported sleek, black leather ensembles styled by Chanel. The looks were topped off with golden toe cowboy-style boots and gem-filled bolo ties. Jennifer Lopez also opted for a more western style approach with Ralph Lauren. Her long brown dress had a tattered appeal to it on the bottom half, likely nodding at the “classic” western-style slipping away. The dress also featured a high leg slit with a low-cut V-neck topped with a large western-style hat and low-sitting chunky belt. This was also likely a nod to the more modern approach of more revealing clothing while perishing the classic concept. Another notable look of classic America was by Ciara who worked with Peter Dundas to make a sequins-dress version of her husband Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks jersey. She paired this classic American game-inspired look with a football purse and her husband’s Superbowl ring.Others took the “new” American style to make political and social statements. Celebrities such as Kendall Jenner (by Givenchy), Zoë Kravitz (by Saint Laurent), Emily Blunt (by Miu Miu), and Olivia Rodrigo (by Saint Laurent) not so subtly pointed out the modern concept of not having to hide women’s bodies. Jenner and Blunt also channeled famous looks by Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, respectively. These celebrities, among others, wore mostly sheer outfits with lace and/or gem detailing. Megan Fox wore a bright red dress with a high leg slit and lace-up cutouts on the torso, styled by peter Dundas. This look was posted by Fox on Instagram, next to her VMA sheer dress from the night before. Fox captioned the photo noting she was “ignoring and defying all of your puritanical emotionally repressed projections of what a woman should be” which clearly states her stance on the new American fashion styles. Political statements were made by many, but four celebrities, in particular, noted less subtle statements. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, more commonly known as AOC, wore a Brother Vellies’ dress which was white and simple until she turned her back to reveal large red lettering stating to “TAX THE RICH.” Cara Delevigne wore something similar with white Dior “coveralls” and red lettering stating to “PEG THE PATRIARCHY.” Another politician Representative Carolyn Maloney had a straightforward explanation on her gown noting it is now “ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) YES” and there should be “Equal Rights for Women.” The designer Antonios Couture also included purple, gold, and white sashes to symbolize the colors for the suffragette movement. Lastly, Dave Levy (by LOEWE), who is out himself, sported a puffy-sleeved outfit with an outline of two men kissing making yet another simple statement towards the direction of the new America.