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My Favorite (and Least Favorite) 2021 Met Gala Outfits

The Met Gala finally returned after a two-year hiatus, and to be honest, I’m disappointed. I am such a huge fan of the Met Gala and look forward to it every year, but this year let me down. The theme was not the best (In America: A Lexicon of Fashion), the guest list was all over the place, and the outfits were average. There were notable attendees absent like Blake Lively, Bella Hadid, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga, and the entire event did not seem like the Met Gala, only a sad copy. There were some good looks but none that made me gasp like I typically do every year. It was actually the lowest-grossing gala since 2004. With that being said, I did have my fair share of favorite looks as well as least favorite looks so I am going to share them with you now.

FAVORITES

WOW!!! This Christian Siriano gown that Lili Reinhart wore is absolutely beautiful. Although it may not appear to have followed the theme at first glance, each state flower from the 50 states is present on the dress which is a great nod to the “America” part of the theme and so incredibly unique.

In what may be my favorite look from the night we have Kendall Jenner in Givenchy. It was said that she was channelling Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Dolittle in “My Fair Lady” and Givenchy was Audrey’s favorite designer, so that makes sense. However, I did not want anyone to channel Hepburn as she is not American. Regardless, this dress is absolutely beautiful and is very reminiscent of Old Hollywood–which I am obsessed with.

Another look that slayed with Old Hollywood channelling, is Gigi Hadid in Prada. I love this gown and as per usual Hadid kills the Met carpet. I love the sparkly tights and the leather gloves and the entire look is so elegant. Hadid even switched up her hair color to red which somehow made the look even better. Along with the Old Hollywood feel, it is almost giving me 90s supermodel vibes which is a huge part of American culture.

This also is such a contender for my favorite look of the night! Lupita Nyong’o SLAYED in this custom Versace denim look. I love how well it goes with the American theme because what’s more American than denim? The entire look is constructed so beautifully and it definitely stood out. It was very reminiscent of Britney Spears who is an American icon in her own sense. Overall, this gown is GORGEOUS and Lupita really knew what she was doing (as per usual.)

In the words of my mom “This is a work of art.” I absolutely love this Iris Van Herpen gown and Gabrielle Union looks phenomenal. This dress is so amazing. The construction is so intricate and unique and I loved it the second I saw it. Once again, it doesn’t really match the theme, but it is so gorgeous that I can get over it.

Sienna Miller looks absolutely stunning in this Old Hollywood-esque Gucci gown. The whole look screams class and elegance and I am obsessed. I will always be more interested in classic looks like this one and it was exactly what I was hoping to see when it comes to channelling the golden age of Hollywood.

WOW!!! Emily Blunt look amazing in this custom Miu Miu!!! This dress is so incredibly gorgeous and she definitely was one of the best dressed of the night. She was referencing Hedy Lamar in 1941’s “Ziegfeld Girl” and she executes it perfectly. The headpiece is definitely my favorite part.

For any sports fans out there, this one is for you. I absolutely love Ciara in this custom Dundas gown. The dress is inspired by her husband, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson (who graduated from NC State!!!). The color is green–one of the colors of the Seattle Seahawks (the team he plays for)–and has his jersey number. The shoulders are padded to look like the shoulders of a football jersey and the entire look is so unique. She held a football shaped purse and even wore Wilson’s Super Bowl ring. It was such a sweet nod to her husband as well as to American football.

It’s not a Met Gala without the presence of Donatella Versace. Of course she was wearing Versace and I really do like this gown. It really does not follow the theme, but it’s Donatella so she will get away with it. Also in attendance with her was Maluma–also in Versace. I love the entire outfit and I love the homage it pays to the American West.

PETE. DAVIDSON. In his own words he said he felt like a “slutty nun” and I am not sure how to respond. Davidson was one of the people that I was most looking forward to seeing on the carpet and he totally killed in this Thom Browne dress and coat. He looked so good and it really was not what I was expecting him to wear but I was pleasantly surprised.

One of the few people who actually showed up in red, white and blue was Debbie Harry in Zac Posen. This dress is so American and I love it so much. It almost reminds me of the “Star Spangled Banner” that is on display in the American History Museum in Washington, D.C. and the denim jacket really ties the entire look together to solidify the “America” of the look.

Um. Wow. This entire look is so incredibly stunning. (A reminder that Iman is 66 years old and looks this good!!) Once again, I am not really sure how this follows the theme (if someone can explain please tell me), but Harris Reed really made an amazing piece. The headpiece alone is huge and this is definitely one of the looks that stood out to me.

This was Kaia Gerber’s first Met Gala and she definitely did not disappoint. It was an updated version of Bianca Jagger’s Oscar De La Renta gown and she looks absolutely stunning. The dress is very very simple, but it reminds me of Old Hollywood silhouettes which makes me really like this gown.

Grimes brought a sword on the Met Gala red carpet. I repeat, Grimes brought a sword on the Met Gala red carpet. I described this Iris Van Herpen look as “so ugly, its cute” to my friends when we were talking about it. It is so unique, but is definitely not something that I would ever wear, but that’s okay. Grimes said that she was inspired by the book “Dune” which is how she described why it was representative of “America.” The sword is a melted down AR15 and will become a part of the Met’s collection.

Lil Nas X did NOT come to play. He pulled a Lady Gaga a la 2019, and had multiple outfit changes–all of them being Versace. He started with a massive gold coat, then he changed to golden armor, and finally a gold rhinestoned bodysuit which he looked amazing in. Lil Nas is truly unafraid to be himself, and he showed that on the carpet. Not sure how this represents the theme but this was too iconic to leave out of my favorites.

This. Look. I love it. Yara Shahidi was the picture of class and glamour with this Josephine Baker inspired Christian Dior gown. The color has a vintage feel to it and the entire look is so beautiful. The train was actually a cape that she wore on her head when she arrived. She definitely understood the assignment and was definitely one of best dressed of the night. 

This look is another strong contender for my best dressed of the night. “Euphoria” star, Barbie Ferreria, did NOT come to play at this years Gala in Jonathan Simkahi. The pearls and the detailing remind me so much of 1920s Hollywood and the entire look exudes glamour. She looked so amazing and I really do love this dress. The draping pearls is so elegant and she really understood the theme and executed her look perfectly.

There were lots of mixed emotions when it came to Dan Levy in this Loewe ensemble. This was one of the few looks that I actually gasped when I saw and I absolutely love it. It is so different and really screams MET GALA, which very few looks actually did this year. I love that the fabric is a map of the world (primarily the US) and it really put a fun twist on the American theme.

Next we have the always stylish Timothée Chalamet in a Haider Ackerman suit, Rick Owens shirt, and Chuck Taylor CONVERSE!!!!!! Chalamet revealed his look in a peculiar Instagram live moments before the carpet opened (I was watching of course) and he did not disappoint. The entire look is extremely unique and not everyone’s cup of tea, but it really highlights American athleisure (in a fancy way) as well as his own personal style. I absolutely am in love with the fact that he wore Chuck Taylor Converse. At first I was appalled that he would go to the Met Gala in Converse, but it pays such homage to classic American fashion and I absolutely adore it. He was definitely one of the best dressed men of the night–as per usual.

STUNNING. STUNNING. STUNNING. Normani absolutely killed the red carpet in this gorgeous yellow Valentino gown. Although this does not follow the theme, this dress is so incredibly gorgeous that I will give it a pass. All of the Valentino looks this year were so beautiful, but this one stood out to me the most. She was definitely one of the best dressed.

How can I make a best dressed list without including the QUEEN of the Met Gala, Ms. Anna Wintour. (Who I wish I could be because who wouldn’t?) She wore custom Oscar De La Renta to honor him (he passed in 2014.) Even Wintour did not follow the theme and she is the one that pretty much plans the entire Gala so I think that this factor alone can summarize that the theme this year was not the strongest. Regardless, the dress is so beautiful and unique and I love the ruffles. Twitter was quick to point out how similar it was to the dress that Taylor Swift wore to the 2021 Grammys (also Oscar De La Renta.)

Anok Yai absolutely SLAYED her Old Hollywood homage with this Oscar De La Renta gown. This dress is so beautiful and intricate and does such a perfect job and recognizing classic fashion from the golden age. The fur is amazing and the jewelry compliments the dress perfectly. Definitely one of the best dressed without a doubt.

I am such a sucker for floral appliqués and tulle, so this Edwin Oudshoorn dress that NikkieTutorials wore attracted my attention. The colors are absolutely stunning and the flowers really pop against the brightness of the teal. The dress paid homage to late LGBTQ+ icon Marsha P Johnson with the “pay it no mind” printed on the sash which is what Johnson would say when asked what the P in their middle name stood for.

Olympian Allyson Felix really went for gold in this extravagant Fendi ensemble. The whole piece had over 240,000 Ostrich feathers. This is yet another outfit that did not match the theme, but I feel the need to appreciate the artistry that went into making this piece and how beautiful it is.

LEAST FAVORITES

First for my least favorites we have Lily Rose Depp in Chanel. I HATE two-piece dresses so there was no way that I was going to like it–even if it is Chanel which is typically a favorite of mine. I like the pink, but it is boring and does not look like something that belongs at the MET GALA (which is going to be a reason for a lot of the outfits in my least favorites.) She typically dresses so well and I was really disappointed with her look this year. There were absolutely zero elements of the theme, and the outfit did not make up for it.

Next I have ANOTHER Chanel look. Don’t get me wrong, this blouse is gorgeous and I would love it at literally any other event. Kristen Stewart looks great, but I think she looks like she is going to a business meeting (where she would be the best dressed), but this is NOT an outfit you wear to the Met Gala. I think it is so bland for the Gala and like Lily Rose Depp, I was expecting more from her.

I truly cannot express my dislike for this Balenciaga ensemble that Kim Kardashian wore. It for one does not match the theme at all and it is really just ugly. I think she was more focused on promoting “Donda” for Kanye West than actually paying attention to the theme. (She has been dressing like this for the past few weeks for promo events.) I really wish she would have done something different especially because she was so well dressed at the 2019 event where she dressed in a custom Thierry Mugler dress that made her appear wet. Not sure how she was able to see through the face mask and think it would be such a pain to have to wear.

I was SO looking forward to what Olivia Rodrigo was going to wear and I was really disappointed. This entire Saint Laurent look just doesn’t do it for me. She tried to say that it matched the theme because she “likes punk rock” and thought the dress was very punk rock which is apparently very American, but I do not see the comparison at all. Sorry Olivia, love you and your music but this look is not my favorite.

I had such high expectations for Kacey Musgraves after she showed up to the 2019 Met Gala literally dressed identically to Malibu Barbie and I was unsettlingly let down. This look has potential be the most basic and boring look of the entire night. The only American thing about it was the fact that Ralph Lauren designed it. The top looks like it could have come from Shein. The skirt is fun, I guess, but this is NOT what Met Gala fashion is and I would think she would know that after completely killing it at the Gala prior.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love pink and I love Moschino, but this Lourdes Leon look screams “Cher Halloween costume” to me. I was hoping that someone would pay homage to Cher and her iconic Met Gala looks, but this dress does not hit the spot. It looks very cheap to me and I just don’t like it.

I’m sorry but I am still not sure what I am looking at. This entire Collina Strada look that Kim Petras wore is so bad I gasped in horror when I saw it. The horse head is truly horrifying and I just hate it. The fabric on the dress is actually very pretty, but I do not like the padded hips and really wish the dress was constructed in a different way, MINUS THE HORSE HEAD.

Megan. Megan Megan. I was rooting for her to show up in something phenomenal and she is really giving me Sweet 16 vibes in this Coach gown. I do not like the asymmetrical shape of the dress and it overall looks like a dress someone would wear to Prom. I really wish she would have gone in a different direction because her red carpet looks are always on point. I mean it is a pretty dress, but it is not a good choice for the Met Gala. Megan said that she was paying homage to Marilyn Monroe, but I would not have picked up on that if she had not said anything.

I really really really really really did not like this Prada outfit that Storm Reid wore. With the skirt on, it’s not terrible. But once the skirt came off, I truly don’t think I like single thing about it (maybe that it’s pink?) It looks like a dance competition outfit and I’m not sure what she was thinking. Her necklace though was absolutely beautiful, I just wish she had a different outfit to compliment it.

I know I am going to get hate for this one, but I need to air out my thoughts on Troye Sivan’s Joseph Altuzarra dress. At literally any other event, I think he would be on the best dressed list but for the MET GALA this is so incredibly bland and boring. I do really love the Rick Owens shoes that he wore with it but the dress itself does not belong on a Met carpet. All it needed was some beading, sparkle, feathers, SOMETHING to make it not just a black dress with a deep u neckline and holes on the sides.

I am really confused as to what Rebecca Hall was wearing. She wore this shiny leather Batsheva dress that had what looks like fabric from a grandma’s sofa at the bust, collar, and at the bottom. I just don’t like a single thing about the dress and the only thing American about it is the designer, but like Kacey Musgraves, that’s not going to cut it in my book.

This I another one that I am going to get hate for but HEAR ME OUT!!! Emma Chamberlain wore a custom gold and silver dress by Louis Vuitton and let me say, the dress is pretty (not my favorite but it isn’t terrible), BUT it incorporates zero elements of the theme and I really was expecting more from her. I am a stickler when it comes to theme–unless the outfit is so stunning in that case I can look past it–and unfortunately this dress is not doing that for me.

Having Vera Wang on a least favorites list just doesn’t feel right, but I am very confused as to what this is that she was wearing. It is so much and just looks like someone went to their closet and pulled the most random pieces they could find. I really expected more from THE VERA WANG but I will give her props for looking that good at 72 years old.

It took me so incredibly long to realize that this was Hailee Steinfeld. She looks totally unrecognizable in this Iris Van Herpen dress. Iris Van Herpen had a lot of really amazing pieces to hit the Met carpet this year, but this one doesn’t do it for me. It’s definitely really cool, but I think Hailee’s makeup and hair is what is throwing me off on this one.

I had many more ‘least favorites’, but I did not want to focus on all the looks that I did not like.

Overall, this year’s gala really disappointed me. I am such a huge fan of the Met Gala and was expecting so much more from everyone. I did really love a lot of outfits, but most of them did not feel like Met outfits to me and they felt more like outfits that belong on different red carpets like the Oscars or Grammys. Very few actually made the mark, and even when they did they don’t compare to the looks of years past. I like when all of the outfits at the Gala are cohesive (like 2018’s Heavenly Bodies) and this year just did not feel like a Met Gala, it almost seemed like it was the Gala’s little sister who was trying so hard to be like her older sister, but missed the mark. The missing presence of Blake Lively, Zendaya, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and more were definitely felt and greatly greatly missed. (I definitely may have shed a tear or two when the red carpet ended and Blake Lively didn’t show up.) I am looking forward to the next Gala which will be held in just nine months on May 2nd, 2022 and hopefully it will not disappoint.

Cameron is a freshman at NC State University and is from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is obsessed with pop culture, fashion, and Timothée Chalamet. She hopes to work at Vogue magazine after graduating.
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