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Gardens of Time: Iconic Looks From the Met Gala

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ODU chapter.

The best fashion event in the industry is not even related to fashion at all. Every year, the world’s most iconic fundraiser invites guests from all over the world; handpicked by Anna Wintour (longtime editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine and icon in the fashion industry) and her team, they spend their time at the Met Gala’s exhibition and banquet. With a new creative theme every year, and an ever-changing guest list; from A-lister Hollywood celebrities like Ariana Grande and Chris Hemsworth, F1 racer and style icon Lewis Hamilton, to YouTuber Emma Chamberlain, there is always something to see. The 2024 theme for the Met Gala Exhibition was Sleeping Beauties with a Gardens of Time dress code and these five looks are the most creative (in my opinion).

We’ll start with my favorite look from the event: Tyla’s sand dress. The newest pop sensation not only made a name for herself with her hit, “Water”, she also stole the show with her custom, Balmain made-to-fit mermaid gown made of a mixture of three–toned real sand and microcrystals molded to her body. Her designer jumped into the time aspect of the theme. By accessorizing her with a small handheld golden hourglass clutch and creating some “risen from sand” vibes by adding sand to her shoulder, he amplified how sand slips away in an hourglass–the disappearing nature of time. Iconic, classy and innovative-Tyla’s sand dress created waves at the Met Gala.

“The idea of sculpting a garment from something as ephemeral as sand ignited my imagination, and I could not be happier with the end result.”

-Creative director of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing to Vogue

“It’s been sleeping for the last 25 years. It’s literally a ‘sleeping beauty,’” “It’s such a special moment. I feel extremely honored that they’re allowing me to wear it.”

-Kendall Jenner, Model

The Kardashians are always in the news for their unique style decisions. Kendall Jenner was recently the topic of social media critics stating her antique, straight-from-the-archives original Givenchy dress was the furthest from the theme. However, in reality, she not only is on the theme for the code “Sleeping Beauties,” but she embodies it. Her black beaded dress was stored away for 25 years, unworn and unopened until Jenner wore it for the 2024 Met Gala, making it a real “sleeping beauty,” as Jenner mentioned. It was a coincidence that it even fit her perfectly, as only mannequins have worn pieces from the autumn 1999 Alexander McQueen collection for the house. Featuring a plunging soft V-neckline paralleled by another V-shaped cutout on her waist and blackish-brown tulle draping, the Givenchy look is Maleficent-coded and gives a dark enchantment flair to the Gardens of Time.

Another celebrity featuring a unique take on the Gala’s code was Doja Cat. She made quite the impression showing up to the streets of the hotel, posing for paparazzi in a towel! We all know about the “woke up like this” look; now we have a “straight out of the shower” look. She changed into another white drape, for the actual gala, however, this time a wet Vearamonts white t-shirt dripping with water and clinging to her skin. Doja Cat told the press her message behind using a plain white t-shirt was poetic: she chose to portray cotton, “the most used flower.” 

We see her vision, but seeing the execution makes us feel she could have used a “garden statue” spin. Posts came in all over X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram with pictures comparing her look to the marble–sculpted maidens that sit as a centerpiece on water fountains, often nude or partially clad in similar draping. As her look dripped in water letting the shirt sculpt over her form, she strongly resembled any of these ethereal statues. It could have even been elevated: a grey pigeon on her shoulder to match her dark grey teardrop eyeshadow (not the wildest look she has done), or the use of any fashion technology on her arms, like the kinetic butterflies on another look we will discuss later. 

Cameron Smith-Spain Barcelona Abroad Park Water Sunny Summer Palm Trees Fountain Statue.Jpg
Cameron Smith / Her Campus

Despite the potential, she had a great time pushing the boundaries of the theme, as she believes experimental and chaotic fashion is simply the best way to express her emotions. 

“I’m in this kind of chaotic place right now when it comes to fashion, where I’ve just been going into my closet and picking out the most random, weird, not-fitting thing to mix with another thing that does not really fit. It’s like mashed potatoes. But I’m embracing that,” she said. “It’s a little punk. It’s experimental for sure. It’s very manic. But I am going in a darker direction when it comes to visuals and fashion. I have a lot of pent-up feelings and anger, and I want to express it with beauty.”

While her unique, casual take on Gardens of Time was interesting, most decided to stick with the glam.

Model Anok Yai, is the underrated look of the event–her beautiful deep blue crystal embellished bodysuit used 98,000 crystals carefully placed by the Swarovski design team to adorn her from head to toe (literally, her sparkly heels were a continuation of the suit.). Featuring a heavily oversized diamond necklace and earrings 200 carats, her gradient look captured the attention of all fashion–lovers alluding to the water that gives life. Adding a touch of deep-sea ocean blue smokey eye, this model overpowered all the Hollywood glamour.

water ocean blue travel nature
Jackie Ryan / Her Campus

Moving away from models and singers, the Gala’s CEO attendees are killing the fashion game.  Harvard, Stanford and MIT triple degree holder Mona Patel’s nude–peach-colored body-hugging dress designed by Iris van Herpen, enchanted everyone who saw it. Bundles of layered fabrics were shaped and textured like butterfly wings, stitched together and draped on the back of her skirt creating a downward motion as they flowed through the red carpet. In terms of elements of fashion: She had everything. The shades used for the dress were in harmony with her two-toned diamond and rose gold earrings, and the delicate placement of the petal shapes created a voluminous skirt that caught an eye everywhere she walked. Adding the U–shaped cutout in front of the skirt rather than opting for a covered or even a side slit, only emphasized the butterfly inspiration.

Her bodice took a butterfly wing-shaped spin to a sweetheart neckline, complete with white embroidery and gold detailing. The stars of the show, however, were her robotic butterfly gloves. A collaboration between Iris van Herpan and Casey Curran, these gold and silver kinetic structures placed beautiful soft, metallic butterflies on gold wires banded all along her arms captivating audiences with each flap of their metal wings. Since she is a technology startup founder, it is only fitting that she bore these impressive robotic accessories in a beautiful combination of art and technology. Curran and Patel have released behind the scenes for creating the works in this reel.

This year’s guest list was said to be more exclusive than the previous years with the rumored elimination of most influencers including previous attendees: YouTuber James Charles and Tiktoker Addison Rae. As seen in this viral video posted by Danny Rayes, a culture/current events YouTuber. The reason Anna Wintour “banned TikTokers” was because A- list celebrities were upset with sharing the red carpet with influencers. 

Although he mentioned this is being posted by “all the major news publications,” none of the aforementioned statements are cited nor backed up by any credible sources. 

In fact, People Magazine reported that not only did TikTok sponsor the Sleeping Beauty Exhibition, there were plenty of TikTokers on the guest list. Tefi Pessoa is one Tiktoker invitee, known for her impersonal videos about life lessons and being a “best friend” to the watcher. She also interviewed Anna Wintour in this video asking her what she believes the theme of “sleeping beauty” represents.

“It’s really Andrew’s thesis behind the exhibition…

When he based the show on archival pieces that are too fragile to even be put on a mannequin. So he called those muses as sleeping beauties and how we’re trying to awaken them in the exhibition through different senses whether it’s sound or smell or technology…”

Regardlessly, the attendees blew it out of the park! The Gardens of Time let designers shine whether using water elements in Jennie’s deep blue dress or earth in Zendaya’s two looks inspired by a dying garden: a long luscious black funeral-esque gown paired with a Victorian-style hat adorned with colorful flowers and another Poison Ivy style blue and green mermaid gown decorated by vines, berries and feathers. 

Overall, the attendees did well, and Anna Wintour should be proud!

Hi! I’m a junior at ODU, majoring in business admin. I love to write, paint and letting my creativity shine! I would love to work further in event management one day.