The Met Gala is an annual event hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Last month, celebrities and even influencers (who are given the honor of an invite) were called by Anna Wintour to show off their sense of fashion at the event. Ranging from Fashion in an Age of Technology to Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, the Met Gala changes its theme yearly and is optional for those in attendance. This year, the theme of the Met Gala was In America: A Lexicon of Fashion and, as one could guess, many celebrities used this as an opportunity to speak their minds on the issues in our country.
The first protest that caught my eye was Kim Kardashian’s all black Balenciaga ensemble. Her outfit had every inch of her face and body covered, yet everyone was able to identify her solely based on her silhouette. At first, no one knew the reason behind her outfit or how it connected to the topic of America. After some time, she spoke up and cleared the air. She posted on her Instagram story, “For someone who is always criticized for being overly sexual, Kim showed she can cover every square inch of skin and still find a way to be criticized and ridiculed. THAT is “American culture.” In the age of social media, Kim is easily identified by (and sexualized for) her body, even when she is covered head to toe. Perhaps much of the blame falls on the increased use of women’s bodies as a marketing tactic, causing the oversexualization of young girls.
The second protest, and perhaps the most controversial of the night, came from New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. AOC appeared in an all white gown with “Tax the Rich” painted in bright red along her backside. Politically speaking, it is no surprise that she supports increasing the tax brackets of the wealthy. Still, many people thought her dress was ironic given that she stood alongside millionaires on the red carpet. One of Ocasio-Cortez’s top goals is increasing taxes for the richest Americans in order to provide better economic equality and efficiency throughout our country. Overall, due to her immense political power and the theme of the gala, her dress was very on point.
Next, there was the striking Quuannah Chasinghorse, an Indigenous model and activist from Alaska. She is of Hän Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota descent, and she honored her culture in front of all the lights and cameras. Chasinghorse has native tattoos on her face known as Yidįįłtoo and her jewelry represented Navajo culture. Thousands of years ago, many Alaskan natives had these tattoos, but throughout time the tradition began to wear out due to colonization. Many indigenous people are revitalizing the tradition to reconnect with their ancestors and to represent true native culture. Chasinghorse said in an interview with Vogue, “To be able to bring [the tattoos] back is a powerful thing—you feel empowered knowing that you’re carrying on a tradition that was meant to be erased.”
The next jaw-dropping, fashionable protest was Cara Delevingne’s “Peg the Patriarchy” vest by Dior. The controversy behind her outfit sparked not necessarily because of the slogan, but because she did not credit the source of the quote, Luna Matatas. Cara Delevigne wore a bold outfit that definitely grabbed people’s attention. However, many are calling this an example of white feminism as she did not credit Luna Matatas who originated the slogan. At the end of the night, Cara’s outfit fits the theme of the Met Gala, and she most definitely got a point across. Perhaps the conversation falls on the topic of white activism rather than her “Peg the Patriarchy” vest.
Throughout the night there were some beautiful ensembles and amazing moments that both honored our country’s history and highlighted its flaws. However, this is just the surface of what was seen on the red carpet. Celebrities hold an immense level of influence in our country due to the effect they have on their fans. For instance, Kim Kardashian has over 259 million followers on Instagram. If Kim posts an endorsement for a specific candidate, she is going to get people thinking and researching. With that being said, many celebrities use their platform to prove points to the public, and we saw that this year at the Met Gala.