The first Monday of May, is marked and reserved for one of fashion’s biggest events of the year: The Met Gala. This year’s theme was based on a two-part exhibit featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Part 1, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion was opened to the general public in September after being the center of the 2021 Met Gala. Part 2, In America: An Anthology of Fashion was featured at the 2022 Met Gala, where guests were asked to embody the grandiose glamour of the Gilded Age. From 1870 to 1890, the United States saw an unprecedented transformation of culture as industrialization expanded and wealth and prosperity soared. The time period saw fashion reach new heights as excessive amounts of frill and lace were combined with a host of elegant fabrics meant to display the newfound extravagance of wealth at the time. The event was hosted by Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Regina King, all of whom embraced the theme when walking the red carpet. Here are some of this year’s attendees who did not shy away from the elegant extravaganza of the gilded glamour theme:
- Blake Lively in Versace
The queen of the Met Gala absolutely stunned on the red carpet in custom Atelier Versace. She wore a two-in-one gown inspired by the grandeur of New York architectural design. The first half of the copper-pink dress featured symmetrical mirror detailing along with a matching ombré train, mixing copper and pink fabrics. The giant bow was later revealed to unfold into another layer of skirt, this one a bright blue with painted copper that seamlessly flowed with the rest of the copper detailing. A matching pair of gloves and tiara topped off this look fit for a princess. Lively’s blue skirt featured the constellations imprinted on the ceiling of Grand Central Station whereas the mirrored detailing of her bodice represented the design of the Empire State Building. The draping of the gown was modeled similarly to the Statue of Liberty, and the flow of color from copper to blue was meant to imitate the patination process the statue has undergone since it was gifted to the U.S. during the Gilded Age. Even Lively’s Lorraine Schwartz tiara emulated the statue, featuring seven tiers like the statue’s seven rays as well as the seven continents and seven seas to represent diversity and worldliness. Every bit of Lively’s look was carefully detailed and planned out, from the grand design all the way to the 25 stones set into her tiara, which represent the 25 windows on the Statue of Liberty. It’s safe to say she definitely won the award for the best look at this year’s Met Gala.
- Cardi b in Versace
Taking a new twist on the theme, Cardi B dazzled in an all gold Versace gown featuring hand-stitched chain detailing additionally wrapped around her arms and neck. The Atelier Versace gown used nearly a mile of gold chain that was hand-stitched to the entirety of the gown in a process taking up to 1,300 hours. Looking closely, the gold chain detail features the iconic Versace logo featuring the Greek mythological figure, Medusa, and the signature Versace swirl design. Rather than look at the theme in terms of the era of the Gilded Age, Cardi B decided to focus on the literal definition of the word gilded. For her, gilded meant regality and gold splendor. Wanting to show off her fabulous curves, she sought a dress embodying only a woman Donatella Versace could give. The rapper chose an elegant updo in order to show off as much of the dress as possible in an effort to not conceal any part of the art created by Versace.
- Billie Eilish in Gucci
After hosting the 2021 Met Gala, Billie Eilish understood the assignment once again. Taking her inspiration directly from the fashion of the Gilded Age, Eilish’s look featured a cream-colored skirt with draping similar to the age as well as a cream and light blue colored corset and long lace sleeves. Her styled updo and extravagant diamond choker matched the common style often seen in the 1890s. Little details such as the color of the choker’s base, the finger slits in her gloves and her silver rings subtly fit Eilish’s aesthetic. Eilish’s combination of Gilded Glamour and her signature goth styling perfectly capsules the theme of this year’s Gala. In addition to being on the theme and on-brand, her gown was sustainable and environmentally friendly. Nothing was wasted in its creation as it was made of already existing and recyclable material to prevent eco-waste and environmental damage often brought about by fashion waste and discard.
- Laura Harrier in H&M
For her fourth appearance at the Met Gala, Laura Harrier chose to partner with H&M to bring her Gilded Glamour dreams to the spotlight. She wore a custom-made black gown with intricate silver floral embroidery featuring an overskirt and corset. The look combined elbow-length gloves and a three-layer David Yurman pearl choker necklace to further encompass the glamour associated with Gilded Age fashion. Harrier’s stylist partnered with designer Victor Glemaud and H&M to create and design a look worthy of Harrier’s style. The three took inspiration from the hourglass silhouettes signature of that era, with Harrier wanting a cinched waist that accentuated her figure. The base of the design was structured around a petticoat similar to ones worn during the Gilded Age, creating the authentic figure in combination with modern fabric and shape.
- Evan mock in head of state
Finally, a man at the Met Gala who ISN’T wearing a plain black tuxedo. Evan Mock has outdone himself in a look true to the theme in Head of State, a younger, newer brand focused on redefining the borders of fashion and its intersectionality. His outfit featured a twist on the classic Gilded Age style suit. He opted for cream-colored wide-legged trousers with a short, cream half-open coat and half corset. Underneath, he wore a white button-up displaying an accentuated tulip collar. He is accessorized with Cartier jewelry to top his look off with small glamorous details. Mock chose to follow the theme while embracing a slightly feminine silhouette rather than be boring and safe and wear the typical suit and tie most men choose for large entertainment events. Props to Evan Mock for this beautiful look!
- Sarah jessica parker in christopher john rogers
The beautiful Sarah Jessica Parker has never failed to slay at a Met Gala, and this year was no different. The actress sometimes takes up to 10 months to plan out her look for the first Monday in May. She collaborated with Christopher John Rogers for a ballgown and matching look featuring a gingham-like pattern in silk paired with a tall headpiece made of black and pink feathers and taffeta. Her outfit was made as a tribute to Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, the first African American woman fashion designer in the White House and Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker in 1860. Parker and Rogers envisioned creating a piece that combined the extravagance of the Gilded Age as well as the racial segregation running rampant at the time. Their inspiration flowed from a specific gingham gown and cloak designed by Keckley in 1860, and Rogers embellished upon the idea by creating a larger silhouette and skirt. The cloak became a fixing point when creating the gingham top half of the gown to embrace the modernity of the gala while keeping the elegance of the era. The black veil and headpiece were designed by Phillip Treacy to embrace Parker’s iconic love for hats and the debauchery of the time period. All in all, the look perfectly captured both the fashion and the politics of the Gilded Age, drawing an eye to both the alluring and substandard sides of the era.
- alicia keys in ralph lauren
Embodying the spirit of New York City, Alicia Keys wore a silver and black dress and cape ensemble designed by Ralph Lauren. Keys embraced the concrete jungle of New York when thinking of Gilded Glamour. While taking a different approach to the theme and focusing more heavily on its American aspect, Keys stunned in a strapless silver dress paired with a floor-length cape hung over one shoulder. The cape featured the New York City skyline adorned in silver jewels. Keys wanted to bring New York to the gala as Ralph Lauren is also in New York. The dress is a subtle throwback to her 2009 single “Empire State of Mind”, an American classic combined with the jeweled glitz of the Gilded Age. Her braid was wrapped in matching silver discs for a different look on a classic style dress. Keys took a more literal approach to the theme, embodying it to perfection.
- kid cudi in kenzo
Stylish. Handsome. Different. Kid Cudi embraces all of these and more when walking the red carpet at this year’s Met Gala. Cudi’s all-blue ensemble was designed by NIGO, the newest creative director at KENZO. Cudi’s look draws inspiration from menswear of the 1870s, specifically accentuating the cape and coat style seen similarly at the time. KENZO house used styles kin to their Fall 1984 collection in combination with the era’s style. In 1984, the brand began using more floral patterns on the runway while focusing on the flow and movement of the pieces. Cudi’s all blue suit was paired with a matching floor-length cape lined with a blue poppy design on the inside. The look was completed with frills at the end of the sleeves and thick Chelsea boots. Jeweled tears adorned each of Cudi’s eyes for a small detail that adds volumes to his entire fit.
- Madelaine petsch in moschino
Looking beautiful in Moschino, Madelaine Petsch appeared on the red carpet in a two-piece outfit displaying elegant layering of a yellow fabric painted with silver-blue and gold red flowers. The actress partnered with Jeremy Scott from Moschino to create a look worthy of the Met Gala. The gown featured a take on the silhouette of the Gilded Age with a modern spin around the waistline. The top half of the outfit was outdone by large puffed sleeves similar to the fashion of the era sewn on top of long gloves. The mermaid skirt featured several layers of fabric with a small drapery of skirt trailing the floor. Petsch wanted the focus of her look to be on the silhouette, and rather than opt for a large train, she chose to feature a modern silhouette with a more grand style on the bottom. Gold leaf trim was added to her eye makeup in order to bring the entire outfit together perfectly for the red carpet.
From large ball gowns to glitzy glamour, this year’s Met Gala featured all. Attendees were sure to impress this year by taking the theme and combining it with their own aesthetics to celebrate In America: An Anthology of Fashion. In an attempt to shine, designers spare nothing when creating ensembles fit for such a glamorous event as the gala. Based on the looks from this year, Gilded Glamour appears to be one of the Met’s more successful themes, with many celebrities’ takes seeming to fit the anthology envisioned by Anna Wintour and Vogue.