The Met Gala 2022: gilded glamour or stilted clamour?
In case you missed it, the Met Gala happened again recently, back in its usual date of the first Monday in May, this time with the theme of gilded glamour to correspond with the Met’s new exhibition In America: An Anthology of Fashion. Although it’s only been eight months since the last gala held by the Costume Institute, the underwhelming response to the American theme left many, including myself, excited for what the designers and celebs would team up to create. The result was quite possibly the worst Met Gala in living memory. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few stand out looks, such as the transforming bronze to seafoam Versace gown that Blake Lively wore paying homage to the Statue of Liberty, Hilary Clinton’s Bordeaux red gown by designer Joseph Altuzarra, which was embroidered with the names of inspirational American women, and Jessie Buckley’s Schiaparelli homage to New York gangsters, complete with an oversized hat and drawn on moustache. However, it’s not difficult to argue that none of these outfits are anyway near as interesting as those of past years. There was no comedy like there was in 2021 with Cara Delevingne’s now-infamous Dior breastplate which proclaimed “Peg the patriarchy”, there was no showstopping ‘wow moment’ like there was in 2018 with Rihanna’s incredible Papal-inspired dress from Maison Margiela, and there was no “What on Earth is she wearing? I love it!” moment like there was in 2019 with Cardi B’s oxblood red gown with a trim of over 30,000 hand dyed feathers and bejewelled headpiece designed by Thom Browne.
There was no comedy like there was in 2021 with Cara Delevingne’s now-infamous Dior breastplate which proclaimed “Peg the patriarchy”…
One of the strangest moments of the night was when almost the entirety of the Kardashians turned up. Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kris, Kylie and Kendall were there, and while their outfits were mostly inoffensive, Kylie and Kim’s looks have divided opinions. Kylie wore an Off White wedding dress t- shirt combo designed by Virgil Abloh, with a veil attached to a white baseball cap. Kim wore Marilyn Monroe’s famous nude, bedazzled gown that was worn when she sang happy birthday to John F. Kennedy. These were two of the worst looks of the night. Kylie’s strange ensemble, which looks like the visual manifestation of a timetabling error between a church and a basketball court, feels cheap and tacky compared to what usually saunters down the Met Gala red carpet. Meanwhile, Kim somehow managed to cheapen Marilyn’s iconic look by wearing the dress despite the fact that Monroe herself was famously not a fan of impersonators or people that copied her. Moreover, in a behind the scenes clip, the dress can be seen being stretched and the rhinestones scratched as a team helps Kim get ready for the Gala.
Furthermore, there was a distinct lack of adherence to the theme this year. It isn’t uncommon for some celebrities and designers to decide that they’re too good for Anna Wintour’s shenanigans (they’re not), but this is usually quickly forgotten when we think about all of the amazing looks that do fulfil the theme. Unfortunately, you could probably count the number of on-theme outfits on two hands. Gwen Stefani wore a neon green Vera Wang dress that bore no resemblance to the theme at all, and Naomi Campbell wore a black Burberry dress emblazoned with crystal Burberry logos, which is in no way related to the Gilded Age that this year’s theme references.
It isn’t uncommon for some celebrities and designers to decide that they’re too good for Anna Wintour’s shenanigans (they’re not)…
Strangely, despite the presence of the Kardashian-Jenners, there was a distinct lack of current and popular A-list celebrities, with Taylor Swift, Billie Porter, Ariana Grande, Timothee Chalamet, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and more deciding not to turn up.
Overall, the 2022 Met Gala had a feeling of disappointment around it. Yes, it was the first time the Gala was back in full swing since COVID-19, but the feeling that something was missing couldn’t quite be shaken. I can only hope that a good theme and a good guest list in 2023 will revitalise the Met Gala the way it deserves to be.