Moments From the 2021 Met Gala

From YouTube phenoms to Olympians, pop stars to politicians, the hundreds of celebrities who arrived this evening interpreted the theme of “American Independence” with varying degrees of literalism. Though many chose patriotic shades of red, white and the most royal of blues, others seized our attention with old-Hollywood glamour and head-to-toe gold. Sparkle-encrusted clothes, nails, faces and hair lit up the carpet like fireworks. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a white gown emblazoned with a fiery statement: Tax the Rich. At roughly $300,000 a table, that might include many of the patrons in attendance — but not Frank Ocean’s robotic alien baby.

At least, as far as we know.

ASAP Rocky’s quilt has big-time “snuggle me” vibes.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

Take another glance at many of the looks from tonight’s gala here.

Since you don’t get more American than football, Ciara wore a lime green sequined Dundas football gown with her husband Russell Wilson’s Seahawks number on the front, and his Superbowl ring on her finger.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times
Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Hearing there are more arrivals to come. ASAP … where are you?

Lorde wore a lightly embellished set by Emily Bode, the young American designer best known for her quilted menswear.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

Kim Kardashian arrived with Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga, both of them wearing black shrouds. Will their faces remain covered as the crowd enters the darkened chambers of the Egyptian Wing? Will she sip drinks through the mesh? Can she breathe?

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Jennifer Lopez wore a feathery Ralph Lauren gown, a cowgirl hat and a choker belt in an American West-inspired take on the night’s theme.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Simone Biles’s crystal-embellished gown? It weighs 98 pounds, the designers told us. Good thing she has Olympic strength.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

I regret to say that we’ve been on such a sartorial journey this evening that we have forgotten our stated journalistic goal of “Timmy Watch.”

Belatedly: Timothée Chalamet is wearing a tuxedo jacket and sweatpants (by Haider Ackermann) with Converse high-tops.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Protesters clash with New York City police officers outside the Met Gala.
Credit…Peter Foley/EPA, via Shutterstock

As celebrities walked the carpet, a substantial crowd of protesters gathered on a blocked-off Fifth Avenue to rally for racial justice.

Shortly after 6 p.m., the police began to arrest some of those who were taking part in the demonstration and had ignored warnings to clear the street.

The result was the somewhat jarring image of shouting protesters being dragged away by officers past onlookers who were pressed up against metal barricades hoping to get a glimpse of celebrity glamour. A police spokesman said there had been “a handful” of arrests for mostly minor offenses and that additional details were not immediately available.

Among those attending the Met Gala was Mayor Bill de Blasio — making his first appearance at the event in eight years in office. Press representatives for Mr. de Blasio, who was accompanied by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and his son, Dante, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the arrests.

While several celebrities have arrived wearing European designers — despite the carpet’s “American independence” theme — Chance the Rapper followed the assignment with a super-American look: Ralph Lauren suit, inspired by the designer’s 1992 stadium collection, with added references to the rapper’s hometown of Chicago.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

The singer Kim Petras arrived with a large horse head hooked onto her shoulders. Her dress, with its produce-floral pattern and exaggerated hips, was designed by Collina Strada — who put similar animal heads on her runway last week.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

Grimes, wearing Iris van Herpen, carried a sword and wore a metallic purple horn on her head. Not following the cardinal rule of always taking one thing off before you leave the house.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York showed up in a white dress by Brother Vellies, emblazoned with the words, “TAX THE RICH” in bright red letters across the back.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

It ain’t easy being green, unless you’re Frank Ocean, who arrived with green hair and a green doll in tow.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Precious Lee, a model, arrived wearing a sculpted blazer gown with crystal braids by the New York design duo Area. The concept “kept coming back to the significance of Black culture in fashion, especially American fashion,” said Piotrek Panszczyk, one of the two designers. The braids are modeled after cornrows, and the blazer references suits worn by jazz musicians in the 1930s, as well as the curved Christian Dior silhouettes of the 1950s.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

All 6-foot-3 of Pete Davidson looked smart in a Thom Browne dress, black nails and his signature ghostly pallor.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Megan Rapinoe is carrying a red, white and blue clutch that reads “IN GAY WE TRUST,” matching her pantsuit.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times
Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

The presence of influencers at the Met Gala has drawn attention from critics who say their attendance signals a loss of prestige for the event, which is often called the Oscars of fashion. Viewed another way, the admission of online celebrities has increased the event’s reach. Content creators on the carpet included Emma Chamberlain, pictured below, and Addison Rae Easterling.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

An incomplete list of the guests Cartier loaned jewels to includes: Ella Emhoff, Timothee Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Yara Shahidi, Maisie Williams, Phinneas, Leon Bridges, Troye Sivan, Dan Levy….who knew there were so many diamonds in the vault?

Russell Westbrook understood the assignment, with star-spangled hair.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

Jennifer Hudson in custom AZFactory, honoring the late designer Alber Elbaz who died unexpectedly of Covid earlier this year. He learned his craft partly in New York as the assistant of Geoffrey Beene, and had started his new line just before he got sick. He would have loved this.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Iman made an entrance with a bristly chandelier dress and statement headpiece.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

When asked about her long nails, rapper Saweetie said, “Girls who have long nails have more fun.” That’s a fact.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

Met Gala co-chair Naomi Osaka, who became a brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton earlier this year, wore … Louis Vuitton, in a look honoring her Haitian and Japanese heritage.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

Nicki Minaj at the Met Gala in 2019.
Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The Met Gala’s vaccine requirement has become reason for some celebrities not to attend.

On Monday evening, the rapper Nicki Minaj tweeted that she had yet to receive the vaccine and would not be going to the gala as a result.

“They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met,” she tweeted on Monday, just around the time guests began arriving at the museum. She encouraged those attending to “be safe” and wear a mask with a good seal.

Invited guests were told they would be required to show proof of vaccination, receive a negative Covid-19 test and wear a mask at all times unless eating. (That last part hasn’t seemed to apply to the red — er, beige — carpet, where there have been more naked mouths photographed than masked faces.)

Since vaccines became widely available in the United States, the famous and inoculated have served as ambassadors — official and not — for getting vaccinated, which provides strong, safe protection against Covid-19.

Dolly Parton, whose funding helped support the research that led to the Moderna vaccine, posted on Twitter shortly after receiving a shot in March: “Dolly gets a dose of her own medicine.” She appealed to people who might be hesitant. “I just want to say to all of you cowards out there: Don’t be such a chicken squat,” she said in a video on social media. “Get out there and get your shot.”

In July, President Biden invited the 18-year-old pop star Olivia Rodrigo to the White House for a news conference in which she encouraged young people to get vaccinated. Joining a White House campaign to reach the unvaccinated, she said it was “easier than ever before” to get the shots.

Gossip Girl’s Evan Mock showed up in a bold, punk black mask with spikes. The look was vintage Thom Browne.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Lil Nas X arrived with not one, not two, but three shimmery gold looks. The singer started with an oversized cape, which he stripped off to reveal gold Versace armor, and then ended with an ornate jumpsuit.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Georgina Chapman, the ex-wife of Harvey Weinstein and former designer of Marchesa, who has been out of the public eye since her husband’s crimes against women were revealed, has arrived with actor Adrian Brody. That’s a big stepping out moment.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

We spoke to Oscar de la Renta’s designers about dressing Billie Eilish in a “risky” ball gown — and her condition that the brand stop using fur.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

We spoke to Ella Emhoff earlier today about why she picked a bright red Adidas by Stella McCartney look for her first Met Gala appearance.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Amanda Gorman is wearing Vera Wang, a royal blue gown studded with thousands of crystals that is symbolic of a “reimagined Statue of Liberty.” She was also carrying a clutch that looked like a book. (The title: “Give Us Your Tired.”)

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

This year’s Met Gala hosts, Amanda Gorman, Timothée Chalamet, Naomi Osaka and Billie Eilish, are a Gen-Z force, all under the age of 26.

Timothée Chalamet went live on Instagram for his walk to The Met. Some lucky fans were able to snap selfies with the star and co-host.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York arrived in a dress with streaming epaulets bearing the message “Equal Rights for Women” and a matching bag advocating for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Lady Gaga at the Met Gala in 2019.
Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The last time the world had a Met Gala was in 2019, and the theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”

Aside from a place children go in the summer, camp — according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary — is “a style or mode of personal or creative expression that is absurdly exaggerated and often fuses elements of high and popular culture.”

To no one’s surprise, the Met Gala-going crowd took that concept in many directions.

Lady Gaga, a known ​​camp connoisseur and a host of 2019’s Met Gala, donned not one but four different outfits. She arrived in a fuchsia gown with an exaggerated train; removed it to reveal an asymmetrical black dress; removed that to reveal a hot pink form-fitting dress; and finally, stripped down to a sparkly black bra and panties. All the outfits were designed by Brandon Maxwell, a former fashion director of Ms. Gaga’s. Predictably, the look was also memed.

Cardi B also hopped on the long train cause with a custom Thom Browne feathery red gown that encircled her (and would have certainly forced social distance, though we weren’t using that term much back then).

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Jared Leto walked in carrying a lifelike model of his own head, a reference to Gucci’s 2018 fall fashion show in Milan, where runway models also held copies of their own heads. Billy Porter channeled the Egyptian sun god, Ra, with 10-foot long wings, a gold headpiece and a catsuit. Katy Perry dressed like a chandelier with a headpiece that weighed 40 pounds.

When asked she would sit, she responded, “you don’t sit down at the Met.”

Anna Wintour, honorary chairman of the gala and longtime maestro of the event, makes her entrance wearing, she told us earlier this week, “an homage to my dear friend Oscar de la Renta,” the designer who passed away in 2014.

Credit…Calla Kessler for The New York Times

Keke Palmer is wearing a sparkly Sergio Hudson dress with a turtleneck. I am never mad about a turtleneck on a gown.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

The Brooklyn United marching band, dressed in red, white and blue, ran up the red carpet, kicking things off with a lot of energy.

Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

I’m always on Timmy Watch in some capacity. But yes, very excited to see what fashion he brings this evening. He never disappoints on the red carpet.

Met Gala attendees will have to show proof of vaccination, receive a negative Covid-19 test result and wear masks at the event.
Credit…Reinhard Krause/Reuters

This year, the Met Gala has downsized its guest list by about a third to allow for social distancing (at least during the seated dinner portion). Attendees will have to show proof of vaccination, receive a negative Covid-19 test result and wear masks at the event, except while eating. We’ll have to see whether that rule is enforced on the red carpet. (Judging from the recent New York Fashion Week, celebrities hate having their faces covered when photographers are in the vicinity.)

Lady Gaga arriving at the Met Gala in 2019.
Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The Met Gala’s red carpet will begin streaming live on vogue.com and the magazine’s Twitter account starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.

E! network will also be doing its thing, with a televised fashion panel opining on the night’s looks from a studio location. (That starts at 5:30 as well.) Cord cutters can stream content, too, on Twitter, eonline.com and the E! News app.

Another way of thinking about the American flag, from Vaquera’s breakout fall 2017 show.
Credit…Albert Urso/Getty Images

To make up for a Met Gala-less 2020, the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vogue are staging two Met Galas in the next nine months, both corresponding with exhibits around the theme of American fashion. The first is tonight; the second will be in May 2022.

The dress code for Monday night’s gala is “American Independence.” So, prepare for lots of red carpet looks by American brands, plus maybe some star-spangled skirts and Statues of Liberty on the red carpet. (No one ever said dress code interpretation was subtle.)

If you want the full rundown of what to expect tonight, read our explainer here. And for more on what “American fashion” means now, read this.

Source: NYT > Top Stories

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