Perhaps “gilded glamor was too complicated a topic for celebrities
The real brunt of this mess should lie with the Met Gala organizers, but as far as this particular article goes, it’s my own fault.
These red carpet reviews are actually harder than they look (keep your eyes shut for any true fashion expert), firstly because I actually want to say something constructive when I don’t have praise for being an underqualified idiot. The other reason is that embedding Instagram posts is hell; You could easily fill a standard A4 word page with all the lines of code, making you lose track of where to edit or continue writing throughout the article.
When I was assigned by the superiors to cover it, I told myself that this time it would be different, I would only focus on the people who spectacularly failed to follow the theme of the Met Gala, what happened in this one Scenario means dressing like a basic—boring ass, more concerned with looking good than having fun exploring the art of fashion. You probably know what kind of people I mean. I thought it would be easy as they were relegated to a minority with every gala that went by.
And then, as looks began to move up the Met’s stairs, we realized that the entire class had misunderstood the assignment. Pretty much nobody was on the subject.
What was the topic?
I’m asking this as a legitimate question because I went down a rabbit hole. The media reported it as “Gilded shine‘, inspired by the eponymous period in US history which many predicted would see a cavalcade of…how did you put it, Mrs. Franklin?
Except Gilded Glamor wasn’t the whole thing, or at least not the byline in the invites. It was more of a dress code suggestion, along with “white tie”. The actual name of this year’s theme (and exhibition centerpiece) was “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” a second volume to last year’s theme, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” which, according to its curator, Wendy Yu, “focuses on the tenets of American style and appreciates the anonymous and unsung heroes of US design”. The connection to the exhibition is fascinating, particularly its focus on highlighting the anonymous women and men behind the craft of fashion throughout US history. Also, they probably lost two-thirds of all celebrities who read the thing the first time the word encyclopedia was used. They lost the assistants who actually did the reading on the second.
I am in the process of completing my teaching degree and one of the first things you will learn is that any assessment tool should have specific and well defined objectives and/or a detailed and fair rubric by which to assess the responses the student. The other thing you learn is that if the vast majority of the class fails a test, the problem is with the test. When Sarah Marrs put it, US education usually glosses over the entire period between the end of the Civil War and the start of WWII, because if you paid attention, the myths that the US tells about itself would end up having more holes than Sonny Corleone. It sucked enough in Yankee America; Down south and west it was hell. Not to mention that it’s too similar to our present day.
Given all of this, it’s no wonder most people didn’t stick with the subject, as the subject was simultaneously wide-ranging, open-ended, and limited. Even that doesn’t help Teen Vogue got it wrong and tried to describe Golden Age fashion as similar Bridgerton’s, when separated by a gap of at least 60 years, three British kings, one queen, and all the Atlantic in between. For example, think of this Iris van Herpen worn by Fredrik Robertsson:
that big Hyperion The Shrike Energy track would be a classic under any other Met Gala theme (notably “Notes on Camp”), but does it say “Gilded Glamour” to you? Perhaps for the Golden Age of 2284, when history happens to be a cycle of repeating patterns. But then again, the theme itself is broad enough to allow for this creation.
So fuck it, I don’t get the chance to rant about celebrities who don’t keep up with the issue if they’ve never been coached on it. Nonetheless, I’ll give you a little taste of last night’s many, many mistakes, saving my scorn for two groups of people in particular: those who might have looked great but misunderstood the historical period, and of course those who no effort is made.
The most common wore something reminiscent of the 1920s or 1930s, for example Olivia Rodrigo in this flapper-via-pixie-inspired Versace:
Ditto for Jessie Buckley’s Schiaparelli pinstripe tuxedo and his Prohibition-era gangster energy:
Again, Maude Apatow really knows how to pull off the classic Hollywood look, but the Gilded Age started before movies were invented, yo:
Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner overshot the mark by almost 80 years and pulled a Sonny and Cher:
But at least the people above tries, and they have embodied the spirit of American fashion for the last 150 years. Let’s tackle those who haven’t even tried, or whatever we call them:
The Democratic Party
Let’s start with the biggest failure of the evening. Left, newly crowned global superstar Hoyeon Jung. On the right, Emma Stone comes off relative success Cruella and his Oscar-winning fashion. In the middle, Nicolas Ghesquiere, creative director at Louis Vitton and the only designer who could have bagged it. The bottom line is exactly what I mean when some celebrities take the safest, good-looking, uber-fashion route at the Met.
The same goes for rapper Johnny Su. The subject was not “science of sleep” my friend.
If that’s some kind of fk-you about the whole thing, fk-you right back Austin Butler.
David Beckham’s son and wife also chose not to bother seeking the subject and much effort to look like assholes. No surprise, Brooklyn has missed or half-heartedly missed every single opportunity that has been given to him while his wife is a failed actress.
It’s hard to say someone like Camila Cabello hasn’t made an effort because her entire career is about being the toughest test subject in the room. but this thing this looks like one of those cakes stuffed with M&Ms goes in that category because all she had to do was recycle a dress from that horrible Cinderella movie she made.
The Kardashian clan
A special subcategory of not trying at all while trying too hard. As a Chilean tweeter commented, Kim has far too much blood, sweat and tears from being a fixture at the MET Gala for her mom and sisters to embarrass her like that. But if we’re being fair, she didn’t bother too much this time either, opting for a predictable gold dress… WAIT, is that the actual dress Marilyn wore when she sang for JFK?
Met Gala – In America: An Anthology of Fashion
I am so honored to wear the iconic dress that Marilyn Monroe wore in 1962 as she sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. It’s a stunning skin-tight gown embellished with more than 6,000 hand-sewn Jean Louis crystals. pic.twitter.com/o9auAd2tF8
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) May 3, 2022
But almost immediately, as in, they walked the red carpet close together, Khloe or Kourtney or whatever was trying to stage them with the exact same thing:
The other sisters also looked like the Wish versions of Ghost of The past of American fashion.
By the way, I’m also taking bets on who Pete Davidson will be with at next year’s gala.
For the header image, I chose Laura Harrier and Riz Ahmed because they were among the few who could Yes, really got the order. Of all things, Laura looked stunning in an H&M that was as period-reminiscent as it was modern. Riz, on the other hand, dressed in homage to the people who actually built America:
— Variety (@variety) May 2, 2022
After all, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire happened in the Progressive Era, which was still plagued by too many Gilded Age-era genes. Next year, you’d better pick a topic that celebrity assistants can explain to their bosses in five minutes. Otherwise just make it free for everyone.
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Header Image Source: Getty Images