A Star Studded Prom: An Overview of the 2021 MET Gala

By Madeline O’Brien

Staff Cultural Critic

When I heard they had rescheduled the Met Gala to a fall 2021 date I was originally unimpressed. But I was shaking in my boots when the exhibition turned out to be ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ and that the dress code was deemed ‘American Independence.’ The gala typically falls on the first Monday in May, and I must admit maybe a May date would have made more sense for this year’s crowd, since every attendee seemed to be dressed for their senior prom. I envisioned a denim filled red carpet that was envious of Britney and Justin at the 2001 AMAs. Maybe even a Clint Eastwood cowboy daydream. I could have even settled for a look from one of our favorite American fashion houses. So, you can imagine my disappointment when James Corden arrived in a black tux designed by Gucci. (Which spoiler alert, is an Italian fashion house.) 

Not every look was revolting to the eye and my inner American fashionista. I happened to love J Lo’s look, she wore an outfit that I can only describe as ‘sexy cowboy chic.’ Debbie Harry was also right on point, wearing a Zac Posen gown. Posen is an American designer who every Met Gala, just understands the assignment. Her gown consisted of a deconstructed flag that I interpreted as the torn core of America. Madison Beer showed up in a green gown that looks directly off the rack of a Macy’s prom section. I’m not sure if that was her intention, but I guess what’s more American than prom? I must confess I am a major Lorde stan, but her look had me scratching my head at first. My immediate thought was ‘is she really wearing 2018’s theme?’ but after further investigation she was not dressed as heavenly bodies, and her gown was actually embellished with souvenir pennies. Very American of you Lorde. 

Kendall Jenner’s look was supposedly inspired by Audrey Hepburn but it kind of just resembled Kim’s wet look from the 2019 Met Gala, and left me wondering if anyone knows how to follow a theme. To Addison Rae and Karli Kloss, did you really think just wearing red would categorize you as following the theme and you could call it a day? Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, why does a 20-year-old college student who shops at urban outfitters’ opinion on celebrity fashion matter? In all honesty it doesn’t matter but you’re the one who wasted their time reading this article.

If I were to have attended the Met Gala, I would have given Anna Wintour a run for her money. My original thought was just to show up in a pair of Levi’s, they’ve been a staple in American wardrobes for hundreds of years. Further consideration led me to better ideas. My first idea would be 1920s-themed. Women’s fashion in the 1920s shifted. They stopped wearing corsets and petticoats; instead adopting empire waists and shorter hems. This truly marked a major progressive fashion moment for women post suffrage. I’d be living my best life as Daisy Buchanan for a night. My idea, which I believe triumphs them all, was loosely inspired by Cara Delevingne’s ‘peg the patriarchy’ look which I don’t even want to get into. Imagine I walk in full Puritan Massachusetts with a big fat red A on my chest. Not only would everyone immediately get my reference (it’s only a good reference if it doesn’t need to be explained, and yes, this 100% shade at Billie Eillish’s ode to Marilyn Monroe because I had no idea that was her intention till, I saw it on Twitter), but I’d be referencing a staple in American literature.

In Met Galas past our only glimpses into the actual event have been Kylie Jenner bathroom selfies and Bella Hadid Instagram lives. We’ve seen film photos of celebrities vaping in the bathroom (they really are just like us) and heard accounts of what happened from celebrity gossip sites. Will regular people truly ever understand what goes on during the super bowl of fashion? Is the only way to find out investing in a $30,000 ticket? Or will we just have to live vicariously through our modern-day gossip girl, celebrity gossip Instagram account, ‘Deuxmoi.’ Apparently, this year there was a surprise performance from Justin Bieber, at the 2019 gala it was Cher. Maybe the Met Gala is just the celebrity equivalent of prom, so maybe our stars were on theme all along.

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