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What Inspired the 2021 Met Gala?

by Kailee Webb (‘24) 

The Met Gala is one of the biggest nights in fashion, an industry worth approximately 1.3 trillion dollars and 2% of the global economy. This year, the gala was held in mid-September, which falls appropriately in the middle of fashion month, so the expectations for stunning red-carpet looks were high. The gala was held in its’ traditional location, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and this year’s theme was “America” in honour of the newest exhibition, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”. The fashion statements and looks were diverse, a quality that truly embodies an American ideal.

One of the biggest inspirations for designers and celebrities this year was putting modern twists on old American styles. Old Hollywood Glam and Icons was among the biggest contributions to this year’s gala. Subtle and not-so-subtle homages were paid to various icons, as well as decades, such as the roaring twenties and the forties. Pop singer Billie Ellish sported a peach-coloured Oscar de la Renta gown and wore her hair in a soft curled bob inspired by Marilyn Monroe. The dress gave Ellish a modern look and stayed true to the American theme by honouring an American icon. Kendall Jenner, another A-list celebrity, put her twist on the American theme by drawing inspiration from Audrey Hepburn and her gown from “My Fair Lady.” American model Gigi Hadid paid tribute to Jackie Kennedy’s Onassis look with a white column Prada dress and black leather elbow length gloves. Hadid made the look her own with the thigh-high leg slit. Her look was simple yet elegant.

Although many designers were inspired by past decades and styles, others held to the theme in fun and diverse ways. Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart and Russian model, Irina Shayk were both styled in sheer corseted mini dresses with trains of the fifty state flowers to represent the fifty states of America. Although the dresses were similarly designed, Lili Reinhart’s dress was pink  with authentic flowers pinned to her dress, whereas Irina Shayk had a nude-coloured dress with embroidered flowers. Although both women pulled off the look effortlessly, Reinhart’s fresh floral look elevated the style, giving the dress more volume and elegance. Another dazzling look was the 19-year-old model Quannah Chasinghorse’s. This was the model’s first Met Gala, and she proudly served a stunning piece. She wore a gold gown with chain accents, a cape, and traditional Navajo jewelry from her aunt. Chasinghorse represented her Indigenous heritage in a way that shined like gold in her dress, showing the depth and richness of America.

These were just a few of the styles presented at the 2021 Met Gala out of over four hundred guests, each of whom were uniquely dressed. But I think they are some of the best looks that feature how each person interpreted the American theme in different manners. Although the high-end fashion of the Met Gala may not always be beautiful, it is intriguing to see how designers and celebrities represent America through fashion.

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