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The Met Gala dress code is “Gilded Glamour”. Will celebrities crash or flourish?

When you think of the Met Gala, what’s the first image that comes to mind? If your answer is anything other than Rihanna clad in her royal yellow fur-trimmed Guo Pei cape, dragging a super-long train behind her, you’re lying. Without a doubt, this is the most spectacular Met Gala ever, the annual phantasmagoria of glitz and spectacle where the most extravagant sartorial dreams come to real fashion life.

On May 2, celebrities, designers, fledgling influencers and a horde of hungry photographers will descend on the iconic steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for this year’s tour, no doubt aiming to top Rihanna’s Guo Pei triumph. .

The dress code, “Gilded Glamour”, is a bit of a headache, or maybe it would be without the timely premiere of Golden ageHBO Downton Abbey-esque ode to the leading wealthy Manhattan actors of the 1880s. Fans fell in love with the rich colors, voluminous silhouettes and dramatic hairstyles featured on the show, prompting costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone to sit down for several interviews with period explanations.

“Women spent a lot of time on their clothes and there was an incredible and varied number of seamstresses,” Walicka-Maimone said. Told Tom + Lorenzo. “The [were] lots of European styles mixed together, lots of money to spend on clothes. And the women changed several times a day. What we discovered from the photos is that there were personal styles. Very rarely do you find two things alike. There were fringes and roses and bows, beads and feathers, etc.

In other words, the Gilded Age is just like the high fashion world of today. How exactly did we arrive at this moment of synergy?

When the 2020 Met Gala was canceled amid the terrifying early days of the pandemic, somber aesthetes wondered if Couture’s Oscars would ever return from purgatory. The return did, in an unconventional way: the scaled-down 2021 Met Gala took place in September, rather than the traditional first Monday in May; he also celebrated the first part of a two-part exhibition at the Met’s Costume Institute, which was designed to run in 2021 and 2022.

First part of the exhibition, entitled In America: a lexicon of fashion, included around 100 different sets for men and women from a range of different designers working from 1940 So far. The exhibition was organized in a rather existential way, with some sections representing themes like ‘Affinity’, ‘Belonging’ and ‘Consciousness’.

A Met spokesperson said the second part, In America: A Fashion Anthologyshould be considered as a preface to Lexicon. Anthology will focus on American clothing from the late 18th to mid-20th century, and nine directors, including Martin Scorsese, Chloé Zhao and Sofia Coppola, have been tapped to create fictional vignettes or “freeze frames” inspired by the clothing of the exhibition .

“Vreeland was the pioneer who first assigned themes to the Gala in tandem with exhibits, and Vreeland was also a champion at creating eerie moods. ”

Since its inception about a century ago, the Met Gala has always functioned as a way to raise money for the Costume Institute, but it it wasn’t until the 1970s and the advice of vogue editor Diana Vreeland that the lavish party has really begun to carve out a myth. Vreeland was the pioneer who first assigned themes to the Gala in tandem with exhibits, and Vreeland was also a champion at creating eerie moods.

At the time, social climbers were used to dinner parties, so Vreeland gave them a gala where you took an elevator down to a den full of ambient music and models. masked with stockings. It also encouraged the presence of eminent pop culture figures, a legacy much pursued by Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American vogue since 1988 and perhaps the most famous figure in the fashion world.

Curator Andrew Bolton manages the content of the Costume Institute exhibits, while Wintour relies on the power of his megawatt influence to make the event as illustrious as possible.

“Anna determines which sponsors would be appropriate for the exhibit,” Bolton said. VogueFrance in 2020. “Sometimes I have an idea, and it’s less of a big idea or a popular idea, which isn’t very appealing to sponsors.”

It is estimated that Wintour drummed as much as $200 million for the Costume Institute over the years, and his zeal to finalize the gala top secret guest list She is said to be just as powerful as her fundraising efforts. (The Daily Beast reached out to Condé Nast and Wintour for comment.)

The dress code for the Met Gala 2021 was “American independencea very open prompt that produced a spectrum of random appearances. Model Joan Smalls opted for sleek fit Ralph Laurenrepresenting a classic American brand responsible for shaping the heritage of polished East Coast chic.

Others went looking candy color valentino, a safe choice that has absolutely nothing to do with America or independence. The musician and ex-lover of Elon Musk Grimes, who can always be counted on to disregard the mission, opted for an intergalactic, Dunes-inspired look and accessorized with a sword.

“The theme is essentially “rich and boring”. And the “welcome committee” and expected guests are halfway there, celebrities who don’t take any risks.”

— fashion observer

Overall, the 2021 results have been mixed and a bit boring, and some Met Gala fans aren’t too excited about this year’s proceedings either. “The theme is basically ‘rich and boring,'” one fashion watcher said of ‘Gilded Glamour.’ “And the ‘welcome committee’ and expected guests are mid-range, risk-free celebrities. I don’t think people want to talk about it because it’s not going to go well.

The benefit is expected to be co-chaired by Regina King, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and Lin-Manuel Miranda, a list of friendly faces who indeed feel chemically engineered not to offend. Additionally, given speculation that Rihanna’s due date falls in late April or early May, it’s unclear if the unofficial Met Gala queen will make an appearance. But all is not yet lost.

As we’ve learned from past examples of TMZ-fueled mayhem, even if Met Gala outfits leave something to be desired, the combination of celebrity closes and booze has produced spectacular drama in the past. Take Solange Knowles Jay-Z attack in an elevator at the party in 2014, or Taylor Swift dancing with Tom Hiddleston at the height of the media frenzy review of his love life.

Fashion historian Keren Ben-Horin, co-author of the book She Has Legs: A History of Hemming and Fashionsees direct parallels between the Met Gala “Gilded Glamour” and the Vanderbilt Ball, a 1883 New York Costume Party which definitively upset the crossed worlds of bourgeois society and outrageous clothing.

“Perhaps the most famous dress at the Vanderbilt Ball was the Electric Light dress, which actually had a mechanism to produce light.”

— Keren Ben Horin

“Perhaps the most famous dress at the Vanderbilt Ball was the Electric Light dress, which actually had a mechanism to produce light,” Ben-Horin said. mentioned. “One of the other guests was wearing a hat with a stuffed cat on it. It was really over the top, and during this period in general we can see a lot of references and recreations of 18th century French court dress.

What did 19th century Manhattanite interpretations of 18th century styles look like? According to Ben-Horin, Gilded Age corsets were slightly longer and more chest-flattering than their predecessors, and voluminous bustles tended to spread more to the sides rather than the back. Rich, elaborate fabrics and dramatic hairstyles complete the feminine look.

Wealthy men in 19th-century New York adopted the silhouettes of their courtly ancestors, but eschewed the bright palettes favored by the French in favor of more neutral hues. The 2022 Gala dress code also requires gentlemen to adhere to white tie, a designation that traditionally calls for exquisite and formal attire. full evening tailcoat.

The body-restrictive, highly challenging, and shamelessly flamboyant “Gilded Glamour” dress code seems to run directly counter to the satrorial norm of recent years: pandemic-approved three-day sweatshirts. Although everything is encouraged, perfectly literal interpretations are not necessary.

“I hope we see Justin Bieber and Balenciaga create a loose yet flattering rich industrial ensemble,” said Chris Black, fashion brand consultant and co-host of “Since whena cultural commentary podcast. “Lil Nas X in a structured gold bodysuit with matching top hat” would also hit the right notes. “Westwood and McQueen are the archetypes,” Black added. “Don’t tell Machine Gun Kelly.” (Kelly, real name Colson Baker, has a sense of style that some might describe as polarizing).

Personally, I’m not as concerned about Megan Fox’s pop punk fiancé as I am about Billy Porter, an actor and style designer who tends to dominate red carpet conversation with his over-the-top looks. Dressed porter like a sun god for the 2019 Met Gala (dress code: Camp), so there’s a good chance he’ll show up to this year’s party in a Cornelius Vanderbilt steamboat suit.

If commissioned to style a star for this year’s Gala, Ben-Horin “would bring out the underpinnings, so the corsets and the bustles and all those structures that in the 19th century would have been under the dress to give the garment the desired shape, are exposed. »

The “Gilded Glamour” dress code could also work as a nod to the origins of the Met itself, as the museum was founded 152 years ago in 1870. In recent years, the museum has attempted to correct past wrongs via the restitution of ill-gotten artifacts, the banishment of the Sackler family name, and promises to count with his participation in racial injustice. But these efforts have not always been a priority.

“The Met was created during this time when cultural institutions really defined what it means to be elite in New York City,” Ben-Horin said. “As part of this, it will be interesting to see what people [at the Gala] do with the idea of ​​exclusion.

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