Everything you need to know from this year’s Met Gala

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·4-min read
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 (ES composite )
(ES composite )

We’re back, baby! After a year-long Covid- induced hiatus and another four-month delay, the Met Gala descended on The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last night.

The (usually) annual fundraising event for the Costume Institute Gala is a parade of the who’s-who — so did last night represent a changing of the guard? While the guest list of yore was strictly old school A list, the 2021 gang was a Gen Z brat pack. TikTokers and YouTubers including Addison Rae, Emma Chamberlain and Dixie D’Amelio rubbed shoulders with Met Gala stalwarts Anna Wintour, Kim K and Rihanna. Symbolically, this year’s gala was co-chaired by Gen Z darlings Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman and Naomi Osaka, with Wintour stepping aside to be an ‘honorary chair’. The sponsor? Instagram. The headliner? Justin Bieber. Message received, loud and clear.

This is your guide to the fashion, politics and viral moments from last night.

God bless Americana

Billie Eilish (Getty Images for The Met Museum/)
Billie Eilish (Getty Images for The Met Museum/)

The theme was ‘American independence’ — inspiring glitzy cowboy hats, dresses adorned with the stars and stripes, Hollywood glamour and celebrities in red, white and blue. Eilish went full Marilyn Monroe; soul singer Leon Bridges honoured Texas in a white cowboy hat and blue suede fringe jacket; and Gorman said she felt like Lady Liberty re-imagined, with a dress featuring 3,000 hand-sewn crystals.

Serving looks

Lil Nas X (Getty Images for The Met Museum/)
Lil Nas X (Getty Images for The Met Museum/)

Who shone on the Met steps? Model Iman looked incredible in a dramatic golden brocade jumpsuit under a feathered overskirt with a matching giant halo-like headpiece from designer Harris Reed. Also bringing the drama was rapper Lil Nas X, who pulled off not one but three custom Versace looks in one red carpet — from a golden cape, to shiny golden armour, and finally a slinky body-suit (each costume change was revealed Matryoshka doll-style). Also going for the big reveal was Rihanna’s new beau A$AP Rocky, who arrived — alongside a black Balenciaga-clad RiRi — swaddled in a patchwork blanket. He later ditched it to reveal a dashing Matador-inspired black tuxedo with a white ruffled shirt.

Elsewhere, dramatic trains were the dish du jour. Karlie Kloss rocked a red Carolina Herrera mini with sculptural floral detailing and a flowing train and singer Rosalia made her Met Gala debut in an offbeat red leather Rick Owens look, with thigh-high leather boots, leather gloves and a flowing leather cape.

Zoe Kravitz dazzled in sequins (obviously), while others wore classic ball gowns. Gigi Hadid rocked a white Prada column gown and Kaia Gerber wore an elegant strapless black Oscar de la Renta gown.

Going viral

Grimes arrives  for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (AFP via Getty Images)
Grimes arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (AFP via Getty Images)

Grimes’s outfit was inspired by the novel Dune and accessorised with a sword. “Grimes bringing a weapon to a completely unnecessary occasion is the most American thing ever and therefore she is extremely on theme,” read one tweet.

PDA was provided by Bennifer 2.0 (J.Lo and Ben Affleck, duh) who made another appearance — she in a Western-inspired get-up by Ralph Lauren — and snogged through their face masks. The award for the most-memed outfit went to Kim K (again). Is she a dementor? The Babadook? A physical embodiment of your anxiety every time you leave the house?

Honorary mention for Chalamet who wore a tuxedo jacket paired with sweatpants and Converse (v. WFH vibes). At the glamorous end of comfort was Kamala Harris’s step-daughter Ella Emhoff (aka ‘The First Daughter of Bushwick’) who broke the internet in a red haute-tracksuit by Stella McCartney.

Making headlines

Cara Delevingne (Getty Images)
Cara Delevingne (Getty Images)

You don’t have to attend the Met Gala to cause a splash. This year one of the biggest stories of the night came from singer Nicki Minaj who chose not to attend because she wasn’t “risking [her] health”, peddling false claims that the Covid vaccine causes impotency. Her anti-vax tweets sparked a backlash.

Minaj wasn’t the only one using the return of the Met to make a statement. Cara Delevingne wore her feminist message ‘peg the patriarchy’ across the chest of a white bullet vest, congresswoman Carolyn B Maloney wore a gown calling for equal rights for women, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez donned a divisive white gown with ‘tax the rich’ across the back in red. “‘Tax the Rich’ but first I’m gonna go have the time of my life partying with them all at the most extravagant over the top party,” wrote a Twitter user. Tickets to the event reportedly cost $35,000-a-head (£25,000). While Donald Trump Jr predictably called Ocasio-Cortez a “fraud”, others called the dress “iconic”. “As a working class woman, [I] wanted to enjoy the event but also ‘break the fourth wall’ and challenge the industry,” Ocasio-Cortez told Vogue. The red carpet is well and truly back.

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