No one agrees on anything anymore—not even opulent weddings hosted by privileged rich people. Over-the-top nuptials used to be the stuff of a daytime talk show producer’s dreams, with the phrase “America’s Royal Wedding” recycled every few years anytime someone famous dropped millions on a day celebrating their celebrity union, which would undoubtedly fail in a few years. But things have changed.
Watching an extravagant wedding always stoked a bit of jealousy, or as Vogue might put it, the day was seen as “aspirational” to most people. But there has been a bit of backlash to the heiress Ivy Love Getty’s “fantasy wedding,” as covered in the glossy’s online outlet.
The facts: Ivy Love Getty, a 26 year-old artist, model, and heir to the vast oil fortune who I did not know existed until yesterday, wed her photographer boo Tobias Engel this weekend. She wore a gown made from broken glass, designed by Maison Margiela creative director John Galliano, who once drunkenly said he “love[d] Hitler.” (Getty told Vogue her grandmother often wore his work from Givenchy and Dior.)
The next day, at a picnic lunch for guests, “IV drips were at the ready for anyone in need of help recovering from the night before.”
All in all, fairly typical stuff for a family reportedly worth nearly $5 billion, and a couple who met at Paris Fashion Week and became engaged while attending the UNICEF Ball in Capri. It’s also a great example of austerity outrage porn: who would spend so much money, act so frivolously, during a time like this? The answer is, of course, the super-wealthy, who never quite stopped flexing their wealth even during a pandemic. They just did so from the privacy of their compounds.
And yet, Vogue’s write-up of the affair garnered some intense, purely virtual backlash from those who did not wish to be assaulted by out-of-touch quotes from Getty, who said that, “Growing up [in grandmother Ann Getty’s San Francisco mansion] and being around great parties my whole life, I never had to turn to Pinterest for inspiration.” (Using Pinterest to plan a wedding! Can you imagine?)
“Photos are beautiful but I look at such excess with a touch of disgust,” one person said in a reply to Vogue’s tweet about the wedding. “There is such need in the world, but the ultra-rich spend their days endlessly searching for ways to spend money on themselves.”
“Does Pelosi not get that oil heiresses are exactly the kind of people she should not be tying herself too?” someone asked rhetorically.
“She said, ‘Let them eat cake,’ but due to the supply line chain no cake was available,” another joked.
Conservatives jumped on the fact that Gavin Newsom was in attendance, and dubbed it a kind of “French Laundry 2.0,” which references the night the state’s governor flaunted his own COVID rules last November and was spotted enjoying himself attending a swanky group dinner at the exclusive Napa restaurant. (Newsom was supposed to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) last week, but cancelled due to unspecified “family issues.”)
Galliano told Vogue that he normally “doesn’t do” bridesmaids dresses, but he made an exception for Getty’s 14 bridesmaids. (Seriously, who has that many friends?) “These girls are the Gen Z babies. I dressed their mothers and their aunties!,” the designer said, which doesn’t do much to alleviate stereotypes about rich Americans being an insular, nepotistic bunch.
The ceremony took place at San Francisco City Hall. “Guests were asked to mask up before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi entered the room and took her position at the microphone,” Vogue reported, but then could go maskless for the reception. Getty’s crown—oh yes, she was wearing a crown—fell off when she kissed her new husband.
Then the party headed to the Getty Mansion, which Vogue writer Alexandra Macon said “felt like a typical family wedding at home, complete with eccentric cousins and all.” Oh yes, there were also original Impressionist paintings by Matisse, Degas, Cassatt, and “a museum-quality collection of European antiques, Venetian paintings, French textiles, and Russian chandeliers.”
Again, it should surprise no one that Vogue, which regularly traffics such hate reads, would fawn over Getty’s big day. And are we really shocked when rich people act, well, rich? The answer should be no. Still, the reception to the shindig shows that ultra-lux “fantasies” are not quite the escape from reality we used to love. Now, they are fodder for revulsion, if not (yet) revolution.
The dowagers at Vogue have an entirely different read on it. Contributing editor Hamish Bowles was present at the wedding, and he reported, apparently with a straight face, that all these beautiful rich party people “give one hope for the future!”