In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

Luci Hagen

Sep 29, 2021

On September 13th, the Metropolitan Museum of Art had its annual high-profile costume benefit, also known as the Met Gala.

On September 13th, the Metropolitan Museum of Art had its annual high-profile costume benefit, also known as the Met Gala. The tradition began in 1948 by the fashion publicist, Eleanor Lambert, as a way of raising funds for the museum’s Costume Institute, as well as to display their annual fashion exhibit. In its early years, the event was fifty dollars to attend, while today it is around $900. Nicknamed “The Party of the Year” (rightfully so), the event has blossomed into a highly selective ball in which only the top fashion designers invite celebrities of their choice to attend and showcase the designer’s work.

Every year the Met Gala has a different theme that corresponds to the fashion exhibit put up by the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute; this year it was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” In addition to the changing theme, the co-hosts of the event also change yearly. This year they were actor, Timothee Chalamet, singer, Billie Eilish, tennis player, Naomi Osaka, and inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman. Honorary chair members included vogue creator, Anna Wintour, chief executive of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, and famous designer, Tom Ford.

It was under slightly different circumstances that the Met took place this year. First off, it has always been on the first Monday of May, at least since 2005 (it moved around between November and May for a while). The second half of the exhibit and the second Met Gala which will be held next year on its usual first Monday of May date will have the theme of “In America, An Anthology of Fashion”.

This year’s guest list sparked some controversy as the co-hosts were all younger celebrities, and many Gen Z social media influencers were invited, including Emma Chamberlain, Addison Rae, Madison Beer, and Dixie D’Amelio. Influencers Eugene Lee Yang and Nikkie de Jager were also in attendance, though not in the Gen Z category. There was also frustration online that A-listers and iconic Met Gala invitees such as Zendaya, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez, Billy Porter, Bella Hadid, Taylor Swift, Kylie Jenner, Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga, were unable to attend. However, there were still lots of prominent celebrities who were able to go and walk the carpet with designer look including Rhianna and Asap, Lil Nas X, Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Rosalia, Lorde, Kim Kardashian, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Hailey and Justin Bieber, Kristen Stewart, and Pete Davidson.

Commenting on the Met Gala, high school junior, Addie Waterman, states, “I was pretty disappointed with the outcome of the Met. The outfits were very underwhelming compared to past years.” She believes that the theme was too broad and could be open to a lot of different interpretations. She also feels that celebrities should have come back with bigger and better ideas than before because of pent-up creative energy due to COVID-19. When asked about more social media influencers being at the Met than before, she stated, “It makes sense because the Met Gala is getting sponsors from Instagram and YouTube, and it’s not necessarily bad to see the worlds collide.”