Met Gala 2021: What’s it giving?

Breaking down the iconic looks of the night into categories of fashion and theme

Delving into the swings and misses of the 2021 Met Gala.
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Sept. 13 was fashion’s Superbowl, and anyone who’s anyone was either there or watching. The theme for this year’s Met Gala was “America; A Lexicon of Fashion.”

As much as I would love to say that every fashion choice is valid, there’s nothing more American than dividing people into winners and losers. With that in mind, I chose to be slightly more diplomatic, dividing the guests into who’s giving fashion, who’s giving theme, and unfortunately, who’s giving neither.

My personal favourite look from the night was A$AP Rocky’s quilted shawl by young American designer Eli Russel Linnetz (ERL). The abundance of fabric and the traditional pattern both felt very American. I was less of a fan when he took it off, but frankly, it didn’t matter because of who was standing next to him.

 
 
 
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Rihanna, in her billowing Balenciaga gown, was full on fashion, pushed over into the themecategory only by her slouched beanie–an American staple. As a pair, they were stunning. Individually, I think A$AP had one of the strongest looks of the night, both in terms of fashion sense and theme.

Another one of the night's winners was Lorde, in a delicate two-piece creation by Bode. The off-white pieces were embellished with pennies, a curious example of American history versus present-day economics.

 
 
 
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The American penny actually costs more to make than it is worth, a cause even former president Obama commented on, saying the penny is “a metaphor for the government’s difficulty in getting rid of wasteful services.” Lorde’s choice of embellishment is both a beautiful addition to a fashion statement as well as a cheeky poke at America’s fondness for its own currency.

A final favourite from the night, controversial as it may be, was Timothée Chalamet wearing Haider Ackermann. The look was quintessentially American—a white, formal dinner jacket paired with sleek sweatpants.

 
 
 
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My favourite addition was his choice of footwear because there’s nothing more all-American than a pair of high-top Converse sneakers. Some have said the look was too relaxed.

I disagree.

America loves comfort, and Chalamet did a brilliant job bringing fashion, formality, and comfort together for this year’s Met.

Honorable mentions for theme accuracy are Barbie Ferreira, Billie Eilish, Kendell Jenner, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Dan Levy.

Moving on to the tasteful job of criticizing fashion from the comfort of my own bed, we come to the losses of the night.

Firstly, a pair who looked fashion, but not necessarily theme,was Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin-Bieber, sporting a plain black tux and a bag, both from his own brand, DREW—which can't even be considered an American brand due to his Canadian heritage—was giving more self-indulgence than he was fashion.

 
 
 
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Baldwin looked stunning as usual, citing Grace Kelly as her inspiration. While her dress was pretty, it only bore a passing resemblance to some of Kelly’s looks.

The most disappointing look of the night was Kim Kardashian in an all-black, full coverage Balenciaga outfit. Kim is known for her daring and trendsetting fashion, but unfortunately, the outfit seemed to be an extended publicity stunt for her ex-husband’s recent album release.

Kanye became synonymous with his back-face masks through the lengthy pre-release period of DONDA, and Kim’s look last night was eerily similar to West’s recent outfits.

Fans of the look have said that its figure-hugging nature represents the influence of Kim’s body and shape on American fashion, but I’m not buying it. If it walks and talks and looks like something Kanye West dreamed up for the premiere of his album, then maybe it’s just that.

Overall, this year’s Met was full of celebrity chaos, and designers rose to the challenge in more ways than one. While there were some swings and misses, there were also several home runs, which made this year’s Gala a pleasure to watch.

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