Met Gala 2022: The Gilded-less & the Glamourless

A Met Gala whose celebrities glamorously missed the mark on the theme

While some guest brought their A-game to the gala, many fell short.
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Life and Style Magazine

While Met Gala fashion usually delivers iconic dresses and thematic glamour this year's Met Gala themed “Gilded Glamour” generated a plethora of outfits that lacked… well, the gilded and the glamour.

For many, the Met Gala is a look into history, an exclusive celebrity outing, and a tremendous charity event for The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met). For me, it’s sitting on my couch in a pair of old sweats and brutally critiquing some of the most anticipated couture designs.

While Met Gala fashion usually delivers iconic dresses and thematic glamour—cue Cher displaying Bob Mackie 1974, to Blake Lively in Versace in 2018—this year's Met Gala themed “Gilded Glamour” generated a plethora of outfits that lacked… well, the gilded and the glamour.

For the first time ever, The Met’s Costume Institute hosted a two-part exhibition. The first, titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” opened in the Anna Wintour Costume Center in September of 2021. The second, titled “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” took place on May 5th, 2022.

While the exhibition is important, the true style inspiration comes from the Gala’s dress code. This year's theme, “Gilded Glamour,” paid homage to the Gilded Age in New York. As technological advancements in the 1870s to 1890s created easier access to buying clothes, the upper-class developed an extravagant approach to fashion.

Women wore various brightly-coloured kinds of fabrics, tulle gowns, and dramatic accessories like feathered hats, while men sported top hats and multi-piece suits, accessorized by facial hair.

With a dress code like that, it’s hard to see where things could go so wrong. It reminded me of a group project for which everyone expected the others to carry the weight—and then showed up to class and discovered that no one had done the assignment. 

Many of the designs were gorgeous, but the gilded glamour was nowhere to be seen. Other designs took inspiration from the Gilded Age but lacked the glamour and elegance of past Met Gala fashions. While a handful of ensembles were true to the gilded and the glamour, almost all attire blatantly disregarded the theme. 

While the theme should leave room for lots of different interpretations, it was easy to distinguish the celebrities that nailed the mark from those who missed it.

Cynthia Erivo, in archive Louis Vuitton, achieved the former. Her floor-length white gown consisted of layered contrasting fabrics and pearly accessories, topped with a beautiful white headscarf.  According to Erivo, this headpiece was an homage to American lexicon and was inspired by 1800s Louisiana women. Her attire was elegant and glamorous while wonderfully theme-code appropriate. It was one of the best.

Other honorable mentions included Quannah Chasinghorse in upcycled Prabal Gurang with accessories celebrating her Indigenous heritage; Emma Corrin in a spunky Miu Miu suit and gilded-esque top-hat; Lizzo in an extravagant, black and gold Thom Browne ensemble; and, of course, Blake Lively in a show-stopping NYC inspired Versace gown.

While these guests brought their A-Game in both style and thematics, many fell short. Number one on my worst-dressed list was Kylie Jenner. Jenner wore a strapless off-white wedding dress over a white mesh T-shirt, with a white wedding veil and a flower-topped backwards baseball cap. While this ensemble certainly was extravagant, it lacked both the gilded and the glamour.

Camila Cabello in Atelier Prabal Gurung, Emma Stone in a disappointingly simple Louis Vuitton mini-dress, and Kourtney Kardashian in a rather confusing Thom Browne “deconstructed” tuxedo also make the list for worst-dressed.

Ultimately, the Met Gala is a charity event, but the historical fashion implications are so relevant that there is no excuse for not bringing your costume A-game.

Alas, the Gala is over, and designers are on to other things. Here’s to hoping everyone understands the assignment next year.

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