The Best and the Worst of the 2021 Met Gala
September 20, 2021
The Met Gala is the annual fundraising gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. The gala indicates the start of the Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. The Met Gala mirrors the theme of the yearly installation and guests of the gala are expected to match their fashion with said theme.
This year’s theme is “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” the first of a two-part exploration of fashion in the United States in the Anna Wintour Costume Center. The exhibit poses the question, What is American fashion today? “It establishes a modern vocabulary of American fashion based on its expressive qualities.”
The guests at the gala (by invitation only) are supposed to represent this theme with their fashion, however there is a very thin line between being on theme and being tacky.
Here are The Best Dressed that (obviously) Interpreted the Theme:
Lili Reinhart – The Riverdale actress stuns in a pink high-low dress. Not only is the dress gorgeous, but it follows the theme, as her dress features the official flowers of all 50 states. It’s simple, but beautiful, just like the dress.
Lupita Nyong’o – Kenyan-Mexican actress represents one of the most stable parts of American fashion (and culture): denim. The silhouette of the dress is unique enough in itself, but the denim material that transitions into the sheer-glittery fabric is breathtaking. Her accessories and hair add even more to her look. She looks beautiful and pulls off the theme gracefully and subtly.
Maluma – The Columbian Singer accomplishes the theme. If his interpretation of the theme is that Cowboys = America, then I wholeheartedly agree. He goes all-in on the look with the gloves, boots, and tassels. The Dolly Parton-esque look is clean and delivers on what it promised to. I have no complaints.
Worst Dressed (that interpreted the theme):
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex (AOC) – Although this is one of the very few outfits that interprets the theme, this was done poorly. The representative from New York comes off as tacky with “Tax the Rich” on the back of her dress. Her message could have been made more subtly, without the bold, contrasting lettering.
Ciara – If America means football to you, that’s great, but it sure makes an ugly dress. Singer, Ciara, does win some “cute-factor” points for wearing a dress inspired by her husband, Russell Wilson (Quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks), but those are the only points she gets. The color is horrific and it ruins the whole atmosphere. It’s the color of sparkly vomit. This is probably the ugliest dress I’ve ever seen.
Carolyn Maloney – The New York representative is doing the same thing AOC did. Interpreting the theme a little too literally. Using the gala as an opportunity to be political. Although I agree that women deserve equal rights, she could have been more subtle with her outfit to represent this.
Best Dressed (regardless of theme):
Lil Nas X – Lil Nas had his Gaga moment. He did not just have an outfit, he had a show. He started with a gorgeous gold robe, with beautiful flower accents. He then shed the robe for a literal gold suit of armor complete with sculpted abs. He then took off his armor for a bodysuit with black and gold that glitters. The details of each outfit elevate the whole look.
Yara Shahidi – The actress looks stunning in her topless gown. The accessories make the outfit. The veil that trails behind her, her matching gloves, the necklace and earrings, and even her edges all heightened the aesthetic. Although she matches the 2018 Heavenly Bodies Met Gala theme more than this year’s, the outfit is too elegant to ignore.
Anok Yai – The model looks incredible in her black form fitting dress. The stark white celestial shapes on her dress are brilliant accents and contrast to the dress. The fur from her coat adds more to the shape of the look. Her necklace adds a pop of color that makes the outfit feel complete.
Worst Dressed (regardless of theme):
Kim Petras – The German singer is going as a horse girl? Your guess is as good as mine. This is the worst dress I’ve ever seen. The horse face isn’t even the worst part, it’s Petras’ matching braid with the horse. The flowers on the dress look like the couch I saw at Goodwill last week that had suspicious stains on it. I think my life would be a little bit better if I had never seen this dress. It would have fit better in 2019’s Met Gala theme of Camp.
Whoopi Goldberg – Goldberg’s dress says to me, “I’m stuck in a parachute.” It looks like it needs to be ironed. All of the colors clash, and the ruffles make me feel uneasy. Not her best look.
Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes – Worst couple award goes to these two. Neither of their outfits are blaringly insulting to fashion, but the two outfits together make the whole aesthetic bad. Camila’s dress is too purple and the fit just doesn’t flow well. It looks like a party city Halloween dress. Shawn looks like he’s cosplaying Magic Mike. And why does he have a jump rope? They look so mitch-matched, I think that matching outfits would compliment them better. Ew/10.
It was honestly hard to find three outfits that fit the theme, in addition to being good. In this sense, this year was very disappointing. I’m sure I missed a few more subtly-themed outfits, but it seemed like almost no guests followed through. It seems somewhat disrespectful to be invited as a guest to a fundraiser and not represent the Metropolitan’s exhibit. There were a lot of beautiful outfits, but I think this year’s gala was inadequate because of the lack of theme representation. Do better, celebrities.