Met Gala 2021 fashion: what caught our eye

By Surya Praphulla Kumar
The sheer brigade: Many bared it for the camera: Kendall Jenner in her sheer, jewelled Givenchy dress; Zoë Kravitz in a bejewelled silver mesh Saint Laurent slip gown; model Imaan Hammam’s daring Versace gown; and singer Grimes, who brought a sword to go with her sheer Iris Van Herpen number.

You don’t climb the steps of the Met unless you bring some drama. And these celebrities did! With a guest list that overpowered the VMAs’ from the previous evening, actors, models, sportspeople, young creatives, politicians and industry stalwarts walked the red carpet.

Postponed from its customary first Monday of May slot because of Covid-19, fashion’s biggest night out finally happened on the second Monday of September and had everyone bringing their A game and their vaccine certificates. (Nicki Minaj went viral after she tweeted that the Met Gala’s vaccine requirement had her bowing out.)

The theme of 2021’s fundraising benefit was American independence. It also marked the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. Here’s looking at a few (among the many) who nailed it.

Lil Nas X: The rapper, who had pulled off a pastel purple Atelier Versace suit-cape-gown at the VMAs, kicked things up a notch with three looks at the gala. There was the custom cape (carried by five men) he walked in wearing, the golden Versace suit of armour he wore underneath, and the slinky, sequined bodysuit that he finished the evening in.
Lil Nas X: The rapper, who had pulled off a pastel purple Atelier Versace suit-cape-gown at the VMAs, kicked things up a notch with three looks at the gala. There was the custom cape (carried by five men) he walked in wearing, the golden Versace suit of armour he wore underneath, and the slinky, sequined bodysuit that he finished the evening in.
Billie Eilish: The pop star, and youngest co-chair in the gala’s history, did a 180° from her favoured goth look. Eilish channelled Grace Kelly in a nude, tulle, corseted Oscar de la Renta gown with a 15-foot train. (Source: AFP)
Timothée Chalamet: The co-chair, and star of ‘Call Me By Your Name’, live-streamed his walk to the gala. Needless to say the actor — who teamed a Haider Ackermann tuxedo jacket and sweatpants with Converse sneakers — had to be whisked away by security to avoid thronging fans. (Source: AFP)
Iman: Jaws dropped as the former supermodel channelled a Las Vegas showgirl. Iman stepped up in a brocade bustier and trousers paired with a tiered feather overskirt and matching headpiece designed in a collab between Dolce & Gabbana and British-American designer Harris Reed. (Source: AFP)
Naomi Osaka: The tennis star and co-chair’s bold Louis Vuitton outfit — which evolved from a painting by her sister — is a nod to her heritage and the multicultural spirit of the evening. She wasn’t the only Olympian on the red carpet. Simone Biles debuted in an 88-pound Area gown covered in Swarovski crystals. (Source: AFP)
Kim Kardashian: The memes haven’t stopped. And that just goes to show how many eyeballs she snagged, rewriting the rules of the red carpet. The reality star’s black-out Balenciaga outfit hid every inch of skin, even on her face. (Source: AFP)
Gigi Hadid: The actor debuted her dramatic red hair in a classic foil — the strapless Prada column gown with its high slit complemented by black leather arm gloves. Who else thinks Jessica Rabbit from the 1981 cartoon, ‘Who Censored Roger Rabbit?’ (Source: Invision)
Megan Fox: Crimson popped up everywhere, from hairdos to accessories. Megan Fox stopped traffic in her shimmery red lace-up gown by Peter Dundas. (Source: AFP)
Jennifer Hudson: The 40-year-old actor swanned in wearing a custom AZFactory. Very much in line with 2021’s gala theme, as Israeli designer Alber Elbaz, who died earlier this year, had trained in NYC, assisting legendary designer Geoffrey Beene. (Source: AFP)
Ella Emhoff: Another nod to red — US Vice President Kamala Harris’ stepdaughter who dressed for comfort in a red diamond mesh adidas by Stella McCartney bodysuit with sheer panelling, paper bag waist pants and platform sneakers. (Source: AFP)
Lupita Nyong’o: The ‘Black Panther’ star kept it pretty and fun in a Versace gown with beaded detailing and denim panels. Her hair was a statement in itself, inspired by conceptual artist Lorna Simpson’s play with texture. (Source: AFP)
Rihanna and A$AP Rocky: What a way to shut down the red carpet! The last celebrity to walk up the Met’s steps, Rihanna stunned in a Balenciaga overcoat and matching hat. Joining her was boyfriend, A$AP Rocky, in a quilt-inspired look by ERL. (Source: REUTERS)
The Wild West: Cowgirls on the carpet! Before Bennifer caught photographers’ attention with some PDA, Jennifer Lopez rocked it in her Ralph Lauren ensemble with a thigh-high slit, feathered trim and hat. Another hat-wearing member was Tessa Thompson in an Iris Van Herpen minidress with Rombaut boots.
The statement makers: There were messages a plenty — from NYC congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Tax the rich’ Brother Vellies dress to actor Cara Delevingne’s ‘Peg the Patriarchy’ Dior vest. The accessories played a part too: think footballer Megan Rapinoe’s clutch, with ‘In Gay We Trust’, and poet Amanda Gorman’s book clutch, with ‘Give us your tired’ (from the base of the Statue of Liberty). ‘Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy also took a stand for marriage equality in his custom Loewe.

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