met gala 2021: a lexicon of statements

Image by Maryrose Ceccarelli
Image by Maryrose Ceccarelli

The notorious Met Gala took place on Sept. 13 after being postponed due to the pandemic. The theme for this year was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” How stars and designers interpret and express the theme is up to them. Outfits and ensembles could be simply made by wearing pieces by American designers, following the color palette of red, white and blue, giving statements or showing a deeper meaning… we’re looking at you Kim K. 

Statements were made, denim and diamonds were worn and iconic themes and stars of the past were explored. 

Maisie Williams wore a dress by the Reuben Selby team as well as some Cartier. Although her dress was from London, it was inspired by the classic movie, “The Matrix.” The angles and proportions of the dress and hair were reminiscent of the whimsical yet dark plot. Cartier showcased a perfectly placed necklace that could closely resemble one of the two pills associated with the movie. Akki Shirakawa made Williams’ hair piece, which looks straight out of the slow motion dodging bullets scene. According to Williams, it took two days to make the hair piece. 

Also inspired by past films was Kendall Jenner, who channeled British icon and American famous star Audrey Hepburn. Jenner’s take on Audrey Hepburn’s “My Fair Lady” look was sheer and shiny. The Givenchy gown included Capulet style sleeves and a tall choker necklace encrusted with diamonds which looked as if they were straight from Hepburn’s look. 

“To honor the met gala theme, ‘in America: a lexicon of fashion,’ my dress features the official flowers of all 50 states,” Lili Reinhart stated on Instagram. The light pink dress was covered in flowers that cascaded down her train. Reinhart’s gown was designed by the one and only American designer, Christian Siriano. 

Saweetie showed up and out in a Christopher Cowen gown that embraced her heritage. The gown had two trains; one being the Filipino flag and the second, the Black American Heritage flag. Both flags, of course, were made from diamonds. She told reporters that she had 10 million hand-placed crystals on her gown. Since Saweetie came bearing flags, she was one of few to give a patriotic look in a literal sense. 

Speaking of patriotic, it would be remiss not to mention legendary poet Amanda Gorman’s look. Gorman, a co-chair for the Met Gala this year, showed up as the “Reimagined Statue of Liberty.” The gown, created by American designer Vera Wang, was blue with sporadic diamonds. It matched her eye-catching jewels, which were reminiscent of a starry night sky; however, this look was all in the details. Gorman wore a Swarovski diamond-encrusted laurel wreath headpiece. Given the importance of the laurel wreath in poetry, it was only right to adorn Gorman’s head as she follows in ancient Grecian footsteps of the poetic Apollo. She also carried a custom book-like clutch that read, “Give me your tired,” a quote straight from the Statue of Liberty herself. Gorman told E! that she hoped everyone could come together for a night and celebrate America and its diversity. 

New York Representative Carolyn B. Maloney wore a purple, gold and white gown. The colors were chosen particularly because they were the very colors associated with the Equal Rights Amendment. Maloney also carried a small circular bag that resembled the circle posters used at marches for the Equal Rights Amendment that read “ERA YES.” She held the bag proudly.

Following suit in reminiscing on movements within the United States was makeup artist and YouTuber Nikki de Jager. She wore a teal gown that had flowers on it and a matching bow which had “Pay it no mind” embroidered. De Jager was proud of her message and happy to spread the word about activist Marsha P. Johnson and all she did for the trans community. The makeup artist posted via Instagram, “… I knew I wanted to pay homage to a trans icon who was at the forefront of the Stonewall riots.” Johnson had a mission close to de Jager’s heart, as they have both celebrated being transgender. 

Another New York state Representative also attended the Met Gala; this wouldn’t be an article about the Met Gala if we didn’t address the most controversial dress. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, more commonly known as AOC, wore a white gown by Canadian designer Aurora James. The catch is that “tax the rich,” was written in huge red letters all over the back of the dress. Ocasio-Cortez has faced a remarkable amount of criticism about the principle of wearing the dress to an event where money and rich people are around every corner. However, she did follow the theme of the Met Gala, “In America.”

Billie Eilish, another co-chair for the Met Gala this year, channeled Marilyn Monroe in a show-stopping blush colored gown that covered most of the Met Museum’s steps. Marilyn Monroe remains an American icon to this day, and maybe one of the most memorable. However, Eilish’s dress did not come without a purpose. Eilish agreed to wear the Oscar de la Renta gown only if the fashion house stopped using fur in their products and garments. How’s that for being influential? 

Honorable mentions include: Ciara’s neon sequin football dress with a crystal encrusted football clutch; Megan thee Stallion’s perfectly executed old Hollywood glam; Yara Shahidi in Dior, channeling Josephine Baker; Lil Nas X’s three piece ensemble that included all gold body armor; and Dan Levy’s nod to queer love on a literal map of the United States.

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Hi, I’m Grace Avery, the Editor In Chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

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