Ranked & Rated: Top 10 Iconic Looks from the Met Gala 2021
The Met Gala has returned after a 2 year hiatus with its signature over-the-top, grandiloquent couture pieces.
From the likes of Princess Diana to Beyoncé, this exclusive red carpet – or more specifically, white carpet - has been graced with the presence of enormous celebrities over the years.
Now, I'm aware that SMU's T-Junction resembles nothing like the white carpet in NYC... but we could all use a little bit of fashion inspiration after six weeks of classes in our PJs.
What exactly is the Met Gala?
Organized by Vogue and hosted by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Met Gala is a fundraising event for its Costume Institute, which is essentially the museum’s fashion department. This extravaganza also marks the opening of the Institute’s annual themed fashion exhibition, also inspiring the dress code for the party.
This year’s focus was on homegrown American fashion.
Who gets invited?
Typically, fashion houses such as Chanel, Balmain, Givenchy, and Alexander McQueen are the ones purchasing tickets and tables.
A single ticket costs a whopping $35,000 (that's 10,000 plates of chicken rice) and the price of a table ranges between $75,000 to $250,000. Vogue then recommends an invite list, including celebrities and influential figures, leaving the designers to decide on who they would like to work with.
Why are we talking about this?
Now, even for the usually bizarre Met Gala outfits, this year was off the charts. Nonetheless, the Met Gala never fails to excite and this year produced some fabulous creations.
From Grimes’ sword to Frank Ocean’s neon green robot baby, it was evident that some were confused on the direction to take with such a broad theme.
Without further ado, here are our top 10 iconic looks – ranked and rated.
10. Lewis Hamilton - 7/10
Starting off strong, we have Lewis Hamilton pulling up in a dashing black blazer and trousers with a mesh top and lace veil skirt. His outfit was designed by Kenneth Nicholson, one of the three young, emerging black designers Lewis had invited. The 7-time Formula 1 World Champion is no stranger to the Met Gala but this year, he decided to turn the attention away from himself by inviting a table’s worth of Black designers, musicians, athletes and creatives to join him.
He also paid the bill for the entire table, which would have cost up to $250,000. This further champions what the British racing driver has been advocating for in The Hamilton Foundation and Mission 44, which are causes pushing for more inclusion of unrepresented groups. If this isn’t empowering American fashion, we don’t know what is.
9. Yara Shahidi - 7.5/10
Yara Shahidi dazzled the crowd in a sophisticated strapless Dior gown, embroidered with intricate beading and accompanied by a tulle cloak with a long train. The actress, who starred in hit TV series Black-ish, took inspiration from activist and artist, Josephine Baker, echoing a Dior dress that the latter had worn at a show in 1951. Needless to say, we are obsessed.
8. CL - 8/10
As one of the first female K-pop idols to attend the MET Gala, CL made her debut at this exclusive event in a pair of white briefs under a grand blue denim cape tied at the front with a traditional Korean Hanbok knot. The former 2NE1 member’s unique hairstyle was inspired by traditional headpieces worn by Korean empresses. The well-executed outfit that merges her Korean heritage with American fashion was designed by Alexander Wang, who described the explosive solo artist as an ‘Asian Alpha’ on Instagram. We can’t agree more.
7. AOC - 8.5/10
American Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, did not shy away from making a bold statement in the presence of some of the world’s wealthiest. Designed by Aurora James, the creative director and founder of luxury brand Brother Vellies, rep AOC turned heads in a white off-shoulder mermaid gown, with the words ‘tax the rich’ painted in bright red on the back.
Her choice of white, which has a long history of being a popular clothing colour for women of congress, also symbolizes women’s rights. However, her outfit was quickly criticized for being hypocritical and tone deaf, considering this is one of New York’s ritziest events.
The politician was happy to set the record straight, clarifying that the dress was borrowed and that she had been invited to the gala as part of her duty in overseeing the city’s cultural institutions. “The medium is the message,” AOC added on Instagram.
Truly, an icon.
6. Barbie Ferreira - 9/10
Stepping right out of the roaring 20’s, Barbie Ferreira graced the scene in a captivating pearl-encrusted off-shoulder gown by Jonathan Simkhai. Her sparkly nails, custom Mudd Pearl headpiece, light brown curls, thinned brows and flawless eye makeup completely did the flappers justice.
The star of Euphoria has been making waves in the fashion industry with her bewitching red carpet appearances and she certainly did not disappoint this time.
5. Quannah Chasinghorse - 9.5/10
Described by Refinery29 as “the breakout star” of Tuesday’s MET Gala, Quannah Chasinghorse commanded attention in a metallic gold gown by Peter Dundas for Revolve and donned her auntie’s authentic traditional turquoise jewellery.
She clearly understood the assignment of American representation. The 19-year-old Indigenous model and activist is of both Hän Gwich’in (from Alaska and Canada) and Oglala Lakota (from South Dakota) descent and proudly carries traditional facial tattoos known as Yidįįłtoo.
4. Kendall Jenner - 9.8/10
Photo Credit: (left) John Shearer/WireImage/Insider | (right) CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images/Harper's Bazaar
Following close behind with a 9.8/10, Kendall Jenner stunned in a sheer Givenchy dress adorned with delicate crystals.
The dress, designed by Mathew Williams, is a gorgeous modern take on Audrey Hepburn’s gown in the 1964 film ‘My Fair Lady’ with a daring twist. While the classic 60’s gown by Cecil Beaton had a glittering chiffon layered over white silk, Jenner’s gown was made entirely of sheer chiffon. We can’t get enough of this look.
3. Billie Eilish - 10/10
Photo Credit: (left) Mike Coppola/Getty Images/ELLE; (right) Sunset Boulevard/ELLE
Snatching a perfect score, we have Billie Eilish embodying Marilyn Monroe in a dreamy Oscar de la Renta peach ball gown. Though quite a few Hollywood icons and Billie’s childhood barbies had inspired the dress, it bears the most resemblance to Marilyn Monroe’s 1951 Oscar look.
It was refreshing to see the singer step out of her comfort zone and we are so glad she did. Additionally, Billie had agreed to wear the gown on the condition that the designer stopped using fur. The New York Times reported that "Oscar de la Renta will terminate all fur sales at the urging of Ms. Eilish, who is a vegan and an animal rights activist."
We stan an ethical queen.
2. Lil Nas X - 11/10
Lil Nas X caused quite the commotion with his stellar entrance in a 3-piece Versace ensemble and he has broken our rating scale. The rapper arrived in a humongous regal golden cape, which he then stripped to reveal a blinding golden suit of armour. If you thought it ended there, you’re wrong.
He then shed another layer, like a Matryoshka doll, to reveal a radiant black bodysuit, decorated with countless crystals that formed Versace’s signature print. Though there doesn’t appear to be much link to the theme, it was nothing short of a dramatic entrance.
1. Kim Kardashian - ??/10
Is that the grim reaper? Nope, that’s just Kim Kardashian in a head-to-toe black Balenciaga bodysuit. Talk about a dramatic entrance *cue the myriad of twitter memes*.
Finally, rounding off at the top of our list, we have this absolutely incredible look, a stark contrast from Kim’s usual lavish red carpet outfits. We can’t even put a number on this look. In all seriousness, it was highly identifiable as Balenciaga’s unorthodox Haute Couture and despite obscuring her famous features, one could still easily recognise the American socialite.
Perhaps this mass confusion is the beauty in the ambiguity of avant-garde fashion. While many did not see the relevance it had to American fashion,
Kim took it to Twitter to explain: “What’s more American than a T-shirt head to toe?!” Love it or hate it, I’m sure we can all agree that she has made quite a statement.
What did you think of this year’s MET Gala? Do you agree with our top picks?