Courtesy of Kai Pilger via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY SA 4.0

This past year was especially unique for the Metropolitan Gala, with the event happening twice within the span of just seven months. The theme of the museum’s two-part exhibition was “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” with the second event focusing on the Gilded Age of American fashion. This particular age of American fashion has been recently popularized by television shows like “The Gilded Age” on HBO Max. This time period can be whittled down to excessive fabrics, corsets and over the top hairstyles by the rich of time. This lined up to be an extremely playful Met Gala theme, but ultimately the mark was missed by the majority in attendance. 

What makes the Met Gala so unique from other major events in the pop culture realm is the over the top dresscode. Celebrities from all different corners of the entertainment industry come together in order to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event has become so much more than just another fundraiser; it has become a pillar for pop culture critique among the general public. The carpet has transformed into a livestream event, with multiple media outlets reporting on every single second of the night. As the Met gala has transformed in recent years, so has the guest list. 

In 2019, one of the most influential names on the internet at the time was invited to the Met Gala, James Charles. Along with fellow YouTubers, Liza Koshy and Lily Singh, this marked the start of internet influencer appearances at the Met Gala. In more recent years, YouTubers and now TikTokers have continued to make appearances at the Gala. Most notably fashion-centered influencer Emma Chamberlain, who has now hosted interviews for Vogue on the carpet twice. YouTubers being invited to the Met Gala has always sparked controversy on the internet, with many feeling like they shouldn’t be invited. Internet personalities have every right to attend the Met Gala. After all, they attracted the most attention online during the event. When James Charles attended the event back in 2019, Twitter went up in flames — but to James’ advantage, all publicity, as they say, is good. 

This year’s Gilded Age theme brought with it a lot of anticipation from people on the internet. Everyone was expecting a “Bridgerton” style gala, filled with over the top showcases of wealth and extravagance. Instead, the carpet was filled with celebrities repeatedly continuing to once again miss the mark of the theme. Some celebrities decided to opt out and wear more traditional Gala outfits, while others stuck more to the core central theme of American Fashion. For example, Kim Kardashian decided to wear a vintage dress famously once worn by Marilyn Monroe. She later received lots of negative feedback, many people citing that she was destroying a piece of American fashion history. 

As for the best dressed of the night, it’s easy to list the guests who actually managed to hit the nail on the head. First on the list is “Bridgerton” star Nicola Coughlan, who showed up in a Richard Quinn gown. The pink and black dress fit the theme perfectly, from the silhouette down to the added feathers. Billie Eilish was beautifully dressed in custom Gucci, and her outfit was completely made up of deadstock fabrics. She managed to send a message about being environmentally friendly while simultaneously being perfectly on theme. Another fan favorite was Emma Chamberlain, who was dressed by Louis Vuitton and Cartier. Being one of the first to hit the Gala’s carpet, she surely made an impact. As per the men in attendance, some honorable mentions are Bad Bunny, who dressed in Burberry, and Even Mock, who wore Head of State

For the worst dressed of the night, some celebrities in particular both managed to miss the mark and wear terrible looking outfits. Tommy Dorfman in Christopher Kane, for example, managed to look more like a torn leather trash bag more than anything. Vanessa Hudgens in Moschino dressed to look the part of a rich widower who just lost her husband in a “mysterious accident.” Her outfit ultimately fell more on the side of a costume party, and not the Met Gala. Prime movie star and ex girl-group member Camila Cabello, was dressed in Atelier Prabal Gurung. Let’s just say that the mice in the “Cinderella” movie would’ve never made a dress this ugly. 

The Met Gala will most likely continue to grow in popularity, especially as more young people in the entertainment industry start attending the event. At its core, the event will always be a night centered around an exclusive guest list and expensive outfits. We can only hope members in future attendance will honor its dress code with a bit more diligence.