Hot on the heels of Karlie Kloss’s Memoirs of a Geisha rip off, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen will co-chair the Met Gala this year and… well… I’ll leave it to a renowned fashion journalist to sum it up:
Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady now co-hosting Met Gala for Rei Kawakubo show. I just look at them and think: "Comme des Garçons."— Vanessa Friedman (@VVFriedman) February 22, 2017
Specifically, the theme is Rei Kawakuobo/Comme des Garçons: The Art of In-Between. Pharrell and Katy Perry will co-host with Anna Wintour, and Caroline Kennedy, the former US Ambassador to Japan, will also co-chair.
Pharrell has interesting personal style along with real fashion cred. Great choice. Katy Perry is a real nothing burger when it comes to fashion (remember the cheese head?) but she will at least TRY to adhere to the theme. Maybe a little too hard. Caroline Kennedy lived in Japan and I guess that’s the closest Vogue was willing to get to a Japanese person because what the f-ck, was Yoko Ono not available?
Then there’s the prom King and Queen. Of course they’ve had a standout year, but isn’t a redemptive Super Bowl ring enough? How do Tom and Gisele even remotely fit the spirit here? To be clear, the Met description says, “The Costume Institute's spring 2017 exhibition will examine the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability.”
Tom and Gisele are basically the standard for conventional beauty. All of the things that make this theme so exciting – the innovation of Kawakubo’s distressed, complex and ungendered designs– is the opposite of Gisele and Tom’s image. Formal, glowing, safe – that’s their red carpet style. They are Barbie and Ken when what we really need is Bjork.
This is simply Anna Wintour wanting the best, the hottest, the most press-attracting couple. But they are so boring! If the theme involved Donatella Versace or Tom Ford, it would make sense. But think about Gisele’s aesthetic – despite being a supermodel for many years, it’s very uniform. She probably thinks putting her hair in a ponytail is taking a risk. And Tom – can you imagine Tom in a sublimely cut drop-crotch pant? He probably calls them sh-tcatchers.
There are better options. Why didn’t Anna ask Solange to co-chair? She’s an emerging force in fashion and had a hit album (plus her first Grammy win) – and she consistently adheres to the Met theme with interesting choices. Frank Ocean has worn the designer and also had a fantastic year. Gwen Stefani is experimental in her style, although she can’t bring the silent Harajuku Girls to stand silently in the background.
Or did Anna and her team ever consider a real life Japanese person? (And I don’t mean Karlie Kloss in a kimono.) I’m not arguing that the designer is Japanese so therefore the co-chairs must be, but there has to be some representation besides plucking the most popular kids in the class. Two years ago when the theme was China: Through The Looking Glass, Gong Li and Wendi Murdoch were among the co-chairs and Wong Kar Wai was the exhibition’s artistic director. As we saw in the documentary The First Monday In May, great care was taken to respect Chinese culture and avoid appropriation and insensitivity. Will they be able to do the same this year? I’m scared to see this red carpet.