Female rappers have been some of the most influential figures in fashion long before Marc Jacobs, Donatella Versace and Giorgio Armani were clamouring to dress Lil Kim in the early 2000s. So it’s nice to see invitations to this year’s Met Gala were extended to Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion, who were all showed out on the Met steps — to varying degrees of success.
Let’s start with the worst and leave the best for last. Megan Thee Stallion was wearing Moschino, as a guest of the brand’s creative director, Jeremy Scott. This may be a gala for the Costume Institute, but this muted gold sequin look felt a little but too costume-y, even for the occasion. According to The New York Times, Meg told Jeremy Scott she wanted something sexy, something gold and to have her moment on the stairs. I think she got that. She looked confident walking the carpet, with a short train following a few steps behind her. Apparently this is a silhouette she loves: body-con with cut outs around the hips and a high slit. But that means we’ve seen it a hundred times and it brings me back to early critiques of her red carpet looks that said she looked like a mortal combat character. This is still sort of a video game costume but high fashion. The Met is where you’re supposed to step outside your usual look and take a risk, because if you fail you still get points for trying.
Giving us a solid middle of the road look is Nicki Minaj. Really, her only goal tonight was to redeem herself after 2019’s Barbie look for the “Camp” Gala and I think she definitely did. Wearing a Burberry baseball cap and feathery black ballgown, Nicki wasn’t on theme for me, but it was a clean look. I’m not sure what the motivation was behind the dots all over her face, chest and arms, but I’m into it! Maybe that’s the drag fan in me. One thing holding her back from really serving on the carpet was her boobs nearly spilling out of the dress at every turn. She told Lala Anthony on the Vogue livestream that the folks over at Burberry seemed to have gotten her cup size wrong. Aren’t there fittings for these kind of things? Also, you may remember Nicki didn’t attend last year’s gala because of the COVID vaccine requirement. At the time she said if she choses to get vaccinated it’ll be for a more important reason than a Met Gala, but then proceeded to say a lot more inflammatory and irresponsible sh-t on Twitter. Since then, she must have finally “did her research” and got the jab.
Cardi B arrived in one of the best looks of the night: a formfitting, gold halter dress by Versace. Gold, as in literal gold jewelry and metal mesh creating the garment, along with the brand’s signature gold chains layered around her neck and even more stacked on her wrists, creating gloves. The whole thing looked heavy! But Cardi ascended the Met steps with ease and with Donatella by her side. From what I remember Donatella isn’t one to cater to the night’s theme, but this look accidentally does. There’s nothing like physically wearing precious materials many can’t afford to make me think about the outrageous wealth disparity of Gilded Age New York. And it’s done in this ultra-feminine silhouette on the same night we’re hearing the US Supreme Court could be revoking a woman’s access to reproductive rights, which will disproportionately effect women at the bottom of that wealth disparity.