As far as themes go, this year’s Met Gala wasn’t the highest degree of difficulty. The Costume Institute’s exhibit is In America: An Anthology of Fashion so, technically, any American designer puts you “on theme”. According to the invitation, the dress code was “gilded glamour, white tie” – so basically formal wear, anything that’s gold, and/or super adorned, extravagant, excessive works too. And, of course, whatever inspiration taken from the Gilded Age.
But there are a lot of people pointing out the irony of glorifying the Gilded Age, a period when as Audra Heinrichs points out at Jezebel, “industrial capitalism became responsible not only for the United States’ booming economy, but truly brutal conditions for workers”. And just as celebrities were arriving on the red carpet about to walk up those steps, Condé Nast union released a statement…
1/ Tonight, hundreds of our colleagues are putting on #MetGala2022, one of the most glamorous nights of the year. But the Met Galaâ€™s sparkle comes from our sweat. Weâ€™ve been waiting for union recognition for over a month. pic.twitter.com/G7fTphDuWV— condeunion (@condeunion) May 2, 2022
…along with a mock Vogue cover:
So if we’re talking about the theme of the Met Gala and how it was interpreted, one of the people who best “understood the assignment”, as they say in the culture, would be Riz Ahmed whose outfit was “an homage to the immigrant workers who kept the Gilded Age going”: a work jacket over a white tank, utility pants, and boots.
With his appearance, Riz was highlighting those who are not often associated with the visual splendour of the Gilded Age, not unlike how the Met Gala itself, and its increasingly high profile, is credited to Anna Wintour. No doubt, Anna’s efforts since taking over in the 90s certainly elevated the event’s cultural value but she didn’t do it alone. In this time of social media, Anna’s not the reason the Met Gala has become such a big f-cking deal. Without people like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Zendaya showing up year after year serving internet-breaking looks, Anna’s party would not be what it’s become. And it’s people like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Zendaya (all three of whom skipped this year’s edition and probably why the event seemed to be missing the ultimate exclamation point) who were invisible during the Gilded Age.
Same goes for Quannah Chasinghorse and “gilded” for her means something entirely different. She arrived at the Met Gala gilded in the symbols that represent her people and her community.
Indigenous model Quannah Chasinghorse speaks about representation at events like the #MetGala, saying her people should have been welcomed long ago. Her jewelry was handmade using earth elements that her people used back in the day such as porcupine quills and moose hide pic.twitter.com/vrUTOeNyS6— Reuters Showbiz (@ReutersShowbiz) May 2, 2022
Quannah Chasinghorse, a native ðŸ‘‘ HÃ¤n Gwich'in from her mother's side (in Alaska) and Sicangu-Oglala Lakota from her father's side. Photos from the #MetGala today. She could wear any designer but she always honors her heritage. The Gilded Age was not a golden time for Natives. ðŸª¶ pic.twitter.com/BKDI20VZ3D— LOU TEE-OH (@KiwiDiva) May 3, 2022
Allure has all the details about Quannah’s look, one of the most distinctive and beautiful of the night, here.
More on the Met Gala throughout the day.
Yours in gossip,