There are always those people who talk about change like it’s a degradation of the standard that once was. Sometimes it’s true. Like, maybe your favourite restaurant isn’t the same anymore because they flipped the menu and, sure, that’s fair. But what about the people who complain about the restaurant because the clientele just isn’t what it used to be? Is that like saying the Met Gala is too noisy, and crowded, and you don’t want to go anymore? What’s the subtext in that case? You could say that the subtext is that the “right kind of people” don’t go anymore, right? And then the restaurant actually gets better and that person skulks their way to a corner booth, no harm no foul.
Here’s the thing about the Met Gala – it’s better than it was 10 years ago, it’s better because the guest list is better, it’s better because people like Lupita Nyong’o and Janelle Monae and Michael B Jordan and Priyanka Chopra (even though I didn’t care for her look last night) and Serena Williams are regulars now. It’s better because Tessa Thompson shows up with her hair twisted into a long ponytail that doubles as a whip in one hand and a riding crop in the other. She was serving it all night, snapping it as she posed, mouth opening and closing seductively, knowing that it hurts so good. Tessa wore Chanel. It’s an interesting design. But she elevated Chanel beyond its level by collaborating with her stylists, Wayne Bannerman and Micah McDonald for a look they called “Cha-matrix”, as in Chanel + Dominatrix. Yep, that’s exactly it. But also…deeper. As Micah told Variety:
“We were really more than anything, inspired by heritage. We will be taking an array of African American women to the Met this year and it was just really important to highlight what camp meant to them and how they could pull references from their heritage and things that inspired them as a child so we really pulled from that. We also pulled from different elements, as you’ll see with Tessa’s look, with fetish and kind of played up that moment. I think it’s interesting for a woman to take that power back, especially an African American woman, to be seen in that dominant light.”
I’m sure you know what a whip used to symbolise for a black woman – and what it means to see a black woman reclaiming that symbol, THROUGH FASHION, ahem. So, yes, of course, this was playful and it was campy but it was also purposeful expression, through an outfit. Warrior spirit. Valkyrie spirit.
Tessa Thompson.— Alanah Pearce (@Charalanahzard) May 7, 2019
That is all. pic.twitter.com/51utlCB61B
Would we have expected to see Natasha Lyonne at the Met Gala 10 years ago? Would we have imagined that Russian Doll would be one of the best new shows on television? Maybe the best new show on television? If you haven’t watched Russian Doll yet, f-ck you, I’m so jealous. Also…maybe free up your schedule because once you start you can’t stop. Natasha Lyonne is the sh-t right now, and the Met Gala just might be the beginning of a red carpet run that will take her to the Emmys and the Golden Globes and the SAGs as the co-creator, writer, producer, and star of the most critically acclaimed series of the season. So why not show up in a Bowie-inspired jumpsuit, with her hair shaped into a triangle, and cigarettes tucked into her clear drop-purse as currency? Relax, I’m not condoning smoking, don’t smoke, kids, it’s bad for you – I’m just saying we’re not going to see her like this at the Emmys and the Globes and the SAGs. And by “this”, I mean Camp but also Natasha’s fashion personality cranked up to the highest it will go on the dial. Last night was her all-time best.
Last night was not necessarily Kristen Stewart’s all-time best at the Met Gala but by no means was it the worst, nor is that even the point. The point is Duana’s – she saw Kristen and her mind immediately went to Brienne of Tarth, or should I say Ser (this is the correct spelling) Brienne of Tarth, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Right?! And from there, my mind went to Snow White and the Huntsman. She was the title character in that movie, ostensibly a princess-to-be-queen but with the heart of a knight. I love that scene where Snow White rides back to the castle to confront Ravenna (Charlize Theron), upending the idea that the lady falls back while her soldiers suffer the hits in her defence. That’s what I see in this her Met Gala 2019 look – Disney princesses have always been camp, and maybe, if we were to check in on KStew’s Snow White now, this is what she would look like.