It was Taylor Russell’s first Met Gala. And Stray Kids’, and Tyla’s. All of whom had excellent first times out (especially Tyla!) – but let’s be real. The first time you go to the Met Gala, all you really want to do is stick the landing. Just make them proud they invited you, that’s it. Don’t upstage anyone, don’t fall down, produce reasonable pictures. 

 

Which is totally understandable.

But… imagine the luxury of knowing you could just go all the way… and then more? 

 

Zendaya is, of course, ridiculous. She’s incredible, to the point where we essentially eliminated her from comparison on LaineyGossip years ago. And – that’s not the same thing as saying “oh, she’s effortless”. Because this is WORK: 

It’s custom Margiela by Galliano, it’s apparently meant to be “temptation”, and it is of course breathtaking all on its own – but this look is made by the styling and the performance. The makeup. The poses. 

It’s SO much. It’s blue and green and purple, it’s a snake, it’s a witch, it’s a Sondheim-esque magic beanstalk, it’s scary, it’s enchanting, it is the goddamn theme all in one look.

 

Not that we would expect less – after all, she’s the co-chair and he’s Law Roach, and we’ve come to expect them to delight us this way. And the face is by Pat McGrath (well. Face by her genes, makeup by McGrath) and Zendaya uses every single opportunity she has: 

And nothing is by accident. Zendaya has been on an endless clothes-focused press tour for Challengers – and this is not just a punctuation mark on that tour. Instead, it underscores her as the villain she's been relishing in unveiling this whole season… 

Hold that thought.

For now, though, we go to some more excess, brought to us in typical “who, me?” fashion by Cynthia Erivo: 

Any of this would have killed – a cropped tux with a long train, or a look dripping in pink petals looking like a frosted cake, or the OTT eyelashes and makeup and – watch this video, even though we are NOT celebrating Ariana’s dress as being joyfully excessive. 

 

Specifically, watch what happens when Cynthia turns around: 

Did you see it? You did, right? That was a large decorative bow on the back of Cynthia’s bald head, which I think is as much for amusement as it is part of the structure holding on her enormously OTT ear cuffs. 

What I love about this? She doesn’t so much as raise an eyebrow. 

There are people who come to the Met Gala all “Can you even beLIEVE I’m in this?” and I get it and they should. But Cynthia Erivo not only doesn’t break a sweat, she may never have broken one, ever. She’s genetically engineered to be cool, even when wearing these:

They’re Thom Brown, as is the rest of the look, and I think if anything, she’s selling it too well. She may well be the only woman who can wear an ensemble like this and still be described as “laid back”. 

Although there is someone who could give her a run for her money… 

In the following video, Amanda Seyfried basically outlines my thesis for this piece: 

 

It’s a costume! It’s Prada, and she’s interpreting it as “sexy nice Ursula” (of the Sea Witch Ursulas, I assume). I don’t want to be overexuberant here, because it’s still very much more dress-shaped than a lot of what we saw tonight, but it’s wildly large and look-at-me, and she’s leaning all the way into it: 

When you feel this good in a look, you sell it – and she’s got me thinking about those chunky, floral 1940s bathing caps, which is not going to be a good look for me – but this is the way you start thinking when you see how much fun it is to be all the way extra.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

Not content to simply run circles around the competition, and/or, using her privilege as co-chair of the event, Zendaya proceeded to hit the red carpet a second time, and… 

Now, come on now, this is unfair! And I mean that on several levels. 

One, it’s unfair because she was already the undisputed winner of the carpet (I’m sure people are disputing it all over the place, but here in this article my word stands) and she doubles down? What have we done to be so lucky? 

Also, please notice she’s a completely different character here than she was an hour ago. It’s giving “distant noblewoman who does not need to be interested in anything around her”, but who doesn’t automatically think it’s beneath her. It’s not that you have to play different characters for each outfit, it’s just that the fact that she can is part of what makes her Zendaya. 

Because my second point about unfairness is that I have no doubt that there are people inside the gala grumping to themselves that if they’d been able to wear a second outfit, that … they still would come nowhere close. But you know, it’s the idea. She’s incredible again, this time in vintage Givenchy and Phillip Treacy, but – did we know this was allowed?! 

I think the answer is always – it’s allowed if you act like it is. It’s allowed if you own it – and…

Which means my next guest needs no introduction … 

 

How are we lucky enough to experience that which is Cardi B?

Is it way over the top? 100%. Impossible to move in? You got it. An absolutely excessive number of helpers? Yes. (The adorably accented woman in the video above thinks there are nine.) 

But you know what? If you don’t believe you’re worth all the excess, who will? If she doesn’t do it now, when? 

This dress is Windowsen, it is truly miraculous. We 100 DO NOT see enough turbans in formal contexts, and I really hope this begins a renaissance. And none of this is the best excess of this outfit, as that would be this:

That’s right. You’re looking at Cardi B on her phone plugged into a portable charger!!! Because by 5 PM phones are DYING. 

A woman with a 9-man entourage for one dress has never been more relatable… which means the Met Gala continues to gift us for another year.