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Will the Met Gala represent outstanding American fashion, or will it be a costume party?
That was the question on the minds of red carpet fans as Monday night’s Met Gala neared, thanks to comments made by designer and director Tom Ford. In a recent interview, Ford wistfully recalled the days when attendees didn’t adopt a Costume Institute exhibition’s theme, and instead turned up on the steps of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art simply as their glamorous selves. With the evening’s dress code set as “Gilded Glamour and White Tie,” an edict that dovetails nicely with the museum’s about-to-debut exhibition, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” how might the guest list of Hollywood A-listers and New York society interpret that?
Well, it turns out that edict was taken to heart, at least by early attendees on the red carpet, who turned out in a parade of looks that were elevated and elegant for the most part, from Maude Apatow’s black Miu Miu dress and Janelle Monáe’s beaded black Ralph Lauren number to Camila Mendes’ dress in cascading gold and Kacey Musgraves in a dramatic printed black gown. Monáe called her look “gilded glamour from the future.”
The tip sheet given out to press prior to the red carpet’s opening was a hefty eight pages, decidedly longer than the previous Met Gala in September 2021. In addition to co-chairs Regina King, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, guests include everyone from Billie Eilish and Camila Cabello to Hugh Jackman and Venus Williams. Other guests include Lizzo, Jessica Chastain, Ariana DeBose, Megan Thee Stallion, Amy Schumer, Emma Stone, Cynthia Erivo, Mindy Kaling, Shawn Mendes, Jon Batiste and Tommy Dorfman.
Also expected to cause a frenzy of screams from the public permitted to watch behind a barricade across Fifth Avenue: a collection of Kardashians and Jenners, including Kim Kardashian attending with Pete Davidson as the follow-up to their red carpet debut at Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The expected new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, is also on the list with his model mother, Maye, though it’s unclear as to whether they’re attending together.
Fashion designers from New York and points beyond are also well represented, including Ford, Thom Browne, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Brandon Maxwell, Prabal Gurung, and Schiaparelli’s Daniel Roseberry. High-profile politicos are also expected to attend, including Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. The latter guests are also wholly fitting, given that “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” opens with a selection of presidential fashion. Two coats worn by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln — the latter by Brooks Brothers, founded in 1818 — are seen near the entrance of the exhibition, while just beyond is a dress worn by Mary Todd Lincoln.
On Monday morning, another first lady made an appearance: Dr. Jill Biden was on hand for a private tour of the exhibition, a look at the history of American design from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century, and in advance of that discussed the importance of fashion in American culture. “The history of American design is rich and deep,” she said. “It is a story of innovation and ingenuity, of rebellion and renewal. It has often been written by those in the shadows, not recognized for their insolence and art, but here at the Met, their stories are told, their voices are raised, and their work can shine.”
Designers ranging from Claire McCardell to Charles James, Elizabeth Hawes, Ann Lowe and others are showcased in vignettes created by nine directors that include Ford, Sofia Coppola, Chloé Zhao, Janicza Bravo and Martin Scorsese, who put together what he called “a one-frame movie in a period room,” blending designs from James with a Frank Lloyd Wright room to create a “Technicolor Noir” inspired by 1945’s Leave Her to Heaven, “a film that has always haunted and inspired me,” he said.
View more photos from the Met Gala 2022 here.
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