Lifestyle / Opinion

2021 Met Gala, dissected

Fashion’s biggest night. Arguably, fashion’s biggest hit or miss night. The night when the stars walk the carpet and Twitter explodes. The Met Gala. Thanks to Covid, we’ll have two Galas this year, the first being “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” I’ve had time to mull over the looks and have compiled my favorites, Carpet Couture, my least favorites, Eye-Grabbing Garbage, Best Couple Look, Honorable Mentions, and of course, Undecided.

Obviously, a disclaimer is in order: these are just my opinions, fashion is subjective, and none of my opinions are influenced by the celebrity wearing the outfits! That being said, I won’t hold back; if your favorite influencer is roasted in this article, please don’t send hate emails, thanks. 

Let’s start with the Carpet Couture. These people showed up and showed out, no questions asked. They either incorporated the theme or just nailed the look. Here are my top five Carpet Couture looks:

1. Kendall Jenner

Image source: Harper’s Bazaar

Kendall is wearing a Givenchy by Matthew Williams sheer dress, inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s dress in My Fair Lady. I love this look because Kendall is wearing the dress. It fits the theme of American fashion, it lays so beautifully on the carpet, and the hair and makeup compliment the simplistic beauty of the dress. After all, diamonds are a girl’s best friend. 

2. Normani

Image Source: POPSUGAR

Normally, I am not a chartreuse kinda girl. However, this is just a shade different, and she is  GLOWING. Normani is wearing a Valentino piece; this color looks fantastic on her, and it’s such a bizarre color that not many people can pull off, making it one of my favorites. I also am drawn to the shape of the dress. It’s very regal, reminding me of the Bridgerton Queen’s dresses (which I love). Met Galas, as much as they are about the themes, are also about stretching the boundaries of fashion, and this is it.

3. Lili Reinhart  

Image Source: J-14

I always look for at least one outfit at the Met that I would actually wear, and this is it. Then again, I would wear just about any Christian Siriano dress. Timeless, elegant, and true to theme with all 50 state flowers sewn on, Lili Reinhart’s dress was one of the most beautiful of the night. It could be seen as playing the Met Gala safe, but I believe there should always be a few looks that tastefully ground the carpet.

4. Lupita Nyong’o 

Image Source: POPSUGAR

Honestly, I wasn’t sure about this look at first. I loved the shape and fabrics, but I was hesitant when I saw the rhinestones on the jean train; something about it made me pause. But I thought about it through the lens of Met and the theme and realized it was giving elevated Britney and Justin Timberlake circa 2001, which could (and should) be considered as an iconic American fashion moment. Obviously, Queen Britney can do no wrong fashion-wise, and if Lupita and Versace were possibly drawing from that moment in 2001, I am all in.

5. Timothee Chalamet

Image Source: British Vogue

Let me start by saying that this look was controversial. Is he doing too little? Is this basic but also minimalistic fashion? No one knows for sure. All I know is that I liked it — a lot. Yes, call it basic, call it boring, I don’t care. He wore Converse and Ricky Owens sweatpants on the Met Gala carpet. It’s not a novel idea, but I can’t recall anyone in recent memory doing that; not to mention, Converse, specifically Chuck Taylors, is a historically “true American” brand of shoe, so it fits so nicely with the theme. This look was clean; the different cuts of fabric made it interesting and edgy, and the shoes, of course, took it over the top. Well done, Timmy. 

Now on to the real reason you’re all here: the five worst looks, affectionately known as the Eye-Grabbing Garbage. I am again going to preface this with a disclaimer: the comments I make on these looks are in no way influenced by who is wearing them, or the designer; they’re just not my taste, and that’s okay! Alright, here we go, the worst looks from the 2021 Met Gala

1. CL

Image Source: Newsweek

Starting off strong, we have K-Pop star CL. This could’ve been so good. It reminds me of a Calvin Klein advertisement, which is very American fashion, so she gets a half-point for that. But, this is not about what it could’ve been, but what it is. What it is is a person wearing high-waisted white underpants and a denim cape at their first-ever Met Gala. The cherry on top of this whole look is definitely the shoes; maybe a different style could’ve saved this look, I don’t know. Maybe she could’ve matched with Timothee Chalamet and wore Chuck Taylors. All I know is that I saw this look when she first wore it and I couldn’t believe it, and as I sit here now, a few weeks later, I still can’t believe it. Alexander Wang brought Captain Underpants (denim edition) to the Met Gala carpet.

2. Serena Williams 

Image Source: Hollywood Life

I love Serena Williams. But, my love and adoration for her could never excuse this look. Not to be dramatic, but WHAT IS GOING ON, GUCCI? There are feathers, there are sequins, there’s lace, where does it end? To me, this look has no connection to anything, within the look and out of it. Definitely a statement piece, but she might want to send a press release to explain it. 

3. Naomi Osaka

Image Source: Us Weekly

This look, like many others, could’ve been fantastic. The nod Osaka made to her Japanese heritage with the thick red obi-style belt was a beautiful reference to her individual background. The fabrics created a nice color contrast and the different cuts made it interesting. The makeup was creative and pretty too. It was the hair for me; while being another sentimental reference to her Haitian-Japanese heritage, it distracted from the Louis Vuitton piece itself. I think a slicked-back bun would’ve been perfect for this look. This is an ideal example of how hair and makeup can impact a look; it’s not all about the clothes!

4. Kim Petras

From Kim Petras to Iman: All the Riskiest Looks at the 2021 Met Gala - E!  Online
Image Source: E! Online

Kim Petras saved the Met Gala. She, and designer Richard Quinn, managed to make every other questionable look the height of fashion. I actually don’t know and haven’t heard anyone defend or explain this look. The colors, the shape, the horse head, the lack of connection to the theme. That horse is looking straight into my soul. 

5. Justin and Hailey Bieber

Met Gala 2021: Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber Walk the Red Carpet |
Image Source: People

Hailey looks like the cool mom that all the other moms are jealous of, bringing her four-year-old son Justin to a work event in poor-fitting pants. In other words, they could’ve done so much more. So. Much. More. For example, Justin could’ve worn a different color set, because Hailey’s ensemble would go with any color. Give me something, Biebs. This night, coincidentally, was also their wedding anniversary, and I just feel like they could’ve celebrated with a grander YSL look; their street style is more interesting than this look!

Now that I’ve appropriately ripped apart one of the top couples at the Gala this year, let’s turn to the Best Couple Look. Drumroll, please…

Kit Harington and Rose Leslie

Met Gala 2021: Rose Leslie wows in a canary yellow gown with husband Kit  Harington - newsbinding
Image Source: News Binding

This is what I wished JB and Hailey did. Color and classics make a perfect pairing. Similar to Normani’s dress, I normally am not a fan of Leslie’s dress color, but tulle ball gowns will always steal my heart (thank you Oscar de La Renta). It was just an elegant, classic showing on the carpet, with a bit of flair in the white suit and almost-neon tulle!

Okay, I’m going to get real with all of you; I sifted through a lot of outfits, and narrowing down to five each was very difficult. This means it’s time for some Honorable Mentions. These are the outfits that wowed me but were just beaten out because of creativity, colors, or theme. 

1. Iman, obviously.

Iman Wore a Larger-Than-Life Look to the 2021 Met Gala | Allure
Image Source: Allure

This is fantastic. It’s unique, feathers and gold, a jumpsuit, and designed by Harris Reed. The ONLY reason it’s not in the five best is that Normani pulled off that fascinating shade of yellow, and I just couldn’t leave her out. That said, Iman, you were show-stopping. 

2. Zoey Deutch

Zoey Deutch Dazzles in Lavender on the Met Gala 2021 Red Carpet: Photo  4623435 | 2021 Met Gala, Met Gala, Zoey Deutch Pictures | Just Jared
Image Source: Just Jared

Call Donatella Versace right now and give her my measurements, credit card number, and address, I need this dress. The color, the sparkles, the detached sleeves! Deutch looked amazing in this dress, it just wasn’t quite “Met” creative enough for the top five. 

3. Madison Beer

Met Gala 2021 Red Carpet Fashion: What the Stars Wore
Image Source: Us Weekly

I gasped when I saw this look. Designed by One/Of and Patricia Voto, it’s timeless, and slightly Old Hollywood. This ensemble is a great example of the hair and makeup matching the dress perfectly. The fit and color of the dress and the gems embedded where they are is so elegant and beautiful, and of course, there’s Madison Beer. She almost made the top five, but I needed to put one man in there (even though they disappointed intensely), so Timothee Chalamet beat her out by *this* much.

4. Megan Thee Stallion

Megan Thee Stallion Wore Coach To The 2021 Met Gala - Red Carpet Fashion  Awards
Image Source: Red Carpet Fashion Awards

Old Hollywood Megan Thee Stallion. Everything the carpet needed, and more, so thank you, Coach. I actually like the color and the diamonds on the dress; the one thing that kept her out of the top was the cut of the tulle. I know, it’s picky, but it’s the little things that can take a look out.

5. Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan's Altu Dress at the Met Gala 2021 | POPSUGAR Fashion
Image Source: POPSUGAR

I genuinely could not tell you why I like this look. There’s something about it that catches my eye every time, and I don’t know what it is. A Joseph Aluzarra for Altu piece, it was probably the simplest look on the carpet, beating out the countless numbers of men wearing black suits and bowties. The feminine nature in the low scoop, the length, and the rib-cage cutouts makes Sivan stand out in a graceful manner. It’s an outfit that defies logic actually; the simplest thing can be so attention-grabbing that it makes its way into the Honorable Mentions, beating out Emma Chamberlain’s jewel-encrusted Louis Vuitton ensemble. You got me here, Mr. Sivan. 

You’ve made it this far, I think you can go one more category; possibly the most controversial of them all: the Undecided. Billie Eilish fans, you might want to sit down for this one. 

1. Billie Eilish

Photos from Bask in the Glamour of Billie Eilish's 2021 Met Gala Look - E!  Online
Image Source: E! Online

I’m locking all of my doors out of fear because I know the Billie stans are freaking out right now. The gown itself? Immaculate. The deal Billie struck with designer Oscar De La Renta regarding ODL’s real fur use? A wonderful backstory. Here comes the kicker: In my opinion, Billie Eilish is too pale for this dress. The color washes her out so much! This stunning, ethereal gown could’ve been the dress of the night no questions asked if it was a deeper (or different) color. I do, however, appreciate the detour from traditional Billie outfits, and her great attempt at reinventing her look. I’m honestly excited to see her next big red carpet and to see what she does next.

2. Kim Kardashian West

Kim Kardashian wears Kanye-style face mask at Met Gala 2021
Image Source: Page Six

You didn’t actually think I would write a whole Met Gala review and leave out Mrs. Kardashian West, did you? Well, here she is, in Balenciaga. Before you question my credibility on the fact that I put her in “Undecided” and not “Eye-Grabbing Garbage,” I want you to know that I heavily despised this outfit for the first 24 hours after the Met Gala. Then, as I was innocently scrolling on Tik Tok, I came across a video of a girl explaining why this look is actually genius. I will link it here so all of you can revel in the mind-changing moment I experienced. Kim Kardashian exploited her own status as one of the world’s most famous people. She knew that she didn’t have to show her face, her hair, her $75,000 diamond earrings (Kim, there’s people that are dying); her entire silhouette is recognizable, given that her brand is centered around shapewear, modeling, etc. Genius! I’m still not, by any means, in love with this look, but I love the intention. 

So there you have it: the Met Gala 2021, reviewed. The guest list was, at times, questionable (Addison Rae, I’m talking about you), but once again, the Met has done what it aims to do every year: make people talk. See you on May 13, 2022, for the next round!

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