Does the Met Matter?
By now, you have probably all seen the extensive coverage of the Met Gala red carpet. Things were pretty much as I (and others more knowledgeable than me predicted). There were lots and lots of pearls, including those wearing nothing but (thank you Little Nas X) or almost nothing but (really, Kim? You disappoint). A lot of chains and another person seemingly wearing nothing but (Amanda Seyfried). Lots of Chanel, new and vintage, and homages to the iconic Chanel camellia (done best by Rihanna, of course). Anne Hathaway’s dress had a little bit of everything.
Some people carried homages to Choupette while others dressed as Choupette, including Doja Cat (kind of expected, don’t you think?), whose face prosthetics reminded me of one of those weird people who get plastic surgery so they can look like their cats. Jared Leto and Janelle Monae gave tried to top everyone else by performing one of those red carpet transformations meant to shock (see Blake Lively’s color-changing dress of 2022 and Bella Hadid’s spray-on dress from last year’s Paris shows) but perhaps the biggest transformation of all was Jessica Chastain going from her signature red locks to platinum blonde).
There was plenty of skin thanks to JLo’s underboob, Rachel Brosnahan’s pasties (clearly shedding her Mrs. Maisel persona), Rita Ora’s butt, and Pedro Pascal’s knees. Some seemed to have not gotten the memo and were totally off theme (Viola Davis did Las Vegas showgirl, Jodie Comer and Kylie Jenner did generic red carpet and Ashley Graham was more Barbie girl than chic Chanel). They did, however, sport the few pops of color among that vast sea of black and white.
There were a few all-white bridal looks, including Miranda Kerr, Mindy Kaling (who left me wondering if she changed to a black version of her dress once inside), and Alton Mason ($10 to anyone who can tell me who he is without Googling him). Olivia Wilde, meanwhile, looked like the Pope from the waist up and a Bond Girl from the waist down (yes, I’m Team Jason all the way).
Two of the stars of Everything Everywhere All at Once showed up in the guise of Karl Lagerfeld, with Ke Huy Quan once again giving an Oscar-worthy performance.
My favorites of the night were Jessica Chastain, Liu Wen and Kaitlyn Dever, whose red dress would have been off theme without that beautiful camellia. My two worst-dressed wore takes on the Chanel suit that failed miserably: Emma Chamberlain in Miu Miu and Harvey Guillen, whose Christian Siriano look was not the Billy Porter moment he and Christian had probably expected.
By now, you may be wondering “who cares?” The media coverage was so extensive that Harry and Meghan could have appeared naked on Oprah and no one would have paid attention. Living in New York, it wasn’t a complete surprise that it was the top story on my local news but when it showed up in my daily news feed from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (making note of the large diamond Jewish Star Ben Platt wore with his take on the Chanel suit), and a few mentions in Politico’s newsletter (more focused on who didn’t show up this year), I started to question why we spend so much time on this. As I said yesterday, the likelihood that anyone will be getting their fashion inspiration from anything we saw last night is small (although I would like to see the H&M version of that Liu Wen dress). The closest I’ll get is throwing on a white ruffled shirt and some pearls to see the exhibit for myself during the member preview day on Thursday.
But, for the Met itself, it does matter. Last year, the Met was said to have reaped $17.5 million from the Gala, which cost $3.5 million to produce (boy, what I’d do with a PR budget like that). They’ll probably make a lot more from the overpriced Karl Lagerfeld merch ($85 for a baseball hat?) that will be there when you exit through the gift shop. Vogue, meanwhile, gets all that great exposure, which, given the fact that it’s one of the few magazines people still buy in print form, it probably needs.
Yes, we all need a little fun these days, and the Met Gala gives us the opportunity to take our minds off all the weightier things that are happening in the world. And, in the two hours I spent scanning photos and writing this piece, I’m not sure I would have solved any of the world’s problems. I’ll see all of my fashion-obsessed friends back here next January, just in time for the Golden Globes.
Till then, buy yourself some pearls.