It’s the most beautiful time of the year: when fashion enthusiasts and critics come together to virtually discuss the moments we love and hate at the Met Gala. This year is the first time the event has fallen on the first Monday in May since the pandemic began and all of its usual pomp and circumstance is back in full force. But after all the anticipation, did the look justify the hype? The theme for the evening was In America: An Analogy of Fashion’s Gilded Glamour, which served as the second part of last year’s exhibition In America: The Lexicon of Fashion. While the first part barely covered many aspects of American culture, this theme carved out a certain period between 1870 and the early 20th century.
Black people were amid inequality at the time (except for a few elite black people) and wondered how black celebrities would deal with the issue. Would they use this moment to educate viewers and shed light on American history, or would they ignore the subject entirely or not appear at all?
Aside from a few of the more interesting events, this year’s Met Gala seemed average and irresistible. Some of the excitement was lost before the red carpet even started. People tweeted their predictions and asked, “who will be there?” Zendaya (who confirmed she won’t be attending) was trending on Twitter with Rihanna and Beyoncé. When none of our Holy Trio of The Met (Z, Rhi, Bey) showed up, we were disappointed. Also, photos of what celebrities are wearing have been hitting Twitter before the celebrities even stepped out on the red carpet and it went down by the time the red carpet was uncovered. Fashion editor Shelton Boyd-Griffith tweeted it best: “Hotel shows/photos kill the fantasy.”
The fantasy was dead on arrival, and the look didn’t serve as well as it once did. But there were a few exceptions. Although the bar fell and the 2022’s Met Gala was irresistible, these black celebrities saved the show. Here is who slayed the show:
The Normani abs stole the show, slaying in a Christian Siriano two-piece dress. While talking to presenter Lala Anthony, she shouted out to her Pilates instructor for her killer abs. The wild side singer broke a bit of the fashion rule by having her stomach on display but remained on the theme. The ornated hat sold the look.
Teyana Taylor in Van Herpen
Taylor made an impression in her purple Iris van Herpen dress. The multi-character queen in the movie “Gilded Glamour” looks futuristic. The haystacks helped with the overall look. She wasn’t quite on the subject, but Taylor still plays by her own rules, so we’ll let her.
Lizzo in Thom Browne
Lizzo didn’t come to play at all! She understood the assignment as she wore a black silk dress and jacket by designer Tom Browne with intricate embroidery that required 22,000 hours to work. Lizzo told Unbothered, “I love how the dress hugs my curves perfectly and I’m currently wearing [my] Yitty thong.”
Janelle Monae in Ralph Lauren
Monae said on the carpet that her dress was the “golden glamor of the future,” and the sparkly dress and headpiece itself stole the start of the night. It gave the royal status of the 20th century.
Paloma Elsesser as a coach
“Model Paloma Elsesser wore a Coach and even though the moment was safe, we loved that corset and the lace beads on the lower half of her dress. Her dress represented the first layer of undergarment worn by women of the Gilded Era.
Alicia Keys in Ralph Lauren
One thing Alicia Keys will do is make sure she represents New York. The singer was dressed in a Ralph Lauren dress with New York contours adorned with the lower half of her train. It wasn’t on a theme or the right era (The Empire State building wasn’t even built yet), but we loved her long braid with sequined discs that completed the outfit.
Cardi B In Atelier Versace
The rapper stepped out like cash in her Atelier Versace dress. Cardi told Lala Anthony on the Red Carpet, “A lot of fans don’t get the theme because they think gilded is supposed to be like an era, but gilded is gold, it’s regal.” In fact, the gold metal was sewn into the tulle fabric of the dress.
Megan thee Stallion in Moschino
Grammy-winning rapper Megan thee stallion wore a golden cut-out Moschino gown, complete with a feather shawl, a sleek bun, and a winged out black smokey eye.
Other gorgeous looks include Tessa Thompson in Carolina Herrera, Jodie Turner-Smith in Gucci, and Gabrielle Union in Versace. We hope to see more risk-takers and people ready for “Met Gala Behavior” next year as trans women and creator Devin Halbal aka HalBaddie would say. The Met Gala is one of fashion’s biggest nights, but if there’s any indication this year, it’s starting to lose momentum and become predictable. Without our favorite celebrities and those who seem to decide to show up and give up on the theme, the only sure thing about the Met Gala is that we will be disappointed.