Updated: Dec 8, 2022
Words by Georgia Poole
The 2022 Met Gala’s dress code, ‘Gilded Glamour, White Tie’ was held in celebration of their exhibition, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”. This Gala anticipated opulence and glamour, paying ode to where American fashion and wealth begun. The inspiration came from the Gilded Age of New York, paying homage to the abundance of the late 1800’s.
This time period saw unprecedented wealth and prosperity. New York was suddenly lit up thanks to Thomas Edison’s Lightbulb, Alexander Graham Bell’s Telephone made communication instant, and wages across America skyrocketed compared to their European counterparts. Additionally, the host of the Gala itself, Vogue, was established; promising to publish the “point of view of the cultivated citizens of the world,”.*
This sense of new world excitement was reflected in the grandeur and extravagance of Gilded Age Fashion. With the introduction of electricity and the industrialisation of the fashion industry, a wealth of silks, velvets, and lace were readily available and adorned with bows, frills and ruffles.
This year’s theme reflects this idea of wealth and prosperity. In a post pandemic world, the regeneration of economy and pure excitement to escape the house leaves guests with no option but to present their very best. In the words of Vogue writer, Elise Taylor, “The unofficial edict? The more going on, the better,”.
With this in mind, we look towards the ensembles of ‘Fashions Biggest Night Out’. How did they reflect the theme, contemporary fashion and most importantly the wearer themselves. While obeying Anna Wintour’s theme and respecting her meticulous planning is an absolute essential (I would not be caught dead doing anything otherwise!), ensuring one dresses in accordance to their own style and suitability is equally as important for the look to work.
So, as a fashion nerd and amateur historian, here are a few of my favourite looks, as well as some of the most notable, from the event.
As Co-Chair of this year’s event, Blake Lively was one of the first to step out onto the red carpet, adorned with a rose gold gown with metallic details, full length gloves, a tiara and an extraordinary bow. Her look was already screaming opulence, elegance and Gilded Glamour.
However, as she rose to the middle of the stairs, a group of assistants began to untie the bow that had sat so effortlessly on her hip, revealing a sea of aqua blue with rose gold accents. She truly was the gift of the evening!
When asked about the inspiration for her look, Blake Lively told The Cut: “Instead of looking to fashion to influence the dress, I looked to New York City architecture and classic buildings”.
Blake paid tribute to the theme in her own unique way, proving once again that the Met Gala is not a costume party, but an opportunity to express and show appreciation.
Lizzo understood the assignment. She stepped out onto the red carpet draped with a gold embroidered coat, wearing a figure hugging black dress, with exaggerated hips and a window at mid thigh. The bustle-esc shape of her dress alongside her own elements of contemporary style make this look one of the most on-theme of the night, while still maintaining the excitement and energy her style continues to exude.
Maintaining her dedication to not only the theme, but herself, Lizzo brought with her the most loved accessory of the night, her flute. Serenading the Paparazzi’s along the red carpet, Lizzo embodied class and glamour effortlessly. On Vogue’s Livestream of the event she spoke about her look, “I’m just so happy to be in it, I feel like a piece of art,”.
Louis Vuitton and Cartier
For her second ever Met Gala, social media star, Emma Chamberlain stayed tried and true in her partnership with Louis Vuitton, while dipping her toe into a new venture with Cartier.
Emma wore a cropped cream blouse, with pleated details and puff sleeves, along side a simple white skirt with a train. She was adorned with a handsome amount of Cartier Jewellery, including an outrageous choker and subtle tiara, encapsulating the theme and announcing Emma’s new partnership simultaneously.
Her glam was perfect, from the bleached bob to the creamy gold eyeshadow. Emma’s look paid tribute to the exuberance of Gilded Age Fashion, but with a young and almost rebellious attitude. Being appointed with the duty of red carpet interviews for the evening, Emma’s look was simultaneously approachable and enticing, making it Louis Vuitton’s best look of the night.
Originally worn by Marilyn Monroe in 1962, when she serenaded John F. Kennedy for his 45th birthday, the dress worn by Kim Kardashian is an American Icon. Not only was this dress worn by actress and beauty icon, Marilyn Monroe, but when sold in 2016 it auctioned for an outstanding USD$4.8 Million.
Now before you panic (like I did) and think, “oh my god, the stretching potential, the makeup spillage, the sitting, the dinner!?,”. Kim only wore the vintage ensemble for the red carpet, in true homage of the legend that was Marilyn. Once inside the Met, and off of the red carpet, she changed into a replica, altered to fit her body and withstand the events of the evening.
Kim spoke of the dress and their plan to preserve it, “I’m extremely respectful to the dress and what it means to American history. I would never want to sit in it or eat in it or have any risk of any damage to it”.
While this look is absolutely not gilded in style, or derivative of late 1800’s fashion, its dedication to American glamour, old Hollywood and above all, white tie sophistication aligns it with the class and opulence that was expected of the dress code. It is safe to say, this was a truly iconic historic moment to remember in fashion.
Anitta’s look, while not the most popular or appreciated, met the theme to perfection. From the jewel purple satin, to the bustle inspired shape, the excessive pearls and exposed décolletage, this look embodied what it was to be in Gilded Age New York. While it brought with it a modern twist in its glam and simplified tailoring, Anitta looked regal, glamorous and above all Gilded.
By ensuring pivotal elements of Gilded Fashion were incorporated such as the exposed décolletage, exaggerated silhouette and excessive jewels, Moschino was able to then focus on making Anitta look and feel herself, emphasising a sense of flattery to her shape and executing the perfect subtle glam.
This look was well articulated and considered, right down to the manicure and purple stone on her pointer finger, ensuring the theme was met and above all, she looked beautiful.
I’m sure Ms Wintour would be proud.
While I could go on for days about my favourite looks from the event, their historic relevance, their dedication to the theme and above all their flattery to the wearer, all good things must come to an end.
This year’s Gala was met with extravagance and excitement by all guests, signifying a moment of change following the suffocating nature of the pandemic. It appears the roaring 20s have begun, and the fashion industry’s recovery is well and truly on the way.
*historic background of theme acquired from Elise Taylor (Vogue)
Photos curtesy of Vogue.