Met Gala 2021 The Best Dressed on the Red Carpet
Last night saw the long-awaited return of the Met Gala, an event that is often dubbed ‘the Oscars of fashion, and which always sees celebrities and designers pull out all the stops to create truly memorable red-carpet moments. After 18 months of cancelled events as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, last night’s gala was even more special than usual as the biggest supermodels, actresses, sports stars and influencers made their way up those very famous steps for the first time in a while.
This year’s exhibition, and therefore the accompanying theme, was ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ or ‘American Independence’ which celebrates the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary and explores a modern vocabulary of American fashion. When it came to the gala outfits, we saw both obvious and subtle nods to American fashion, culture, and history, while plenty of American designers were represented at the event.
It was a truly exciting night for fashion and there were plenty of memorable red-carpet moments.
One of America’s greatest exports is the image of the rugged cowboy, so it’s honestly surprising that the beige carpet at the Met Gala 2021 wasn’t full of spurs, wide-brimmed hats, and sturdy boots. Despite that, plenty of stars lived up to the “In America” theme by embracing Western wear in some way. From Leon Bridges who went traditional in a fringed Bode jacket to Jennifer Lopez who channeled a couture adventurer in an earthy brown Ralph Lauren gown, the looks that embraced the West were also the ones that felt riskiest and most alive.
Ben Platt, in Christian Cowan and Lupita N’yongo, in Versace, both embraced denim, while Shawn Mendes opted for a shirtless look in leather pants by Michael Kors. Kacey Musgraves was more abstract in an equestrian-inspired high-waisted skirt and boots by Ralph Lauren, while Kim Petras honored her childhood as a horse girl by wearing a spectacular printed Collina Strada gown complete with a horse’s head hanging from her neck.
Iman in Harris Reed
It takes a lot to steal attention on the Met Gala red carpet, but Iman managed to do exactly this in a striking look by Harris Reed. The model wore a completely handmade crinoline and gold leaf gown, jacquard bustier, and flares, with an enormous statement hat which Reed created in collaboration with Vivienne Lake. The stylist described the moment as their “biggest dream come true to date”.
Zoe Kravitz in Saint Laurent
Post-pandemic, naked dressing is definitely back on the menu. This was proven by a number of stars last night, including Zoë Kravitz, who looked absolutely breathtaking in a completely sheer, beaded Saint Laurent gown, with sparkling Jessica McCormack diamonds.
Paloma Elesser in Zac Posen
Model Paloma Elesser was the picture of old Hollywood glamour in a deep red satin gown by American designer Zac Posen, which featured a dramatic feathered train.
Kendall Jenner in Givenchy
Supermodel Kendall Jenner is no stranger to the Met Gala, and she is also no stranger to a sheer dress, but last night’s custom Givenchy ensemble may have been her best effort to date. The gown – which was embellished with crystals and featured a fishtail train and a jewelled neckpiece – was inspired by the house’s most famous muse, Audrey Hepburn, and a dress she wore in My Fair Lady.
Lupita Nyong’o in Versace
While there was plenty of amazing fashion to be seen last night, the Met Gala theme of ‘American Independence’ was not always obvious with every single look. However, Lupita Nyong’o ticked all the right boxes with her denim Versace ballgown, which definitely nodded to all things USA.
Rihanna in Balenciaga
It was a big night for Balenciaga with the house responsible for dressing some of the biggest stars in the world. This included Rihanna, always the queen of the Met Gala red carpet, who this year wore a black voluminous gown and beanie from the house’s latest couture collection, which she paired with lots and lots of Bulgari diamonds.
Gemma Chan in Prabal Gurung
British actress Gemma Chan pulled out all the stops with her embellished Prabal Gurung mini dress, which featured a dramatic mint-green train. The dress was a tribute to Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American film star of Hollywood’s golden era. “A trailblazer, fashion icon, and woman ahead of her time – she paved the way for those who came after and continues to inspire,” Chan wrote.
Michaela Coel in Balenciaga
It was Michaela Coel’s first time at the Met Gala, and she certainly did not disappoint. The actress, writer, and director arrived in a full Balenciaga look, where she was covered in sequins. The jumpsuit was made in a bright electric blue colour, which was presumably a nod to the American flag.
Kaia Gerber in Oscar de la Renta
Another star that nodded to old Hollywood glamour was Kaia Gerber who looked timeless and beautiful in a strapless black ball gown by Oscar de la Renta. The custom black faille gown featured ivy vines, which were made of black thread-work embroidery and lined the top of the corset bodice.
Normani in Valentino
Normani had a picture-perfect moment in a Valentino couture gown for the 2021 Met Gala. The dress featured an enormous skirt, a dramatic train, and huge sleeves, all of which made for big, head-turning fashion, which is what this event is all about.
Content courtesy of Harpers Bazaar, Met Gala & Nairobi fashion hub