2021 Met Gala


Kirstin Hayes, Perspectives Editor '22

This Monday marked the first Met Gala since 2019’s iconic “Notes on Camp.” Last year the historical first Monday in May event was cancelled for the first time since its founding by Eleanor Lambert in 1948. The fashion community was in despair, and those of us (like me) who love to obsess over the looks for years to come were left with a gala-sized hole in our hearts. The first theme for this two-part event was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” This vague theme left lots of room for interpretation by designers, and they did not disappoint.

My favorite looks of the night were ones that, instead of leaning into a general concept of American fashion, decided to pay homage to different American fashion figures. For example, actress Yara Shahidi and Christian Dior teamed up to create a gorgeous jewel-studded earth-toned floor length gown, with an equally gorgeous train to match, paying homage to the infamous Josephine Baker.

My personal favorite tribute moment came from youtuber Nikkie de Jager (a.k.a. Nikkietutorials), with her fairy-like floral gown in reference to the late trans activist, Marsha P. Johnson. My favorite detail from de Jager’s look was the incorporation of Marsha’s famous catchphrase, “Pay it no mind.” This was my favorite look of the night and I only wish Marsha could’ve seen it herself.

Another notable look of the night, Lil Nas X’s three-part dissembling attire. As many have pointed out the concept of changing looks on the red carpet was already done by Lady Gaga in 2019. However, the two looks could not be more different, and he continues to push boundaries in men’s fashion.

I would be remiss not to mention the looks of Billie Eilish, and her “fairy-tale gown” in reference to Marilyn Monroe and Holiday Barbie. I also must mention Iman’s show-stopping regal look that can only be compared to the presence of royalty or the sun itself.


Now on to, in my opinion, some of the worst looks of the night. I am not a fashion expert by any means, but nevertheless here are my picks. Monday’s gala was simply not the night for couples. Justin and Hailey Bieber appeared on the pink carpet together in relatively unremarkable all black. Neither looked horrible, though one could wish that Justin had opted for a better tailored suit rather than an over-sized one, but it was simple. Similar to Kim Kardashian’s look for the night, but unlike Kardashian, they did not seem to be making a statement with their simplicity.

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello also arrived together, and while Camila admittedly had a stunning purple and glitzy Cher-esque two piece, Shawn did not seem to match her energy. And finally, to discuss the looks of our show closers, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky. Rihanna, who is known for her iconic Met Gala attires, wore a black puffy Balenciaga dress to match A$AP Rocky. By no means were they the worst dressed of the night, but they were a bit underwhelming, given Rihanna’s previous track record at the Met.

All in all, this was a successful year. I loved seeing more and more people step outside of their comfort zones with their looks, and I only hope this continues for years to come. The only thing missing from this year was what have undoubtedly been a show-stopping look from Zendaya, who was unable to attend due to filming conflicts. Even though only a few days have passed, I cannot wait for the next gala.