What I Get Excited to See at the Met Gala
The Met Gala stands out in my mind from other similarly swanky fetes for this reason: it’s about the fashion. Awards shows are about the honorees, film festivals are about the films; but the Met Gala's raison d'etre is the clothes. That, combined with the fact that so many from the fashion world are in attendance makes the Met Gala a prime opportunity for unapologetic fashion experimentation. This year, the invitation to experiment seemed particularly pronounced considering the evening's honoree, Rei Kawakubo, a towering figure in the realm of the fashion avant-garde.
The Costume Institute's spring 2017 exhibition will examine the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability.
- Description of "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between" via The Met
Despite my complicated relationship with red carpets and the interaction between fashion and celebrity, I look forward to the Met Gala every year for just this reason: I love seeing the daring souls who side-step an expected or classically beautiful red carpet ensemble and instead capitalize on the chance to take a bit of a risk (and have a little fun) with their look. Interestingly, as I was compiling the images for this piece, I kept thinking how closely this probably resembles a "worst dressed" list. In fact, I could just see my younger self not getting these looks and wondering why these women didn't pick something more conventional. With time, as I've grown to appreciate how powerful unique forms of sartorial self-expression are, I've come to see these atypical looks as courageous. Bold! Daring! And I have come to admire the women who opt for the non-traditional despite the pressure that comes with attending such a high-profile and widely-photographed event.
Here are the women whose choices stood out to me this year.
These are the bold ladies who went for it, no holds barred.
Rihanna in Comme des Garçons
The patron saint of red carpet risks wearing the patron saint of fashion risks is nothing short of a match made in haute couture heaven.
Solange in Thom Browne
Oh Solange, how you consistently excite and challenge us. Way to be and thank you for existing.
Priyanka Chopra in Ralph Lauren
I didn't see this coming. When it did in fact arrive, I immediately asked the question that I know you immediately asked too: WHY DON'T ALL TRENCHES LOOK LIKE THIS?
Tracee Ellis Ross in Comme des Garçons
Plain and simple: nailed it.
Katy Perry in Margiela
This ensemble was certainly emblematic of Kawakubo's ethos. I have to admit I didn't love it, but that didn't stop me from appreciating Ms. Perry's boldness for wearing it.
Helen Lasichanh in Comme des Garçons
Internet memes hold your horses. Nothing honors Rei Kawakubo as much as one of her designs on the red carpet forcing us to question our expectations of what our clothes should do for us.
Lily Aldridge in Custom Ralph Lauren Collection
Proof that accessory experimentation is a perfectly valid way to push the fashion boundary.
These ensembles might not have been as experimental as those above, but they were undoubtedly the most beautiful of the evening (to me) and that counts for something.
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in The Row
I actually stopped breathing for a moment upon seeing this embroidered fur-lined cape. And the necklaces on Mary Kate. It's all so good.
Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana
This is chinoiserie-ish enough for me to love it for the print alone, let alone this gorgeous silhouette.
Zoe Kravitz in Oscar de la Renta
How absolutely, positively beautiful. This pink! That train! And something fluffy that appears to be feathers. A dream dress if ever there was one!
At its best, the Met Gala celebrates what is possible in fashion. It acknowledges the beauty of creation, and the significance of fashion as an art form. Which is why it's so great when the attendees do the same.