By: Leah Bayley-Hay
Annually on the first Monday of May, the fashion powerhouse magazine, Vogue, brings a selective group of A-Listers out onto the iconic stairs of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a night of bold statements made through fashion and wearable art. Each gala has a specific theme for guests to adhere to in preparation for their walk on the paparazzi-lined stairs. This year, the gala presented a theme that paired with the museum’s new exhibit, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”; guests were urged to dress with the thought of “Gilded Glamour” in mind – an ode to late 19th-century couture. Like every year, some guests deliver looks beyond expectations and others seem to miss the mark.
Starting off with one of the most glamorous ensembles of the gala, Blake Lively, an award-winning American actress, strutted onto the crimson stairs dressed in Versace. She first entered the gala in a copper-toned gown that was then unpinned to reveal a lengthy turquoise green train, embellished with streaks of copper tones. The dress was paired with arm-length satin gloves to match the gown and a detailed tiara to crown the stunning look.
Lively explained her outfit transformation stating, “I patinaed!” – a homage to New York City’s iconic Statue of Liberty. “I arrived copper, and then like New York City classic architecture, I patinaed,” she said. Her dress captured the brilliance of architecture and physical growth of the city from the Gilded Age. The torso of the gown featured detailing resembling the Empire State Building.
The remainder of the dress had draping similar to that on Lady Liberty and printed constellations on the train, from the ceilings of Grand Central Station. Lively’s tiara held symbolism too: seven spikes resembling the seven spikes on Lady Liberty’s crown but also representative of the seven seas and seven continents.
Lively also shared that her tiara featured 25 stones representative of the 25 windows on the Statue of Liberty – a small detail she was adamant about including. It is beyond safe to say that Lively both delivered an iconic look and captured the heart of this year’s theme.
Alicia Keys, the legendary R&B singer, and New York City native was next on the guest list. She delivered a shining look, styled in Ralph Lauren. Her strapless, figure-fitting dress sparkled under the lights and camera flashes as it was crafted with silver jewels head to toe. Paired over the dress, was an elegant black cape draped over only one shoulder and fastened around the neck.
The cape was a work of art unto itself, featuring 200,000 crystals that detailed the New York City skyline around the base of the garment. Her hair was glamorously done in a long braid down her back, decorated with jewel embellished disks. Not only did the look scream wealth and old glamour, but it was another stunning homage to Old Manhattan, making this outfit on theme and one to remember.
Last up for best dressed and the last person to take the stairs at the gala this year, was Kim Kardashian, American model, and socialite. Kardashian wowed the press as she strode onto the floor dressed in Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “Happy Birthday Mr. President” gown – the dress that Monroe herself wore six decades prior, to sing Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy. Ripley’s Believe it or Not! loaned the famous gown to Kardashian for the night.
The nude-colored dress, decorated with crystals, fell over Kardashian’s form nearly perfectly. She paired the simple but elegant gown with a bleached blonde, slicked back hair style, and a brilliantly white fur coat, worn off her shoulders. As for the theme, Kardashian approached it with the thought of “What’s the most American thing you can think of?”, and for her, that was Marilyn Monroe.
In contrast to their sister, American influencers Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian arrived at the gala in styles that were boldly different – and maybe not in the best way. Jenner, styled in Off-White, gave us a look that seemed to mix streetwear and bridal couture. The dress featured a corset-style torso with a wide ruffled skirt flowing down from the upper waist. Under the torso of the dress was a white mesh tunic.
The crown of this fit was Jenner’s white, baseball cap worn backward which was detailed with 3D floral designs and white bridal netting over her face. The look was visually interesting, to say the least, but as for the theme, it might have been best suited for the MET Gala’s 2019 theme: Camp.
Kourtney Kardashian admitted to not giving much thought to the theme of the gala this year when approaching the design of her outfit, however, her confession does little to save her from the visually confusing look she presented to the public. Styled in Thom Browne, Kardashian wore a two-piece ensemble that featured a cropped, white button-down with a short tie worn around her shoulders.
The look heads downhill when reaching the bottom half – a high-waisted full skirt that starts off white with a choice of stitching and pattern that makes the top half resemble bandages. The bottom half of the skirt is black with white stitching and features elements of pleating.
Her outfit was meant to mirror her partner, Travis Baker’s outfit, but the execution of this look seemed to head south. In regard to the theme, Kardashian was able to partially redeem herself. The “messy” construction of her look could be interpreted as a representation of the muscular and manic building of the Gilded age in America.
Lastly, Gwen Stefani, American singer-songwriter, stood out at the MET not for a bizarre outfit, but for veering slightly off theme. Dressed in Vera Wang, the superstar debuted a blindingly neon green 2 two-piece ballgown. The outfit featured a strapless tube top that showed off Stefani’s lean physique.
The skirt was wide and high-waisted and showcased elements of layering, pleating, and large 3D floral details. The neon didn’t stop there – Stefani rocked neon green sleeves that were unattached to the rest of her outfit and a set of neon green nails to tie everything together.
The ballgown-esq style of the outfit scored a few points in terms of Gilded Glamour, but ultimately the bright color choice made the look feel a little out of touch with the theme of the night.