The Met Gala Returns With a Star-Spangled, Star-Studded Event

The United States is a comparatively younger nation, and this yr’s American fashioned-themed Met Gala appeared, in some ways, a nod to that truth. The hosts have been a Gen Z dream crew: Amanda Gorman, the 23-year-old inaugural poet; Timothée Chalamet, the 25-year-old star of “Dune”; Naomi Osaka, the 23-year-old tennis champion and psychological well being activist; and Billie Eilish, the 19-year-old music phenom.

Honorary chairs included Vogue’s Anna Wintour; the designer Tom Ford; and Adam Mosseri, the chief govt of Instagram, which is underwriting the exhibition and occasion together with Condé Nast.

This yr the gala, often known as “the party of the year,” was framed as a part of New York’s re-emergence, together with the reopening of Broadway reveals, indoor eating and the U.S. Open. Still, many designers who reside in Europe and often make the journey didn’t attend, both due to quarantine guidelines or as a result of they must work on their very own reveals. Rumors swirled that some Hollywood stars additionally selected to take a seat this one out, maybe due to well being considerations or due to the concern that partying whereas persons are sick isn’t the very best look. And some regulars couldn’t attend, as a result of that they had not been vaccinated — a requirement for all company.

The consequence was a extra native, youthful and sportier visitor record than regular (additionally a smaller one, because it had been downsized by about a third out of security considerations). But the outfits have been as eye-catching as all the time.

The gown code was “American Independence,” in honor of the Costume Institute exhibition it celebrated, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” It kicked off with a high-energy performance by the Brooklyn United marching band dressed in red, white and blue custom Adidas jumpsuits by Stella McCartney, running up the steps of the Metropolitan Museum while the gymnast Nia Dennis, 22, performed acrobatics for the cameras. (Ms. McCartney sent the musicians in lieu of attending herself.)

Ms. Wintour, the longtime maestro of the event, wore a floral gown with a ruffled neck in homage to her “dear friend Oscar de la Renta,” the designer who passed away in 2014. But she was the exception, rather than the rule, in a sea of predictably patriotic — and occasionally political — outfits.

Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York, for example, arrived in a dress with streaming epaulets bearing the message “Equal Rights for Women” and a matching bag advocating for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Her fellow Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a white dress with “Tax the Rich” scrawled in red on the back. Other attendees opted for nostalgic allusions to old-Hollywood glamour and the American West.

As celebrities walked the carpet, a substantial crowd of protesters gathered on a blocked-off Fifth Avenue to rally for racial justice.

The police arrested some of those who were taking part in the demonstration and who had ignored warnings to clear the street. The result was the somewhat jarring image of shouting protesters being dragged away by police officers past onlookers who were pressed up against metal barricades hoping to get a glimpse of celebrity glamour. (One of those celebrities was Mr. Chalamet, who walked partway to the Met wearing an almost-all-white ensemble that included a Haider Ackerman jacket, Rick Owens shirt and Converse high-tops.)

Many of the designers whose work is featured in the museum show were invited to the gala this. year for the very first time, hosted by more established brands because of the price of a ticket: $35,000 a seat. That’s steep for a small business (it’s steep by pretty much any measure), but the gala is the main source of funding for the Costume Institute, the only curatorial department of the Met required to finance its own operations.

Because of this, and to make up for a Met Gala-less 2020, the Costume Institute is going to hold another gala next May to celebrate part two of its American exhibition, which is intended to be even larger. And what’s more American than unchecked growth?

Ed Shanahancontributed reporting.

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