See 16 Stunning ‘Gilded Age’ Looks From the 2022 Met Gala and the Historical Artworks That (Could Have) Inspired Them
The Kardashians, Evan Mock, Shawn Mendes and everyone else famous descended on the Met Gala in their finest finery.
After a Met Gala-less 2020, and a move to September last year, the first Monday in May made its return to celebrate the opening of the Costume Institute’s “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” exhibition, and it was exactly as glamorous as we’d hoped.
The theme, after all, was “Gilded Glamour;” attendees were asked, more specifically, “to embody the grandeur—and perhaps the dichotomy—of Gilded Age New York.”
For the most part, the celebs seemed to have gotten the memo—with a glut of shiny metallic fabrics and tiaras, they sure were gilded!—even though there wasn’t really a fashion mic drop à la Rihanna’s Guo Pei dress, her nude dress, or just about any Rihanna moment from Meta Galas past. The pop star and Fenty mogul kind of won the whole evening by not even being there; instead, Vogue ran a video showing a rad (though not real) pregnant-Rihanna statue in the museum’s Greek and Roman Art gallery to serve as her digital avatar.
Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian donned the glittering dress in which Marilyn Monroe cooed “Happy Birthday” to JFK—the most expensive dress ever sold at auction. Sacrilegious or sacrilicious?
All in all, champagne was swilled, hobs were nobbed, and virtues were signaled. There was inspiration in the air—and lots of art on the red carpet. Here are our favorite looks, beside the great works of art that (probably) inspired them.
Don’t get it twisted, but was Chloe Bailey shimmering and curvaceous gold Area couture inspired by Jeff Koons’s loveably shiny auric balloon bunny? We like to think so.
Move over Little Lord Fauntleroy! It’s Evan Mock cutting a jaunty swath in Head of State! This omnipresent skater/heartthrob actor/model feels equally at home in swinging pantaloons as he does in Palace. Last night, he gave us Pierrot by French Rococo artist Jean-Antoine Watteau vibes, minus the sad part.
La La Anthony
La La Anthony came dressed to slay—but with a Judith beheading Holofernes level of intensity. Anthony’s maroon cartwheel hat immediately brought Lucas Cranach’s well-heeled heroine to mind, a reference also underscored by the choker of Anthony’s dress.
Lizzo’s black-and-gold brocade coat brought to mind all sorts of gilded visual pleasures from across the ages, from Asian lacquerware to French decorative arts. But the opulent power of her ensemble imparts a certain Renaissance regality, particularly in Artemesia Gentileschi’s portrait of Italian princess Caterina Savelli.
Gemma Chan’s glitzy get-up read as Spanish Golden Age to our eyes. Her skirt particularly brought to mind the black-and-silver panniers in Diego Velázquez’s portrait of Queen Mariana of Austria.
On the red carpet, Cardi B said her inspiration for the night was gold, gold, gold. What could be a more apropos reference than Gustav Klimt’s iconic Woman in Gold (Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer)?
Sarah Jessica Parker
Carrie Bradshaw had a lot to say in her billowing Christopher John Rogers gown and Phillip Treacy hat combo! Or as she’d type: “Sometimes, as a single woman in the city, I try to give chill Mondrian geometry in a full skirt and pair it with a real funky hat.”
From the white lace-up crop top by Prabal Gurung to the floral detailing on her skirt and its elongated train, singer-songwriter Camila Cabello’s look had Cy Twombly written all over it.
Between her black Burberry corset dress and the pearls wrapped around her ankle, model Bella Hadid sure looked a lot like a modern-day version of John Singer Sargent’s Madame X.
Gigi Hadid also wore Versace: The model’s maroon leather jumpsuit, with its corset top and architectural cape, channeled the work of British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor.
Actress and Met Gala co-host Blake Lively paid homage to New York’s Gilded Age architecture, making an entrance in a green Versace gown. Its bow hid an extravagant train with a copper patina, a direct nod to Lady Liberty.
Clad in a burgundy-and-navy Tommy Hilfiger suit, singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes looked like he could be the mysterious Wanderer above the Sea of Fog in Caspar David Friedrich’s famous Romantic painting.
Well my, my, my, was Kid Cudi inspired by the silky cornflower blouse, breeches, and jodhpurs of Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy? Was the little upper crust merchant boy in his mind while he was perusing the Kenzo racks? Did he pick up the garments and scream “At last! At last!”
With its glittering headpiece, Janelle Monae’s Ralph Lauren ensemble reminded us of the Art Deco work of Erté—but catapulted into the future.
Elizabeth Cordry Shaffer
Anna Wintour’s daughter-in-law looks so major in this Carolina Herrera, which seems like it could have been inspired by a Christopher Wool painting or tagged by the late, great graffiti guru Keith Haring.
In her custom pink Carolina Herrera corset gown, with its gathered tulle and 200-meter train, actress Tessa Thompson could have strolled right through Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Rococo masterpiece, The Swing.
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