See the 16 Most Stunning Gilded Age Looks of 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.

Not quite Gilded Age, but certainly gilded, Kim Kardashian attended the 2022 Met Gala wearing Marilyn Monroe's “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress—the most expensive dress ever sold at auction. Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.
Not quite Gilded Age, but certainly gilded, Kim Kardashian attended the 2022 Met Gala wearing Marilyn Monroe's “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress—the most expensive dress ever sold at auction. Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

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 having a rad pregnant statue installed in the museum to serve as her 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.

Chloe Bailey

Left: Chloe Bailey at the Met Gala, 2022. (Photo by Cindy Ord/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue ) Right: Jeff Koons, Balloon Rabbit, 2013 (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

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.

Evan Mock

Left: Evan Mock at the Met Gala, 2022. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue ). Right: Pierrot by Jean-Antoine Watteau (1718/1719) (Photo by Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images)

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

Left: La La Anthony attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. Photo by Cindy Ord/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue. Right: Judith with the Head of Holofernes Lucas Cranach the Elder (1520/1540)

Left: La La Anthony at the Met Gala, 2022. Photo by Cindy Ord/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue. Right: Lucas Cranach the Elder, Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1520/1540)

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

Left: Lizzo arrives at the Met Gala, 2022 in New York City. Photograph by Arturo Holmes/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue. Right: Artemisia Gentileschi, Portrait of a seated lady, three-quarter-length, in an elaborate and gold-embroidered costume, possibly Caterina Savelli, Principessa di Albano.

Left: Lizzo arrives at the Met Gala, 2022 in New York City. Photograph by Arturo Holmes/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue. Right: Artemisia Gentileschi, Portrait of a seated lady, three-quarter-length, in an elaborate and gold-embroidered costume, possibly Caterina Savelli, Principessa di Albano.

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

Left: Gemma Chan attends the Met Gala, 2022. Right: Diego Velázquez, Queen Mariana of Austria (1652).

Left: Gemma Chan attends the Met Gala, 2022. Right: Diego Velázquez, Queen Mariana of Austria (1652).

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

Cardi B

Left: Cardi B arrives at the Met Gala, 2022. Photograph by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images. Right: Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907).

Left: Cardi B arrives at the Met Gala, 2022. Photograph by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images. Right: Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907).

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

Left: Sarah Jessica Parker at Met Gala 2022 (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images). Right: Mondrian’s “Composition II, with Red,” 1926 (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)

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.”

Camila Cabello

Left: Camila Cabello (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue viaGetty Images). Right: Cy Twombly, <em>No title (Rome, the wall)</em>, 1962 (Getty Images).

Left: Camila Cabello (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue viaGetty Images). Right: Cy Twombly, No title (Rome, the wall), 1962 (Getty Images).

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.

Bella Hadid

Left: Bella Hadid (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue via Getty Images). Right: John Singer Sargent, <em>Madame X</em> (Getty Images).

Left: Bella Hadid (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue via Getty Images). Right: John Singer Sargent, Madame X (Getty Images).

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

Left: Gigi Hadid (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagi via Getty Images). Right: A view of artist Anish Kapoor's retrospective at the Palazzo Manfrin in Venice, Italy (Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Getty Images).

Left: Gigi Hadid (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagi via Getty Images). Right: A view of artist Anish Kapoor’s retrospective at the Palazzo Manfrin in Venice, Italy (Roberto Serra – Iguana Press/Getty Images).

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. 

Blake Lively

Left: Blake Lively (Mike Coppola/Getty Images). Right: Lady Liberty (Patrick Smith/Getty Images).

Left: Blake Lively (Mike Coppola/Getty Images). Right: Lady Liberty (Patrick Smith/Getty Images).

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.

Shawn Mendes

Left: Shawn Mendes (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images). Right: <span style="font-weight: 400;">Caspar David Friedrich,</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Wanderer above the Sea of Fog</em></span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></i>(Fine Art Images/Heritage Images via Getty Images).

Left: Shawn Mendes (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images). Right: Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (Fine Art Images/Heritage Images via Getty Images).

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.

Kid Cudi

Left: Kid Cudi (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue). Right: Thomas Gainsborugh’s The Blue Boy, 1770 (Photo by H.Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images).

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!”

Janelle Monae

Left: Janelle Monae (Kevin Mazur/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue). Right: <span style="font-weight: 400;">Erté,</span> <em>La rose et le papillon (The rose and the butterfly)</em>, 1960 (Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images).

Left: Janelle Monae (Kevin Mazur/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue). Right: Erté, La rose et le papillon (The rose and the butterfly), 1960 (Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images).

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

Left: Elizabeth Cordry Shaffer at Met Gala 2022 (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic). Right: Keith Haring in 1985 (Photo by Raphael GAILLARDE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images).

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.

Tessa Thompson

Left: <span style="font-weight: 400;">Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Swing</span></i> (Picturenow/Universal Images Group via Getty Images). Right: Tessa Thompson (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images).

Left: Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s, The Swing (Picturenow/Universal Images Group via Getty Images). Right: Tessa Thompson (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images).

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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