As someone with a fashion degree and an avid interest in popular culture I feel inclined to share my two penneth on the travesty that was 2022 Met Gala. Disappointing, lacklustre and shrouded by Rihanna and Alexa Demie’s lack of appearance, the event was perhaps a more uninspiring aspect of the first Monday of May than my 8 hour bank holiday retail shift.
I will preface by saying I do not deny the talent and creativity that goes into the fashion of these events, Dilara Findikoglu’s custom after party dress for Bella Hadid is in fact the stuff of dreams, I just can’t help but notice how drastically overshadowed the looks were by the celebrity. It wasn’t a case of what was being worn, the reasoning behind the stylistic choices and the connection to the theme - but merely who was wearing and how well they could sell it.
With “Gilded Age” being this year’s Met Gala theme, it seems almost ironic that an era known for its grandeur and corruption is being highlighted in 2022, the year following a global pandemic which left wealth gaps between the richest and poorest of society at their most stark. It is difficult to ignore how flippant it seems to provide commentary on an event where attendees pay $35,000 for a ticket whilst others struggle with rising costs of basic living.
As with all areas of life, the presence of the nepotism babies was rife. Kaia Gerber, Lila Moss, Iris Law, and the Kardashian clan made their appearances amongst many other children of famous faces. Their invitations are validated by the fact they live desirable lives, but the question remains: who is that in credit to? Are there not others who, dare I say, are more deserving? It is arguable that their attendance underpins the entire notion of the event - the purpose of the Gala being to fundraise for the MOMA’s Costume Institute - and who is able to do that except the children of wealthy parents? Therefore it is perhaps just my being bitter, but being birthed into having the financial ability and facilities to have the upper hand is most unimpressive and of little interest to me.
The word “dystopian” seems to be thrown around a lot, however I think a defining moment of the Met Gala that seems most harrowing is Kim Kardashian‘s drastic short-term weight loss to fit into a (albeit, iconic) dress for a 200ft stretch of carpet. I should barely need to mention the damaging effects that such an unhealthy yet heavily publicised effort will do for those that suffer with food and eating, and whilst Kim Kardashian may not be responsible for public health, I question the morality of someone on such a pedestal boasting of these actions and the media outlets that praise it. As with every horrific thing a member of the Kar-Jenner family does, I wonder how much is manufactured controversy. At a certain point I do not believe these people are this ignorant, that the countless people in their teams have never brought their behaviour into question. It is purposeful, providing them with the attention that in turn finances their business endeavours and lines their pockets, with others bearing the suffering as a consequence.
In an interview with Variety (encountered on my TikTok ‘For You’ page against my will) Cara Delevigne stated “I went with androgyny. I also did a little reveal of my of my boobs - but not the nipple though because I still have to hide those apparently”. The clip to me reeked of cringe. In 2022, is the peak of breaking gender binaries really just wearing a pantsuit? The allusion to the free the nipple movement feels icky, my braless trip to Aldi contributing more to a progressive society than a celebrity in pasties and gold body paint could. If anything, whilst not inherently evil, the interview highlighted how celebrity status puts people at odds with current movements and out of touch with public attitudes. I don’t expect a full critique of patriarchal structures to take place at the Met Gala, but is a severely watered down mention the compromise?
Overall, I’m simply unimpressed. There are many aspects of rich people gatherings I fundamentally disagree with and despite my heavy investment into the Paul Mescal / Phoebe Bridgers / Daisy Edgar Jones dynamic, this was still not enough of a redeeming factor for this to be a likeable event. I’ll take Rosalía’s look in a to go box please.