The biggest night in fashion, the first Monday in May, the day when we all turn into sofa-based fashion critics; The Met Gala is here.
Originally a high society charity event to raise money for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the met gala became the global fashion moment of the year after the former Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, current Global Chief Content Officer for Condé Nast, and fashion kingmaker, Anna Wintour became chairwoman.
Although it was transformed into a themed event under Diana Vreeland’s membership, Anna Wintour’s fashion connections, culturally impact, and carefully curated guestlist is what makes the Met Gala the occasion that it is today.
This year the posthumous honour falls on creative director and fashion designer Karl Largerfeld. Known for simultaneously transforming Chanel since 1983 and Fendi since 1967 alongside his eponymous brand since 1984.
Now we’ve already gone in-depth on the things to know about the Met Gala theme and what we hope to see. So here are the ten celebrities that made a splash for the right reasons: i.e understanding and expecting the theme.
- Cardi B
Rapper turned fashion icon and fan favourite Cardi B and her stylist Kollin Carter architectured three separate looks last night. The one chosen for the red carpet is the one that completely stole the show. The gown by young Chinese designer Chen Peng featured over 600 camellia petals and took over 300 atelier hours to complete. The inspiration was clear, Karl’s personal self-imposed uniform was represented with the tie and stiff white collar. His time at Chanel and the work that launched his name were also represented, with the pearl earrings, iconic Chanel quilting and the camellia motif. Styled with grey hair, that in later years became synonymous with Karl’s look, and a headband reminiscent of the accessory that Coco Chanel herself re-popularised in the 1930s; every single detail was on theme, and above all, beautiful.
- Jeremy Pope
Usually the male guests at the Gala disappoint but this year Jeremy Pope gave us everything. Of course the star of the show was the 10 metre train constructed using 5,000 metres of silk chiffon, featuring a hand-drawn portrait of Lagerfeld. The impact that the cape made, as an example of the artisanship and commitment to excellence of ateliers was undeniable. Truly, breathtakingly, unforgettable. Still, the look under the cape held its ground too. The front of the cape was finished with a blazer style trim, both signalling that the cape was a reinterpretation of a suit and ensuring that it was a full look and not an afterthought. Paired with flared black trousers, the width of which perfectly balanced the volume of the cape. With an Cartier necklace the completed the Balmain look beautifully, it’s safe to say this look was perfectly thought out.
- Doja Cat
If we’re going to talk about pairing the theme of the exhibition with the drama and spectacle that we’ve grown to expect with the Met all while avoiding becoming too costumey, Doja Cat ticks every box. A tribute to Choupette, Lagerfeld’s pet that in 2011 he babysat for his friend Baptiste Giabiconi before falling in love and later adopting. Doja Cat fully committed to the theme of Choupette (who at times was also Largerfeld’s muse) but not only wearing bedazzled cat ears but also feline face aesthetics. All paired with a stunning custom Oscar de la Renta gown silver & white ombré beaded gown featuring a dramatic Chanel inspired ruffled train.
The dedication didn’t stop there – in interviews with red carpet host Emma Chamberlain, Doja Cat fully embodied Choupetter but meowing in response to all questions. Plus, added bonus points for the cat theme matching her stage name.
- Teyana Taylor
Teyana Taylor and Thome Browne are a consistent match made in heaven, and this time is no different. Expectations were high for Browne’s looks following his feature in Vogue’s May 2023 issue in tribute to Lagerfeld. Browne mentioned that he wanted to play with Chanel’s core fabrications while incorporating his love of deconstruction, and that is exactly what we see in Teyana Taylor’s look.
The dress has a monochrome tweed bodice featuring a white shirt colour and a black tie with a broach, low hip cut outs with laces on the shoulders and the sides of the full length skirt. Finished with a striped lining and styled with a mesh veil, dark sunglasses and a camellia backpack, representing both classic Chanel and Lagerfeld’s personal style.
While Thom Browne styled 11 celebrities in total, this by far is the best look.
- Bad Bunny
Both Bad Bunny and Jacquemus made their Met gala debut and with great success. Accompanied by the founder of the brand Simon Jacquemus; Bad Bunny wore a white tweed suit with a 26 foot long featuring three dimensional camellia flowers. While from the front this was an eye-catching moment especially considering the aforementioned astronomically low standards for men on red carpets, the real wow moment was the back of the blazer. Here we were presented with an entirely exposed cut out back complete with a dangling gold “J” to represent Jacquemus.
Simon Jacquemus accompanied Bad Bunny wearing a complementary look in black complete with the exposed back and hanging “J”, holding a single white camellia. This is the perfect debut for Jacquemus both the brand and the founder, who in an instagram caption shared both his respect for Lagerfeld as a designer but also that Lagerfeld was the first one to support him. Thus this pairing of both Chanel-esque tweed and camellia, with the “funness” in fashion that Lagerfeld encouraged with the “J”, that is also so Jacquemus. Just. Perfect.
Expectations are always high when it comes to our style queen Rihanna. While this is not the best look of the night, her best look or the most on theme, this is definitely the best interpretation of the “Chanel bride” theme. The over the top cape, paired with the simple gown, both featuring camellia and in white, perfectly fit the theme and the tribute to Lagerfeld. Also, the beauty is really in the details with this look – the styling featuring sunglasses with lashes on top of the lenses, constructing the cape with a hood, and the white fingerless gloves; this is in the top ten looks for these reasons alone.
7. Conan Gray
Yes, this is another man on my list, who would have thought? But I have to give credit where credit is due and Conan Gray understood the theme, stood out and didn’t just arrive in a caricature of Lagerfeld’s personal style. From the pearl encrusted blazer, the sparkly tweed that makes up the base, the fact that the blazer was deconstructed, the diamond etching in the leather pants mimicked quilting and the pearl brooch on the tie – the whole look is a stunning tribute.
This alone would make the look memorable and perfectly on theme, but it’s the pearl trimmed fan that pushes Gray’s look into the top 10. It’s a playful, extravagant yet classy way to pay homage to Lagerfeld’s fan that he was known to carry with him and was rumoured to have playfully hit Julien Macdonald with in 2010 when he was being difficult.
8. Yung Miami
The girls that debuted clearly want to come back next year and if there’s anyone that deserves a ticket it’s Yung Miami. For her debut she chose ACT N°1 to create a dress that honestly left me speechless. The gown starts with a structured tulle neckline that projects outwards from all angles taking the form of a camellia with Yung Miami’s face at the centre. The bodice then featured pearls layered to cascade in a pattern that flows with figures. Before flowing into a full sheer skirt trimmed with tulle ruffles. Honestly, everything.
9. Delfina Delettrez (neé Fendi)
Pop culture often forgets that Lagerfeld was not only creative director at Chanel but also artistic director of couture and womenswear Fendi at the time of his death in 2019. The Fendi sisters hired Lagerfeld in 1965 and in the same year he created the iconic FF monogram that inspired him to create Chanel’s CC monogram. Fendi’s current creative director (one of the original sister’s daughter) has also cited Lagerfeld as a mentor. Essentially, he was part of the family.
It should come as no surprise then that the third generation of Fendi paid spectacular tribute to someone who was likely more like a grandfather than simply an employee of the family business.
Delettrez (unsurprisingly) wore a Fendi full length backless gown with a high neck and thigh high slit. Now, just reading this it may sound boring but the embroidered print was in a word: iconic. Featuring a variety of sketches of Lagerfeld with his legendary sunglasses and stiff white collar alongside his muse Anna Piaggi; the look was a beautiful, understated and yet bold celebration of Lagerfeld legacy. The look was finished with a matching baguette bag which was designed by her mum Silvia Venturini Fendi who accompanied her on the night. The icing on the cake? The print was designed by Lagerfeld himself in 1988. Marvellous.
10. Nicole Kidman
Similar to Rihanna, this is neither Kidman’s best look or best of the night but this is the best in the vintage category. Pulling from the archives has become a way to signal social capital in the fashion industry due to the exclusive nature of both having access to the archives and then being able to wear the archival pieces.
What makes Kidman stand out from the crowd is that her gown is the same one she wore in her 2004 Chanel No.5 advert. The high budget advert shot by Baz Luhrmann featured a blush pink gown donned with ostrich feathers and dripping in sequins. Her choosing this gown is a great tribute to Lagerfeld and above all a great example of storytelling.