Lined with photographers and fans, stars walk the elusive carpet outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the first Monday of May. This year, the theme of the Met Gala honored former Chanel Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld. Illustration by Alyson Sutherland
The stars attending the annual Met Gala, or “Met Ball,” hit the red (and blue and white) carpet on May 1—showcasing their fashionable selves for the whole world to judge. The gala is known to be one of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s biggest fundraisers, with ticket costs rumored to be $50,000 this year. Though star-studded award shows such as the Oscars attract fewer viewers per year, the Met Gala’s viewership has grown 121% in 2022, with Vogue magazine stating that it “clocked 200 million cross-platform views.” This year’s gala was no exception to sky-high viewership, as the stars made bold statements with the theme of this year’s event. The event’s co-chairs were Michaela Coel, Penélope Cruz, Roger Federer, and Dua Lipa. The costume institute’s new curation is titled Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty; so naturally, the dress code was “In Honor of Karl.”
Many may ask, “Who is Karl, anyway?” Karl Lagerfeld served as the creative director of the designer brand Chanel from 1983 until he passed away in 2019. Though Lagerfeld certainly made an impact in the designer industry, many fans of the event were displeased with the theme. Karl has been known to be fatphobic, famously telling Focus magazine, “No one wants to see curvy women” in 2009. He has made numerous comments about female celebrities, and appropriated sacred Muslim text in his designs, as well as many elements of Black American culture. He was also reported to have made statements against the #MeToo movement and gay marriage. In a 2006 interview with New York Magazine, he described himself as a “kind of fashion nymphomaniac who never gets an orgasm.” So take that as you please.
Actress Jameela Jamil made a post on her Instagram expressing frustration at the amount of people upholding Lagerfeld’s legacy. “Last night Hollywood and fashion said the quiet part out loud when a lot of famous feminists chose to celebrate at the highest level a man who was so publicly cruel to women, to fat people, to immigrants and to sexual assault survivors…”
What did I expect going into the Met? I knew very little of Lagerfeld, but alongside millions of viewers, I was ready to put on my critic hat and get going. A family friend texted me at 9 AM the morning of, wishing me a “Happy Met Gala Day,” which shows how qualified I am to write this article.
Lagerfeld’s background made me expectant of vintage looks, pearls, bows, and the dainty elegance the Chanel brand has grown to encapsulate. In reality, bronze, gems, tweed, and catsuits (honoring Lagerfeld’s beloved cat, Choupette) made the headlines. Below I will dive into my favorite and least favorite looks from the night. Be prepared for this journey.
5. Conan Gray in Balmain
Why exactly is Conan Gray in this spot? Frankly, I couldn’t tell you. Conan’s look was just good: on theme, and fashionable. He donned a tweed redingote jacket embroidered with pearls, a high ‘V’ neck tailor collar, accompanied by a pearl encrusted fan. Other looks I would include in this spot would be Elle Fanning in Vivienne Westwood, and Eddy Redmayne in Alexander McQueen. Nothing that truly made them THE BEST, but still better than most.
4. Dua Lipa in Chanel
Dua, who was a co-chair of this year’s Met, looked like she walked straight out of “The Princess Diaries” in a vintage 1992 Chanel tweed wedding ball gown. Her dress was perfectly on theme and encapsulated Karl within the branch of Chanel–effortlessly classy, as if she just threw it on. However, the $10 million Tiffany & Co necklace really elevated the whole look. Dua was the very first ever to wear the esteemed Lucida Star Necklace, and it was the perfect accessory.
3. Anne Hathaway in Versace
Anne Hathaway came to the Met for the first time in five years, and I’m oh so glad she did. Hathaway wore a white tweed gown pinned together with Versace signature gold pins, and cutouts Harper’s Bazaar deemed “sultry.” White platform pumps, matching tweed opera gloves, and a Bulgari diamond choker completed the look. Hathaway was recently named the face of Versace’s new campaign, Versace Icons, which works to honor ‘multi-faced and inspirational’ women.
2. Camilla Morrone in Rodarte
When Morrone’s look graced my screen, I immediately knew her dress would be one of my favorites. Although Morrone’s name didn’t immediately ring a bell, I eventually realized she was one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s many teenage girlfriends for a time. The Rodarte dress is simple but beautiful, with an angular lace top and a long black train. The look was styled alongside Fred Leighton jewelry and a Jennifer Behr bow: girly, yet elegant. Perfectly on theme.
1. Thom Browne
The New York City based designer had twelve looks which walked the carpet on Met night, nine of which were styled in my new favorite Instagram photo, posted by Browne. Yes, I know it’s not customary to put a designer’s full collection as number one, but Browne really snapped with the Met styling this year. Every design was custom-made to best fit each client’s personalities, with a touch of Lagerfeld throughout. Jenna Ortega was styled in a “Wednesday”-esque gothic look, with embroidered gold and pearl accents. Olivia Rodrigo wore a silk and tweed fringed dress, which definitely stretched my expectation of a ‘classic’ Thom Browne design. Teana Taylor had one of my favorite looks overall, wearing a Thom Browne double breasted jacket, and a dropped-waist skirt. Janelle Monae’s outfit brought a dramatic reveal, with a large, whimsical overcoat and a mesh-bubbled skirt accompanied by a sequined black bikini hidden underneath. Monae also wore a “Choupette” purse, and a wind-blown tie. South Korean model Sora Choi brought drama to the carpet as well, wearing a deconstructed Thom Browne overcoat dress.
Other enjoyable looks included Billie Eilish in Simone Rocha, Chi Ossé in Advisrry and Bad Bunny in Jacquemus. Well thought out, on-theme, and memorable. Now, for the most wretched looks of the night…
5. Olivia Wilde in Chloé
Olivia Wilde’s look mimicked one of Lagerfeld’s early designs. Not only was the look in the costume institute, but the editor in chief of Vogue China, Margaret Zhang wore the same design. Zhang’s look was black with a silver violin accent, while Wilde’s was white and gold-accented. Zhang paired the look with sunglasses and a stylish blue asymmetrical haircut. Wilde paired the look with a gold gladiator cuff that made her look outdated by a few thousand years.
4. Christina Ricci in Fendi
Oh Christina…It was her first Met in ten years and she should’ve made it eleven. An unflattering bodice, with a wide ‘V’ neckline, and an over-bustle train. Her bangs are huge, but that silver dress really caught my eye; and not in a good way.
3. Marion Cotillard in Chanel
Maybe I’m just a hater of the color silver. Cotillard walked the carpet with short pink hair, an overwhelmingly shiny dress, and a feather cape. It was strange, but certainly memorable.
2. Quinta Brunson in Prabul Gurung
I love to see the people I grew up watching on Buzzfeed succeed. Ms. Brunson’s look at the Met, however, was just bad. The fabric was too light, and the drapery made the gown look like a sweet 16 dress made in 2003. Personally, I think she just needs to hire a new stylist, because this look was one of many heinous crimes she committed this fashion season. Sorry Bryon (who I think is her stylist after I did a four-second Google search), you should probably try out another line of work.
Once again slamming a whole brand down for the number one spot. Or in this case, the very last spot. On a night of black and white, Burberry blue was not the way to go. The stars (mostly Brits) that donned the signature deep blue and rose pattern for the night looked as though they walked straight out of an ad campaign; and not a good one. Jodie Comer wore a dress that looked like a muppet. That’s all that needs to be said about that.
Stella McCartney’s designs also did not sit well with me, and I was thoroughly disappointed because Aubrey Plaza, dressed in McCartney, stole my heart years ago never to be returned. But this year Stella’s designs just seemed…off. Sadly, this isn’t unusual for McCartney’s brand. I feel as if she just throws a dart at the wall and chooses the most random things to pair together on a mannequin. Hate to say it Stella, but large cutouts, gemstones, silver tassels, and a giant bedazzled box jacket all at once don’t really match. Though Burberry had the cohesion that McCartney lacked, it was two bad things on opposite sides of the spectrum.
I also want to give a shout out to Alexa Chung’s look by Róisín Pierce, which looked like a bunch of wadded up Kleenex.
Overall, the Met was meh. Nothing too controversial made the headlines (remember Kim Kardashian’s Marilyn Monroe dress? Whew…) But Jared Leto showed up in a catsuit, Lil Nas X’s bare butt was out, and both him and Dua Lipa meowed all night. Cockroaches skittered up and down the carpet, which made me think: who chose WHITE for the carpet this year? Pregnancies (Karlie Kloss and Serena Williams) and new looks (Florence Pugh and Jessica Chastain) were announced, and the Kardashians showed up in just mediocre outfits. Sounds about right, but I still can’t wait to see the looks next year!