The 2022 Met Gala disappointed despite a promising theme
By Hialeah Bever
America’s Gilded Age embodied excess and luxury, defined by the immense economic inequality between rich and poor. This extravagant era was also the theme for the 2022 Met Gala and as always, they all missed the memo. From the endless gold dresses to every man wearing another black-and-white suit, the disappointment was on another level.
Expectations were high for this year’s Met Gala, as the Gilded Age spans from 1870 to the turn of the century. Plenty of different dresses and trends passed through the decades, all connected by the idea of excess, giving attendees multiple options. Each guest was encouraged to fit the theme of the Gilded Age while giving the outfit a modern twist or a touch of their own style.
The umbrella theme for the Met was “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” in which the exhibits showcased fashion throughout history. The keyword here being history.
Assuming guests followed the theme, many expected historically inspired dresses, and, thankfully, there were a couple of celebrities that did just that.
Billie Eilish stole the show with a bustle dress inspired by American painter John Singer Sargent’s 1885 portrait of Madame Paul Poirson. While Laura Harrier had a fan favorite look, surprisingly from H&M, that was accompanied by a vintage petticoat underneath. Both women were easily among the best dressed, taking the Gilded Age theme and giving it a dark, gothic edge.
As always, Blake Lively understood the assignment and arrived in a beautiful Versace gown. While bunched up, the dress mimicked a historically accurate large bustle only to unfold and reveal a greenish-blue train, reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty’s oxidation since the Gilded Age.
Meanwhile, Lizzo’s outfit incorporated a gothic Gilded Age style dress, her corset reaching the floor accompanied by a large, flowing robe that would’ve been worn over tea gowns. The singer also added extravagant gold accouterments and a matching gold flute.
Gold was a theme throughout the night’s ensembles but unlike Lizzo’s inclusion of historical silhouettes and inspiration, some seemed to only hear the “Gilded” part of the Gilded Age.
Rachel Brosnahan’s dress was pretty, but not luxurious enough for the Met Gala, and with no historical inspiration, her appearance was forgettable. In comparison, Precious Lee went with a similar metal shape but included the theme making her so much more memorable.
Riz Ahmed made an impressive statement with his simple outfit, representing all of the ancestors who worked for the wealthy during the Gilded Age. Without these workers, names like Rockefeller and Vanderbilt would have never been known, as immigrant labor was vital to the families’ businesses.
Some notable misses are Camila Cabello and Sebastian Stan, who were both dragged on the internet for their Met Gala looks. Cabello wore a sustainable gown, inspired by pollution from the Gilded Age, an interesting concept that became an ill-fitting prom dress. Stan wore a bright pink ensemble with seemingly no specific inspiration.
The irony of this specific Met Gala was apparent. The richest of the rich, wealthy public figures and celebrities, completely missed the luxury their monetary counterparts enjoyed during the Gilded Age.
In fact, the wealth gap is worse than it was in the late 1800s, with 18,000 families in the United States holding 10 percent of the country’s wealth, compared to the Gilded Age’s 9 percent. So it can be assumed that guests should’ve known how to dress for the theme, considering they had the money to do it.
Hialeah Bever is a junior.
This is her second year as a staff writer
for The Growl and her first as editor.