The first Monday of every May is the Met Gala, fashion’s biggest day for the glamour and camp of the carpet. The 2022 theme was “Gilded Glamour and White Tie” and was part two of this year’s exhibition “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” The first half of the exhibition had been rescheduled to September 2021 because of the pandemic.
Fashion in the Gilded Age emphasized luxury as American wealth soared. Gowns of the time period featured bold colors, embellishments like feathers and jewels and textiles like satin and velvet. The fashion of the era was meant to embody extravagance as a means of showcasing financial success. The most successful looks on this year’s carpet emulated the elaborate design details that made gilded age fashion so powerful as a means of showing wealth.
With this year’s gala being both a glamorous theme and a celebration of life’s return to normal, the carpet was full of looks that wowed.
Blake Lively, co-host of this year’s Gala, stunned in a custom Versace gown with New York inspiration. Lively’s dress had art deco inspiration in the beading and a dramatic transformation on the carpet that changed her gown from a bold copper to seafoam green, a nod to Lady Liberty, who was dedicated in 1886 mid gilded age. The green train was embroidered with constellations, the same designs as those on the ceiling of Grand Central Station.
Billie Eilish wore an upcycled Gucci gown with a corseted bodice and lace glove sleeves in a sage green tone. She accessorized with large rings on almost every finger and a black velvet choker. Her look was gilded indeed, and had an air of historical accuracy, setting her apart from other looks on the carpet.
Emma Chamberlain donned a modern look by Louis Vuitton with some 19th century inspiration in her ruched top, while staying perfectly in tune with her personal style. Her Cartier jewelry made the look glimmer, and perfectly pulled everything together.
Cardi B wore a dress made of chain by Versace, featuring the company’s signature medallions. The dress was crafted from a mile of chain, and as the gold and jewels surrounded her, she was quite literally “dripping in finesse.” Her arms were also covered in chain, jewels and medallions as a nod to the Gilded Age through a modern yet regal take on the gloves commonly worn at the time.
Alicia Keys also decided to feature the architecture of the Gilded Age in her carpet look by Ralph Lauren, donning a cape embellished with the Manhattan skyline. Her cape was worn over a sequined bodycon dress.
Camila Mendes wore a gold fringe halter dress by Alexandre Mattiussi. The dress featured a bold cutout and was paired with a pair of sheer gloves with sequin cuffs. Her hair was in a voluminous updo with tendrils framing her face, a historically accurate style.
Lizzo’s gown featured a bold, modern take on Gilded fashion. Her look by Thom Browne featured a black dress with corset detailing — as would have been seen in the Gilded Age — worn under an embroidered floor length jacket; the gold embroidery oozed the wealth of the upper crust of America.
Sarah Jessica Parker wore a striking ballgown by designer Christopher John Rogers that featured white, gray and black gingham, and was inspired by a cape design from the 1860s. Her gown featured a huge 19th-century-influenced skirt, complete with a train and a corset style bodice with button detailing. Her look stylishly combined Gilded Age and white tie and was perfectly complemented by a hat with netting and bold pink feathers.
Vanessa Hudgens made jaws drop as she bared it all in a sheer gown by Moschino. The dress featured lace embroidery, puff sleeves and a high neckline. Her look was accented by a big diamond cuff and large earrings: a perfect modern take on a traditionally modest period.
Hailey Bieber perfectly combined her own classy, sleek style with gilded glamour in her dress by Saint Laurent. Her look featured a cream satin slip gown with a halter neck and high slit, worn under a cream satin duster with feather details. Her black pantyhose and stilettos juxtaposed the understated look, adding some modern edge. The ensemble perfectly captured her personal style, complete with her signature slicked bun.
Nicola Coughlan, Bridgerton star, would have been the talk of Lady Whistledown in her ballgown by Richard Quinn. Her black and pink gown with feathers and flower detailing wowed on the carpet, complete with a cape that added an extra layer of extravagance to the look.
The Met Gala and the gilded glamour of high society continued to shine through the fashion of the evening. The looks that charmed were the most extravagant, as the Met Gala is meant to be a campy event that pushes the boundaries of red carpet fashion.