The Met Gala is done for another year and the biggest take to come from this year’s theme Gilded Glamour has been – why have a theme at all if no one is going to try and follow it? Yes Sebastian Stan, I’m thinking of you. The red carpet event has become an extravagant parade that should, in theory, celebrate the creativity of designers and artists whose medium is fabric.
Of course, the interpretation of the theme Gilded Glamour and White Tie – specifically the turn of the 20th century and an era of enormous progress and prosperity in America – also required some thought: the evolution of American style. Gilded Glamour was the pithy term given to the deeper exploration called “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” a follow up to 2021’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” (Is anyone else getting Drop Dead Gorgeous or is that just me?)
White tie for men is fairly straight forward – it’s the most formal of attire and involves a black jacket or coat with tails and matching pants for men. But this is the Met Gala. Don’t deliver the most basic example, rather elaborate on it. Give it a bit of jazz, the music of the era that inspired the concept.
Those who got the concept right were not the usual suspects to the event. Joe Jonas, in Louis Vuitton, gave a modern twist to the white tie theme with a tail made of lace attached to a white dinner jacket over an embroidered shirt. Film executive Franklin Leonard adopted the traditional bustle from womenswear and had that adapted to his own dinner jacket.
American designer Thom Browne – and the skirts of Thom Browne – were perhaps the most common trend (aside from actual white tie) and as a significant archeology of both tailoring and American designers they worked. A bit steampunk in some ways but they worked.
But as far as best on ground is concerned, it’s an eclectic top three: Ambulance star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who also wore Thom Browne but rather than a skirt, adapted the white tie policy into something that was both subversively modern and classic. Gold accents, both on the suit and on Abdul-Mateen II, carried the suit over the gap from good to great.
British star Riz Ahmed wore a stylised concept of workwear – a sharp jab at the indulgence of the theme and reminder that this period was also built off the backs of immigrant labourers. Created by American brand 4Designs, the finished product deliberately broke the convention in the best possible way.
Last but not least, Emma Corrin. Known for red carpet and fashion choices that are unusual at best, the star of The Crown did not disappoint. Not only was her look rooted in history, it was the perfect play on gender stereotypes. Inspired by the original meaning of the term dude (a foppish man), Corrin arrived as a modern King of Dudes, New York socialite Evander Berry Wall who was famous for his sense of style. An American Beau Brummell if you will. Brava.