Fashion / Style

Young Stars Take Over the Met Gala — How Billie Eilish, Timothee Chalamet and Simone Biles Stole the Show

It's a Youthquake With a Glam Attitude — See What Everyone Wore

BY // 09.15.21

NEW YORK — There’s a changing of the guard at the Met Gala. Fashion’s biggest night has undergone significant modifications due to COVID and the inclusion of a new young crowd. This year’s edition (the Met Gala was canceled last year because of the pandemic) has been split into two  events — a more intimate gathering on Monday night and a get-together on the traditional first Monday in May, 2022, with a two part exhibition of fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This year’s Met Gala arrived with the Costume Institute exhibition, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion..” It’s quite a bit smaller than previous exhibitions, with around 100 looks from the 1940s to the present from an array of United States designers, ranging from Ralph Lauren and Carolina Herrera to Prabal Gurung and Christopher Rogers.

Other than Vogue‘s 71-year-old Anna Wintour, in a floral Oscar de la Renta gown to honor the deceased designer, and 60-year-old Tom Ford, there were precious few celebrities over 50. All four chairs — Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, Timothee Chalamet and Amanda Gorman — are 25 or under. And Instagram was the presenting sponsor. (Wintour was seen at the museum Monday afternoon touring the exhibit, where the restrooms were plastered with “No Smoking” signs to discourage guests from puffing away there as they did at the last Met Gala in 2019).

Many of the looks were tamer than the previous Met Gala, when the theme “Camp” led stars to dress outrageously, although Lil Nas X did his best Lady Gaga imitation. In an all-gold theme from Versace, he arrived in a regal velvet cape over a reflective suit of armour that was opened to reveal a crystal-studded catsuit.

Lil Nas at Met Gala
Lil Nas unveiled his Met Gala attire by Versace in three stages. Stage Two: A suit of armour. (Instagram: @lilnasx_)

There was an Old Hollywood glam attitude among many of the younger set. Eilish in an Oscar de la Renta peach gown with a fitted bodice and long tulle train channeled Marilyn Monroe while Megan Thee Stallion, in a light pink Coach gown, dubbed herself “Megan Monroe,” telling Vogue Livestream that she wanted to evoke “Hollywood glamour.”

Serena Williams chose a Gucci silver sequined pants suit with an oversized feathery cape, saying that it made her feel like a superhero. For her first-ever Met Gala, Houston gymnastics superstar Simone Biles wore a three-in-one outfit designed by Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk of Area. It consisted of an embellished skirt covered in Swarovski crystals and weighing 88 pounds. Including a minidress underneath and a glittering black catsuit decorated to look like a starry night sky. Biles, a brand partner of Athleta, attended as the company’s guest.

Jennifer Lopez gave it her western best in a brown gown by Ralph Lauren and a cowgirl hat.

Jennifer Lopez in Ralph Lauen at Met Gala
Jennifer Lopez wears Ralph Lauren gown with a plunging neckline, feathered trim, thigh-high slit, and cowgirl hat. She paired the look with metallic silver strappy stilettos from her DSW line. (instagram: jlo)

Since the dress code was “American Independence,” there was more of a political bent this go-around. Eilish only wore Oscar de la Renta to the ball after the company agreed to discontinue selling fur. Gorman wore an indigo Vera Wang gown and silver laurel crown, with an Edie Parker clutch emblazoned with the words, “Give Me Your Tired,” a reference to the poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ wore a “suffragette white” gown with tuxedo detailing and emblazoned with the phrase “Tax the Rich.” Her fellow New Yorker congresswoman Carolyn Maloney wore a gown in suffragette colors — green, white and violet – with two long panels that read “Equal rights for women” falling from her shoulders.

Debbie Harry nailed the theme in a tattered American flag full skirt and fitted denim top made from a pair of jeans by Zac Posen.

Osaka paid homage to her Japanese and Haitian heritage in a Louis Vuitton digital fish print fabric, exaggerated ruffle sleeves and a kimono-like red bow at the waist.

And Ciara’s sequined dress designed by Peter Dundas, paid tribute to her husband, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, with the team’s green colors and his number emblazoned on the front. The gown was inspired by the jersey dress Geoffrey Beane designed in the ’60s. She accessorized it with a football clutch and Wilson’s Super Bowl XLVIII ring.

What could be more American than that?

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