The Met Gala returned on Monday with a cohort of Gen-Z’s glitterati hosting the A-lister bash. Held annually in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, usually in early May, the Manhattan soiree was postponed to Monday with the hope that Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted. The gala’s 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic – but this year, a crowd of some 400 actors, athletes, poets and performers (all of whom were either vaccinated or had tested negative for Covid-19) made a splash on the red carpet. The charity ball was co-chaired by actor Timothee Chalamet, poet Amanda Gorman, singer Billie Eilish and tennis player Naomi Osaka – who looked almost unrecognisable in a colorful gown from Louis Vuitton that was inspired by her Japanese and Haitian roots.
Naomi Osaka’s custom corset dress with a ruffled cape and train grabbed eyeballs on the red carpet. According to Vogue, the print that covers the dress started as a digital watercolour artpiece by the 23-year-old tennis champ’s sister, Mari. The koi fish it features are a nod to their Japanese heritage. However, what really set Osaka apart was her hairstyle – she wore her it in a braided updo with two big sections flared out to the side.
“We drew inspiration from Haitian school girl style and Onna-Musha warriors of Japan,” said hairstylist Marty Harper, according to Bustle. Red flowers and stones completed the hairstyle.
Naomi Osaka was not the only one to look almost unrecognisable at the Met Gala 2021, an event famed for its over-the-top panache. One mysterious guest appeared head to toe in black — her face, mouth, eyes and head also covered, with only a long black ponytail visible, leading many to identify her as Kim Kardashian. The reality star walked the red carpet in a black Balenciaga gown with a matching mask and train that completely obscured her face.
Singer Billie Eilish looked totally different as she traded her typical bright colours and baggy clothes for a dreamy Oscar de la Renta gown. The 19-year-old attended the Met Gala in a nude tulle gown and Cartier jewellery, with her hair in a Marilyn Monroe-esque bob. “It was time for this,” she told Vogue livestream host Keke Palmer, adding that her look was inspired by a Barbie doll.
Canadian musician Grimes was one of the few wearing a face mask to the Manhattan soiree. She also carried a sword as she walked the red carpet in a sheer dress inspired by the yet-unreleased sci-fi film Dune. The sword, she said, was made from melted down Colt AR-15 A3 rifles. Talk about slaying the red carpet!
Meanwhile, most social media users agreed that actress Hailee Steinfeld looked “completely unrecognisable” after dyeing her hair. The 24-year-old went from brunette to blonde and bleached her eyebrows to match. She also chopped off a few inches for a much shorter hairdo, prompting one Twitter user to declare “I wouldn’t believe it was her, if it weren’t for her distinctive little beauty marks.”
The Met Gala heralded the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual sartorial exhibit, which this year will happen in two parts.
The first show, titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” is opening to the public September 18 to celebrate The Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary.
The second exhibit — “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” — will kick off May 5, 2022. Both will run until September 5 of that year.
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