We Reviewed the Met Gala so You Didn’t Have To

Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian at this years Met Gala.

Getty Images

Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian at this year’s Met Gala.

The Met Gala is one of, if not the most prominent, exclusive, and iconic event in the fashion industry. Established in 1948, the event serves to fundraise for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. Only the most distinguished and wealthy celebrities are given “the golden ticket”, and the invite list is often a point of contention and conversation among the various corners of the internet. 


Due to COVID-19, the event was cancelled in 2020 and moved from the traditional “first Monday in May” to second Monday in September. 


The theme this year is In America: A Lexicon of Fashion-and very few followed it. Some attendees understood the assignment while others completely missed the mark. To be fair, there were many creative and meaningful uses of the theme, including versions of Old Hollywood, calls for social change, and literal representations of the American flag. On the other hand, when Megan Fox was asked why her lace up bodycon red dress followed the theme, she responded “because it’s on an American girl, that makes it American fashion.” 


As fun as the Met Gala is to follow, it is equally vital to preface and understand that the event is a stark reminder, especially this year, of the wealth, class, and racial disparities in America. Just outside the event, Black Lives Matter protesters were getting arrested while demanding to know why the New York Police Department (NYPD) was allotted $11 billion in resources that were not being provided to black and brown communities. Jameelah Nasheed writes, “Still, the most on-theme part of the evening was the fact that while the Gala’s powerful attendees — by way of fame, fortune, or job title — enjoyed their evening, something far different what was going on outside: a protest for racial and social justice, which resulted in some protesters being arrested by the police.”


We obviously cannot cover everyone (believe us, the list has been cut a lot). The following looks either left us in awe, in confusion, or in power.

Quannah Chasinghorse honoring her roots. (Getty Images)

Quannah Chasinghorse


Quannah Chasinghorse wore a Navajo based outfit. The indeginous 19-year old model and land protector honored her Indigenous ancestors with incredible Navajo jewelry and a gold gown, pants, and cape piece. She explained her outfit, and the following of the theme through an Instagram caption, saying “I did not celebrate American independence (nor will I ever), I celebrated my Indigenous bloodlines coursing through my veins as I hold so close and sacred to my heart because over and over again my people fought genocide and WE ARE STILL HERE!” In our opinion, Chasinghorse’s look was the most powerful of the evening, standing in truth, power, and defiance with her ancestors. We appreciate, respect, and thank Chasinghorse for her profound presence at the Gala.


Lili Reinhart’s floral dress added a pop of color (Getty Images)


Lili Reinhart 


Lili Reinhart’s Met Gala look was absolutely beautiful. The entire dress was a beautiful shade of light pink, including a mini silhouette that comprised the base of the look. However, the floral skirt that spilled off the back was the most stunning. Trying to remain on theme, the Riverdale star opted for the flowers of all 50 states. This was an interesting way to take her incredible dress and add an American component from the theme. She kept the rest of the look simple and stylish, with her classic middle part straight hair, and silver accessories. Lili Reinhart’s outfit was spectacular and very much her. 


Kendall Jenner’s Aubrey Hepburn-inspired stunner. (Getty Images)


Kendall Jenner


Kendall Jenner’s look was stunning. A transparent jewel gown look seemed to be a theme of the evening, but nobody pulled it off quite as well as the cool aunt of the Kardashian crew. The dress flattered the shape of her body, with a subtle but jaw dropping design. Mimicking Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, Jenner followed the theme through an Old Hollywood lens. The internet was split on this look because she has done it before. To explain, she has a theme of wearing fairly less detailed gowns that flatter her body without much experimentation. We believe her outfit was completely stunning and, despite the backlash, she showed up to the Met Gala and she ran the show.


Singer and songwriter, Camilla Cabello’s Met Gala look. (Getty Images)


Camilla Cabello


Camilla Cabello showed up in a glittery purple gown with furry lining. This was paired with purple heels and purple eyeshadow, all the same shade. This is like the cheap dress up clothing in my basement that has not been worn in 7 years. It is very difficult to pull off a colorful sequin look-and Camilla did not make the cut. This is not what we think of when we think Met Gala, nor is it what we think of when we think American fashion. Camilla’s look is on the bottom of our list for both style and theme.


A Met Gala regular’s not-so regular look. (Theo Wargo)


Kim Kardashian 


Of all people, Kim Kardashian is extremely well versed in wearing controversial, interpretive outfits. But she did still manage to surprise fans with her appearingly bizarre Met Gala look. She wore an all black Balenciaga ensemble, consisting of a gown, mask, train, and boots, leaving fans entirely divided. One fan wrote on Twitter: “The Met Gala red carpet isn’t an ordinary red carpet. It’s the ultimate in Avante Garde. It’s supposed to confuse you, shock you, awe you. It’s where fashion tests the limits of art. It’s supposed to be controversial. Kim Kardashian West understood the assignment.” Other critics claimed that her look was incredibly ugly, boring, and lacked any meaning or value. Personally, we do not know how to feel about it. Clearly, it is not the most visually attractive look of the night, so it is difficult to say that we love it. However, there are possible meanings that make it more significant. It is rumoured that the all black bodysuit is a reference to the celebrity sexualization and judgement found in America. Whether you hate or love this Met Gala outfit, she definitely made a statement. The real question is… was that really Kim K underneath this iconic Met Gala 2021 look? I guess we have to take her word for it. 


Olivia Rodrigo at her Met Gala debut. (Getty Images)


Olivia Rodrigo


Unpopular opinion but we are not fans. To put it frankly, it looks like something that would be worn on stage during a performance of Cats. The lace seemed too old-fashioned while the tight cut appears to be a bodysuit. Many across the internet are saying  it fits her ‘punk rock aesthetic.’ Olivia Rodrigo’s rise to fame has been an honor to witness and listen to, but the combination of the all black, shape, frill, and lace is not our personal preference for her Met Gala Debut.


Lupita Nyongo’s denim take on American fashion. (Getty Images)


Lupita Nyong’o


Ignoring a quintessential rule of fashion, Lupita Nyong’o wore denim on denim-and it absolutely worked. Following the American theme, Lupita Nyong’o wore a dress that honors one of the most iconic and timeless aspects of American fashion: blue denim. She heard the theme, met the brief, and executed in such a unique and creative way. In terms of the dress, we absolutely love the straight skirt style. The shape of the dress is really flattering to her body, but maintains some type of formality at the most prestigious fashion event. And, we love how the skirt essentially spills out of the bottom and ruffles at her waist, giving the dress so much volume and elegance. Not to mention that her hair, makeup, and accessories pulled everything together. Not only did Lupita Nyong’o’s dress stay on the theme in such a unique way, but her final look stunned at this year’s gala. It is one of our favorite looks of the evening. 


Gemma Chan’s gorgeous Met Gala look. (Theo Wargo)


Gemma Chan 


Gemma Chan stunned during her 2019 Met Gala debut and she came prepared for Met Gala 2021 with an insanely beautiful dress, and a powerful message to go along with it. She honored Hollywood’s first Chinese-American star, Anna May Wong, with a black sequined mini-dress, decorated with a white dragon. The look was completed with a pastel green ruffled train. She even wore her hair in a braided updo, a style previously worn by Wong. On Instagram Chan wrote, “Despite facing prejudice and stereotyping she fought back against the discrimination she faced in Hollywood,” wrote Chan on Instagram, “It’s a pretty sad situation to be rejected by Chinese because I’m ‘too American’ and by American producers because they prefer other races to act Chinese parts.” Chan is a vocal advocate against anti-Asian hate and used her Met Gala appearance to honor her culture. Gemma Chan’s Met Gala look was meaningful, but also absolutely sick, and for that, it joins the list of 2021 Gala favorites.


Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s controversial Met Gala dress. (Getty Images)


Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez


AOC’s look is arguably the most controversial look of the evening. Those all across the political spectrum argued that it is a plain contradiction to wear a dress that says Tax the Rich in a room with hundreds of the richest members of our societies. Others felt that even her being at the event where the admission had a $30,000 price tag showed that her challenging the wealth gap in society was a purely political move. To be honest, the stir on all spectrums of the political climate and on all ends of the internet, worked. The search phrase “Tax the Rich” surged on google after the Met Gala. Defending and explaining her look of the evening, the Congresswoman said “Surge in people looking up and discussing our f—ed up tax and how we fix it so we can fund childcare, healthcare, climate action and student loan forgiveness for all.”


Staten Island’s Pete Davidson at his Met Gala debut. (Getty Images)


Pete Davidson 


Pete Davidson’s Met Gala look can be characterized in many ways, but we found that he defined it best himself – “a sexy nun”. Whether the sexy nun image gave you throwbacks to Catholic school or extreme joy, (it’s Pete Davidson, why wouldn’t it?) Davidson pulled it off perfectly. He wore a white blazer and a long tunic dress, with black sunglasses and boots pulling the look together. Not only was it fashionable, but it was incredibly functionable according to Davidson (to GQ) “I’m excited for how easy it is to pee. You can literally just lift it up.” Still, there is a heartwarming story hidden that lies within the accessories. He dressed for the Met Gala two days after the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the death of his father, a firefighter, who lost his life on that devastating day. Davidson honored him through his choice of jewelry: He wore his father’s birthstone in an antique necklace and lapel pins. The black diamonds of the necklace revealed their red tint in the lights. The jewelry had a patriotic meaning and resonated with this year’s theme. Down to the details, Pete Davidson’s first Met Gala look was fashionable, meaningful, and very much on theme. We are big fans of the “sexy nun”.


Frank Ocean and his unconventional date to the Met Gala. (John Shearer/Wire Image)


Frank Ocean 


Justin Bieber came with Hailey Baldwin and ASAP came with Rihanna, but Frank Ocean came to the 2021 Met Gala with a slime green robot baby. Correction: a slime green robot baby with a galactic printed onesie named Cody. Some critics have questioned this fashion decision (if you could even call it that). But does it get more “Met Gala” than this? Disregarding Cody, Ocean wore a black suede suit and a hat embroidered with “Dreamcore”. It was a simple yet classy and effective look. Not to mention, his neon green hair color perfectly complemented and matched the robot baby. Although up for interpretation, Frank Ocean and Cody definitely made a one-of-a-kind fashion statement.


Ciara’s “sporty” Met gala look. (Getty Images)




Does it get more American than football? Ciara wore a sequined lime green jersey-dress, mimicking her husband’s weekly Sunday attire. Russell Wilson is a quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Topped with Russell’s superbowl ring and a bejeweled mini football in her hand, Ciara’s outfit was undeniably American. The sequins on the dress were small enough while the shape of the dress was tight enough that it did not feel like a dress up costume. Rather, it was elegant (as elegant a dress with a number on it can be). 


Nikkie de Jager wore a bold and beautiful look to the event. (Getty Images)


Nikkie de Jager


Makeup artist YouTuber Nikkie de Jager elegantly honored Marsha P Johnson in a tulle turquoise gown. Marsha P Johnson was a Black transgender icon who led in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. de Jager was armed with a crown, flowers, and a ribbon saying, “Pay it no mind.” That is how Johnson responded when asked about her gender. By honoring Johnson, Nikkie De Jager honors Black transgender women who have been and are mistreated and systemically oppressed citizens of America. She brought power and meaning to the evening.

Madison Beer’s 2021 Met look. (Getty Images)



Madison Beer


Not a fan. This is like a prom dress that would be posted in 2013 with an extreme Instagram filter. Something about the pinned back hair, shape of the dress, excessive amount of fabric, and large sequence lining creates an extremely unflattering look. It is quite disappointing. The dress diminishes her natural beauty. 


Kim Petras’ colorful, horse-resembling look (Getty Images)


Kim Petras 


The term “horse girl” has never found a more literal meaning than Kim Petras at the 2021 Met Gala. She came to the most prestigious fashion event dressed as a horse. She even used brilliant creativity to double her hair as the horse’s tail. And to add insult to injury, she brought a friend and they twinned in their horse attire. When someone makes their Met Gala debut in a giant horse’s face, there are many questions that arise. Lastly, as much as we dislike the outfit, Kim Petras’s fashion decision has to be somewhat respected for the following reason: she made lists for the iconic 2021 Met Gala outfits. Whether liked, disliked, or simply ridiculed, Kim Petras made a statement and name for herself at the event.


Billie Eilish’s elegant Marilyn Monroe gown. (Getty Images)


Billie Eilish


One may not consider wearing a ball gown to a high class event like the Met Gala a rare look, but the look was unique for Billie Eilish. Historically, Eilish has chosen oversized and monochromatic clothing-establishing that as her global image. But following this summer, and her released album, Billie Eilish has taken on a blonde new twist. “She was very interested in surprising everybody with a look she hasn’t done before,” says Fernando Garcia, a creative director for the label, to Vogue, “it felt like something that made her nervous in a good way.” With inspirations including Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly, Billie’s dress channelled this year’s theme through an interpretation of old American Hollywood. Our only criticism of Eilish’s look is that it is very monochromatic. Her hair and her dress is all the same color and it washes her out. With that being said her dress was stunning, and her courage to venture outside of her comfort zone made it even more sensational.


Dan Levy’s unique take on the American theme. (Getty Images)


Dan Levy


Dan Levy had the most creatively on-theme look of the evening. Levy worked with designer Jonathan Anderson to honor artist and Aids activist David Wojnarowicz. He donned a blue map background with two men kissing. The look was beautiful, fit the theme, and was as experimental as a Met Gala look should be. He described the inspiration behind his look saying “But rather than feed on the message of hate, we wanted to celebrate queer love and visibility – acknowledging how hard artists like Wojnarovicz had to fight, while also presenting the imagery in a way that offered a hopeful message…Tonight, we’re celebrating the resilience, the love, and the joy of the community while honoring a crucial American voice that was taken from us too soon.” Dan Levy’s look was on theme, meaningful, and very “Met Gala”.

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney’s strong Met Gala message. (Getty Images)


Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney


We never pass up an opportunity to discuss equal rights for women. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney chose one of the most American things to highlight: the fight for women’s equality. In the suffragette themed dress, she calls for the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Combining historic relevance with current legislation, the congresswoman nailed the theme and the message. 


This year’s Met Gala was full of stunning outfits, one of a kind debuts, strong messages, and definite surprises. It more than made up for any lack of celebrity content we had during the pandemic. And yet, the Black Lives Matter protests just outside remind us of the racial disparities in our country. The 2021 Met Gala is undoubtedly one to remember.