The Met Gala Was Underwhelming But These Black Celebrities Ate

Photo: Arturo Holmes/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue.
It’s the most wonderful time of year: when fashion enthusiasts and critics come together to virtually discuss the moments we loved — and hated — at the Met Gala. This year marks the first time the event has fallen on the first Monday in May since the start of the pandemic and all of its usual pomp and circumstance was back in full force. But after all the anticipation, did the looks live up to the hype? The theme of the night was In America: An Analogy of Fashion’s Gilded Glamour which served as part two of last year's exhibition In America: The Lexicon of Fashion. While part one just barely captured the many facets of American culture,  this theme carved out a specific time period between 1870 and the early 1900s. 
Instantly, I thought of how Black people were in the thick of inequality during those times (with an exception of a few elite Black folks) and questioned how Black celebs would tackle the theme. Would they use this moment to educate viewers and shine a much-needed light on American history, or would they ignore the theme altogether, or not even show up? Last night, as I waited for the Black celebs to show up and show out, I hoped to see lots of ornamentation, extravagant puffed sleeves, corsets, and longed-boned bodices.
Unfortunately, that’s not what we got. Aside from a few standouts, this year's Met Gala felt mid and underwhelming. Part of the excitement was lost before the red carpet even started. Folks were tweeting their predictions and asking “who all gone be there?” Zendaya (who confirmed she wouldn’t be attending) was trending on Twitter along with Rihanna and Beyoncé. When none of our Holy Trio of The Met (Z, Rhi, Bey) showed up, we were left with disappointment. Plus, photos of what celebrities were wearing hit Twitter prior to the celebs hitting the red carpet and that really took away from the red-carpet reveal moment. Fashion editor Shelton Boyd-Griffith tweeted it best, “The hotel streams/pictures kill the fantasy.” 
The fantasy was dead on arrival and the looks weren’t serving as well as they have in the past. But there were some exceptions. Even though the bar was on the floor and 2022’s Met Gala was disappointing, these Black celebrities saved the show. Here’s who slayed:
Normani In Christian Siriano
Photo: Matt Baron/Shutterstock.
Normani’s abs stole the show as she wore a two-piece Christian Siriano gown. While speaking to host Lala Anthony she shouted out to her pilates instructor for the killer abs. The wild side singer broke a bit of the fashion rule by having her stomach on display but remained on theme. The decorated hat really sold the look.
Teyana Taylor In van Herpen
Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images.
Taylor stunned in her purple dress by Iris van Herpen. The multi-hyphenated queen gave “Gilded Glamour” a futuristic spin. The high shoulders really added to the overall look. It wasn’t completely on the theme but Taylor always plays by her own rules so we’ll let her have this.
Lizzo in Thom Browne
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue.
Lizzo didn’t come to play at all! The assignment was clearly understood as she wore a black silk gown and jacket by designer Thom Browne with intricate embroidery which took 22,000 hours to make. Lizzo told Unbothered “I love how the dress hugs my curves just right and I’m wearing [my] Yitty thong right now.”
Janelle Monae in Ralph Lauren
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.
Monae said on the carpet her gown was “gilded glamour from the future” and the sparkly gown and headpiece alone really stole the beginning of the night for us. It really gave 20th-century royalty.
Paloma Elsesser in Coach
Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images.
“Model Paloma Elsesser wore Coach and even though the moment was a bit safe we adored this corset and lace beading of the bottom half of her gown. Her dress represented the first layer of undergarment women of the Gilded Era would often put on first.
Alicia Keys in Ralph Lauren
Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images.
One thing Alicia Keys is going to do is make sure she represents New York City. The singer was dressed in Ralph Lauren wearing a cape with the NYC city skyline bejeweled onto the bottom half of her train. It wasn’t on theme or the right era (The Empire State building wasn’t even built yet) but we loved her long braid with sparkled discs that completed the outfit.
Cardi B in Atelier Versace
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.
The rapper stepped out looking like money in her atelier Versace gown. Cardi told Lala Anthony on the carpet, “A lot of fans don't get the theme because they think gilded is supposed to be like an era, but gilded is gold, it's regal.” Golden metal was actually stitched into the tulle fabric of the dress. 
Honorable mentions 
Other beautiful looks include Megan thee Stallion in Moschino, Tessa Thompson in Carolina Herrera, Jodie Turner-Smith in Gucci, and Gabrielle Union in Versace. Hopefully next year we will see more risk-takers and folks ready to give ‘Met Gala behavior’ as transwomen and creator Devin Halbal aka HalBaddie would say. The Met Gala is one of fashion's biggest nights, but if this year is any indication, it's starting to lose its umph and become predictable. Without our fave celebs and with the ones who do show up deciding to forgo the theme, the only thing that’s certain about the Met Gala is we’re going to be disappointed.

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