Fashion doesn’t get more elite than the Met Gala, which lit up New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday in a burst of sequins, diamonds and sartorial elegance.
Founded in 1948 and taken over by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in 1995, the gala is a fundraising event for the museum’s Costume Institute. With the notoriously icy Wintour at the helm, the event has become ever more exclusive, with tickets that cost $35 000 (that’s nearly R550 000, gulp) per paying attendee.
This year’s “Gilded Glamour” dress code was a homage to the Gilded Age: a period of rapid prosperity, industrialisation and growth in the US during the last decades of the 1800s. But it was also a time of terrible poverty and inequality during which a high concentration of wealth became more visible as millions of impoverished immigrants poured into the United States.
Many found the theme distasteful, what with the US economy reeling thanks to the global pandemic and Russian war. “It’s too-on-the-nose for the Met Gala to have a ‘Gilded Age’ theme on the same day we know the US economy is contracting,” a Business Insider reporter tweeted.
But if attendees had objections, they kept quiet on the night and let their outfits do the talking. Our favourite reality star, Kim Kardashian, made headlines in the sheer dress originally worn by Marilyn Monroe when she famously sang happy birthday to President John F Kennedy in 1962. Kardashian worked her connections so she could wear this piece of history but yet again failed when it came to body positivity. The star boasted that she lost 7kg in three weeks to fit into the dress.
This isn’t the first time she’s come under fire for promoting unrealistic beauty standards. Her infamous 2019 Met Mugler “wet dress” corset affected her ability to breathe and go to the toilet. She’s also accepted money to promote “appetite suppressant” products on her highly influential Instagram account.
As Glamour puts it “reinforcing thinness at any cost… [is] an age-old tactic to distract, demoralise, and exterminate women and to profit off our insecurities.”
Might the world’s most exclusive fashion event ever make it to the 21st century? Stay tuned for next year…maybe the theme will be “Eat the rich”…