Did you watch the 2021 Met Gala live? I did, for almost 4 hours… and it was THE Blackest, Queerest, most female empowered Met Gala EVER!
This year’s cochairs were Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman. Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour are the honorary chairs.
When it started in the 70s, the Met Ball or Gala as it’s now called, was about rich society ladies getting dressed up and being on the arm of mostly closeted gay men –that is until Cher showed up one year and it’s been changing ever since. Now it’s young, more inclusive and totally unpredictable, which I think makes for a LOT more fun.
Actress, singer and entrepreneur, Keke Palmer & writer, actress, and director Ilana Glaser were asked by Vogue to host the the only official livestream and it was a marathon. They both did their work but as the two explained at the end of the night, Glaser just gave birth so she had to take breaks to express milk for her newborn. So, the majority of the livestream was helmed by the exuberant Palmer greeting her pals and fan-girling over her faves. She was charming af.
After pausing the party for the pandemic in 2020, the theme this year is In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. “American Independence” is listed as the official dress code.
Palmer & Glaser asked nearly everyone what the theme meant to me and the responses were amazing. People often see someone’s look and say they didn’t “get” the theme, but if you don’t know them or their story, how do you know?
I watched intently as a cavalcade of stars, designers and icons were the physical embodiment of the theme for me; unbridled creativity, out front queer people, people of color being highlighted and female empowerment in subtle and overt forms. People showed up with their own sense of style and were inspired to radiate some positivity after all we’ve gone through in the last 18 months.
Whether I personally liked the looks or not took a back seat to hearing the stories of people attending and putting themselves out there for the first time in a while. It was pretty inspiring.
Some of the stars of the LGBTQ celeb community really grabbed the spotlight. Lil Nas X wore not one or two but THREE Versace looks featuring a cape, gold armor and a beaded bodysuit. Taking home the top VMA for video of the year the night before, in his acceptance he first thanked “the gay agenda” as tongue-in-cheek diss to the haters who are always accusing him of pushing just such a thing– so he’s embraced it.
Troy Sivan showed up in slinky long black tank dress, with cut-outs and a leather armband and as a gay Aussie, acknowledged Robert Mapplethorpe as an American he admired who inspired his look.
“When I think of America, especially New York, I think of chic, I think of black and white, I think of Robert Mapplethorpe and I think of leather.”
Shout-out to WOW co-founders, Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato for their genius doc on Mapplethorpe, Look at the Pictures.
Similarly, Canadian Dan Levy came in a much criticized Loew-designed look inspired by the late, gay artist David Wojnarowicz. Once again kids, it’s the story behind the look – another hat tip to Bailey & Barbato for making Wojnarowicz more known producing their recent documentary about his life, F*ck You F*gg*t F*cker, directed by Chris McKim.
Dear Evan Hanson star Ben Platt told pal Ilana Glaser that his idea of America was a “gay cowboy” so he’s giving us, denim, studded, 70s, Studio 54 realness. Glaser said she said she’s see him inside as they were at the same table and requested to be next to Platt, to which he replied,
“That’s SO nice. I feel a lot less nervous now…”
Out Olympian Megan Rapinoe summed up another overriding theme in a red, white and blue Sergio Hudson suit with a handbag that was emblazoned with crystals spelling out the message,
“In Gay We Trust”
Other highlights for me were two hoop skirts containing icons; Iman in and with non-binary designer Harris Reed in a show stopping outfit and Debbie Harry with and in Zac Posen in Americana see-thru, denim number. Harry said,
“I’m just the model…”
What a model!
Grimes wore her mask and talked to press with it on in a KILLER Iris van Herpen number complete with sword made from melted-down guns!
BTW, in case you are wondering WTF most everyone doing maskless, EVERYBODY attending or working the event was required to be double-vaxed, test negative for COVID 24 hours before the event AND wear their mask inside if not eating or drinking.
I could go on and on but if you’ve got a few hours to kill, watch the arrivals here and look at the pictures. I did close to 150 screen grabs that I’ll share. An edited version, below.