Gilded Glamour: Celebrities walk red carpet at 2022 Met Gala


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

Ketti Horton, Staff writer

The 2022 Met Gala theme was In America: An Anthology of Fashion, an homage to all things corsets, boning, feathers and large statement jewelry. It is the latter of a two-part exhibit, with its counterpart In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, which occurred in September 2021. The themes are meant to shine light on the history of American-based designers. In last year’s exhibition, many celebrities wore looks inspired by old Hollywood, with Kendall Jenner’s ode to Audrey Hepburn Givenchy crystal gown and Billie Eilish’s peach Oscar de la Renta gown. 

This year’s dress code was “Gilded Glamour,” referring to the “Gilded Age,” which was between 1870 and 1890. This was a time period just after the Civil War and just before the first stock market crash. Fashion thrived in this period because mass industrialization brought greater wealth to the already wealthy, so women spent large amounts of money on designer items to obtain the latest and greatest creations according to an article by CNN. This year’s Met Gala was meant for designers to emulate, replicate and use a lot of archived pieces to represent the intricate and almost architectural fashions of the Gilded Age. 

Some designers created fantastic pieces, some completely missed the theme altogether and some even took out old pieces from past collections that had that Gilded Age sparkle. Mainly we saw lots of gold, beading, pearls, corsets and bustles. All of these are integral to the Gilded Age fashions, but it is fun to see how modern day designers put their own image on it. Reviews are largely based on overall look, how theme-adjacent the outfit is and the meaning behind it.

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Look 1: Blake Lively

This gown was the epitome of “Gilded Glamour” and completely highlighted the theme. Versace custom made this piece for Lively, and Lively said that it is representative of her “one true love, besides her husband and her family:” New York City (NYC). Lively said in a video interview with Vogue Magazine the mid-carpet walk transformation from a beautiful copper gown to a copper beaded bodice with the most incredible green train was her ultimate NYC transformation 

“I arrived copper, and then like classic New York City architecture, I patinated,” Lively said. “This dress is an homage to New York City and so many of the classic iconic buildings.”

The bodice of the dress features detailing that is inspired by the Empire State Building and the green draping on the train and gloves represent the Statue of Liberty. The train also features the constellations seen at Grand Central Station. The most breathtaking piece of the whole look is her crown. It features seven spikes, just like the Statue of Liberty does, to represent the seven seas and the seven continents. Lively said this was to represent “welcomeness, inclusivity and freedom.” The crown also has 25 stones because of Lady Liberty’s 25 windows on her crown.

If there were to be a Met Gala winner, it would be Lively in her Versace masterpiece. This gown hits the nail on the head for the theme, as a result of NYC’s massive influx of industrialization and impact during the Gilded Age, according to Smithsonian Associates. Lively said she was able to include her own love of the city into this piece and truly loved what she was wearing. Between her passion for the gown and the incredible patinae she made on the carpet, there is no doubt this was the best look all night. 

Look 2: Normani

Singer-songwriter Normani wore a beautiful Christian Siriano two-piece look. It was extremely fitting of the theme, with the large puffed sleeves, layered skirt and side-pinned hat. The hat emphasized and modernized the 1875-inspired look. The juxtaposition between the dramatic sleeves and tight neckline, along with the open chest, made the outfit fun to look at and representative of something that could find home in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was definitely not a period-accurate piece, but stuck to the major fashions of the Gilded Age. In a video interview with E! News, Normani said she was nervous to be showing so much skin on fashion’s biggest night of the year. It really brings a modern sleek and sexy look, however, to this Sirano design.

Not only was she wearing a masterfully crafted outfit, she was completely on theme. As mentioned before, the hat was the ideal piece to complete the theme. It is so reminiscent of the 19th century, the Kentucky Derby and high tea. “Gilded Glamour” was completely seen here. 

Look 3: Regé-Jean Page

One would think Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page would have known how to impress. Page’s look, however, seemed to have fallen a bit flat. His suit was Armani, but the blue velvet blazer with regular pants simply did not stand out. The velvet seemed to portray more European fashion rather than American. His shirt underneath was certainly an interesting choice. The mid, almost turtleneck neckline was not flattering nor Gilded Age at all. Perhaps an added neck tie or bowtie would have pertained to the theme a bit more. While Page’s outfit was not completely up to “Gilded Glamour” standards, it is nothing at his fault. Celebrities who attend the Gala do not necessarily choose what they will be wearing. They are added to the guest list, and then a designer will choose them to create an outfit for and to show off the clothing. Therefore, a lot of bigger celebrities get more known fashion houses, because the pictures of their clothes are going to circulate much more than photos of B-list celebrities might. The custom brooch by Graziela was the saving grace of the outfit. It gave the 19th-century feel the rest of the outfit lacks.

Many men wore suits with a swallow-tail, cumberbunds, top hats and even canes. This is the proper “white tie” attire the Met Gala was expecting. While he still looked better than ever, we were all hoping to see a little bit more, Your Grace.