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Met Gala 2024 – Fashion’s Biggest Night

By Camila De La Cruz, Zoe Huang, and Katharine Monohan



It’s May and you know what that means.


Every year on the first Monday of May, the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds its annual Met Gala in Manhattan. A list of 200 or so A-list celebrities are invited to the prestigious fundraiser event annually.


But the Met Gala really needs no introduction, as it has established itself as ‘Fashion’s biggest night’. On the Met Gala red carpet, outfits become immortal as they are photographed and posted all over the internet in a matter of seconds. With an exclusive invite list approved by the one and only Anna Wintour and tickets costing 75,000 USD, you would expect each outfit to be a breathtaking work of art. 


But is that true for every outfit this year? 


Firstly, Did They Follow the Theme?

The theme for the 2024 Met Gala is "Garden of Time'', inspired by the short story J.G Ballad. It’s a bit broader than last year’s theme, which was all about a specific designer, the late Karl Lagerfeld (and of course his famous cat Choupette), so there's definitely more wiggle room here, as there are many ways for designers to interpret this theme. 


Additionally, the theme of the exhibition, which annually makes its debut at the Met Gala, was "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion". Some pieces in the exhibition are just too fragile to be handled or to be worn again, so they are put to sleep behind a glass case, like sleeping beauty. This isn’t the theme of the actual Met, but was a point of inspiration for some designers.


It’s important to note that although guests are heavily encouraged to follow the dress code, they technically don’t have to. A lot of guests are celebrities, and when you have a billion cameras willing to take a shot at every angle, it is natural that celebrities want to wear something they look good in, even if that means they may have to ditch the theme sometimes. In my opinion, the best outfits are not those that strictly follow the theme to the point they look like a Halloween costume, rather than a formal fit or outfits that could be used at any other red carpet event. The best outfits find the careful balance between the theme, creativity and glamour. 


And Now, the Outfits...

Zendaya


Credit: Teen Vogue


As a co-host of the event, Zendaya (as always) stole the day! Personally, I really love her outfit. It’s on theme as it includes so many elements of nature from the flower details and takes inspiration from a hummingbird. It’s extravagant, but also not overwhelming as the dark colours settle the details of the dress. I know we should be focusing on the dress, but can we talk about her makeup? It’s simple, yet it fits so well with the cool colours of the dress and suits Zendeya perfectly.


10/10 - This might be an unpopular opinion, but this outfit might be on the same level as her Joan of Arc costume.


Chris Hemsworth


Credit: Esquire


Let’s just get the boring men’s wear out of the way. This is a suit. That’s it. Other than that, there's not much room for creativity in this outfit.


I understand that as a co-host you would want to play it safe. But this is a bit too safe. Other than the beige colour, how does this suit even relate to the theme? Ok, he might want to play the role of Prince Charming for the exhibition of sleeping beauty, but that isn’t even the theme of the Met Gala. Another example of people confusing the two themes.


4/10 - This is the Met Gala, not a wedding by the beach.


Stray Kids


Credit: The Hollywood Reporter: From left to right: Bang Chan, Han, Felix, Seungmin, Hyunjin, I.N, Lee Know, Changbin. 


For the first time, a full K-pop group arrived at the Met Gala. As a stay since 2019, I was super excited to see them on the one and only Met Gala. Dressing up in the iconic colours of Tommy Hilfiger red, white and blue, each outfit differs to depict the different personalities of each member but still looks cohesive with each other.


The members entered the red carpet in similar blue coats before removing them to reveal their individual suits. Hilfiger included the theme by adding floral designs on the inside of the boys’ and Felix’s shirts, but I think they should’ve made odes to the theme a bit more obvious for the Met.


If I had to pick, I think Hyunjin’s outfit was the best of the eight. The shiny red outfit made him stand out. And as much as I love Chan and Channie's room (rip), I think the all-black was too basic for me.


7/10 - Yes, it was just suits, but it was suits in style.


Jennie


Credit: Billboard


I have to be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of this outfit. I don’t think the blue colour didn’t link well with the beige carpet behind her, but I appreciate the different take by focusing on the lake rather than the flowers.


But I didn’t really understand the two pieces. It’s something that she could wear at any other event but this (as always), she looks great.


7/10 - Her outfit last year was cuter, to be honest.


Cardi B


Credit: Vogue


Well, this definitely screams Cardi B.


In true Cardi style, she came on the red carpet calling for drama! Requiring an entire crew to assist her with the mammoth that is her dress, the rapper, dressed in Windowsen, arrived in an all-black dress with green accessories. Not a colour combo that I would draw to (it’s too reputation-coded for me), but the green doesn’t stand out too much. I’m not entirely sure how this dress links to the theme, but at least she showed her style a bit.


8/10 - Cardi B in her natural habitat.


Tyla


Credit: Vanity Fair


A Met Gala debut in style. One of the most interesting interpretations of them (although it is leaning towards the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ rather than ‘The Garden of Time’). The South African singer came in a custom Balmain outfit which was an extremely tight dress that she moulded to her figure to the millimetre. It was so tight in fact she had to be carried up the stairs, replicating the fragility of the pieces in the exhibition. Additionally, the outfit was made out of sand and micro-crystals with an hourglass shape, paying homage to the theme of time.


And for those who were wondering, no, the dress is now unwearable.


9/10 - Beauty is pain, right?


Gigi Hadid


Credit: Harper’s BAZAR


Unlike her sister, Gigi turned up to this year’s Met Gala. Her beautiful Thom Browne Met Gala look was ‘so detailed it belongs in a museum’, as stated by Vanity Fair. That’s exactly where her designer plans to store it, letting Vogue know that Hadid’s gown will reside in Browne’s permanent archive following the 2024 Met. I don’t disagree with this, the ruffles and floral patterns are simple, yet elegant. Visually representing a garden, it adheres to this year’s theme. Was it extraordinary? Jaw-dropping? memorable? Although the dress was gorgeous, I can’t exactly agree with this.


8/10 - stylish ruffles!


Dove Cameron


Credit: Getty Images


After making her debut at the Met in 2022, Dove Cameron has returned on the red carpet this year with a dress The Cosmopolitan describes as ‘perfection’. Dove’s breathtaking deconstructed floral gown designed by Diesel with a stylish ring from Brilliant Earth, and dynamic sleeves that flowed behind her. The pinks beautifully complemented the green and beige of the Met Gala venue in an ethereal way. As a lifelong fan of flora and all shades of pink, this dress was definitely very high on my favourites list. In fact, if I had her bank account, I would be wearing this to formal!


9/10 - A gorgeous splash of colour on the red carpet!


Kendall Jenner


Credit: Vogue


For the very first time, an archival dress from Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, 1999 was worn by Kendall Jenner to this year’s Met Gala. Before this, the show-stopping dress laid dormant on a mannequin for over two decades. The ornate collars, detailing on the shoulder, and delicate stitching on the dress caught my attention whilst the thread-like sleeves added more visual interest. Overall, one of her best Met Gala looks in my opinion.


9/10 - in contrast to her family’s show, this was an incredible outfit! 


Jennifer Lopez


Credit: Getty Images


Beginning from ‘The Block’, and now at the Met Gala, J.Lo appeared ‘On the Floor’ not dressed for the club but to shine on the red carpet dressed in a silver Schiaparelli Butterfly Gown and Tiffany & Co. jewellery. Acknowledging English teachers worldwide, she appeared showcasing a butterfly motif, adhering strongly to the ‘Garden of Time’ theme. Overall, a unique outfit paired with gorgeous champagne heels, twinning with the carpet.


8.5/10 - stunning dress, but the purse is slightly distracting. 


Alia Bhatt


Credit: Eagles Journal


Actress Alia Bhatt turned up at the Met Gala dressed in an eye-catching saree designed by Sabyasachi Mukherjee. Following the ‘Garden of Time’ theme, she exuded regality as she walked the red carpet for the second time in a row. The extravagantly long train followed her as she moved along the venue. Unlike Jennie’s navy outfit, Alia’s saree complimented the carpet and floral decorations perfectly. This was definitely an upgrade from her outfit last year, she went from stylish to enchanting!


9.5/10 - Uniquely breathtaking!


Ariana Grande


Credit: British Vogue


Dressed in an iridescent ensemble paired with a matching corset and custom Loewe and Lorraine Schwartz accessories, Ariana Grande definitely stood out at the Met Gala. The iridescent theme was strong, she even paired it with matching facial accessories. However, it was not the most unique or eye-catching outfit there, especially when Zendaya was also present on the floor. Overall, gorgeous fabric with a relatively standard silhouette, not exactly novel or impressive, but gorgeous nonetheless.


7.5/10 – Although her concert outfit will need to be a solid 9/10! 


Nicole Kidman + Keith Urban



Nicole Kidman’s dress is miles better than some of the other outfits worn at the 2024 Met Gala (looking at you, Michelle Yeoh). Side-on, her dress almost looks inspired by the yin and yang symbol, and its fluffy, floor-length train makes it look like a wedding dress. The dress itself is rather elegant, although simple. However, because of its simplicity, it is far from iconic.   However, her partner, Kieth, went for a more typical formal look. His outfit, although nice, lacks originality. He was definitely staying in his comfort zone.


Nicole Kidman: 7/10 - Quite elegant, but not iconic.


Keith Urban: 5/10 - sub-par, nothing special.


Katy Perry


Credit: Buzzfeed


Let’s get one thing straight. She did NOT attend the Met this year, the image you’re looking at is actually AI-generated, which may have fooled everyone on the internet, even Katy’s mum!


Credit: Buzzfeed


Regardless, this would’ve been a great outfit. I think it might be better than some of the real outfits worn on the night.


7.5/10 - if only it was real.


Who Else Didn't Go?

Taylor Swift - I know how disappointing this is for some of you, but realistically, Taylor had to continue her record-breaking Era’s tour that same week. I think she’s excused this year.


Billie Eilish - This was the most disappointing for me. Ever since her Met Gala debut in a Hollywood-inspired stunner of a dress in 2021, Billie has basically been my favourite at the Met each year.


Influencers - The Met has established itself as an extremely exclusive event, only available to A-list celebrities and members of high fashion. Adding influencers to the list may damage the Met’s prestigious reputation. That’s not to say that influencers are completely banned from the list. Emma Chamberlain, a former Youtuber, has frequently been invited to the Met.


What's the Verdict of the 2024 Met Gala?

This year was not a stand-out. For me, there wasn’t an outfit that I was super passionate about, unlike previous years like the 2018 'Heavenly Bodies' Met Gala, which had multiple standouts with outfits people still reference today.


I think people have stayed more on the theme than in previous years, but perhaps that’s because the theme was quite vague this year.


That’s not to say that it was all boring as there were certainly some interesting outfits and drama from this year’s Met.


But let's be honest here, 2018’s 'Heavenly Bodies' was still the peak of the Met Gala. 


Further Readings:

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