Oh Say, Can you Sew? Met Gala 2021 Goes American

The first Monday in May it is not; but the Met Gala has returned, and with it my on-theme opinions about who wore it best.

This year – well, last year, but let’s not dwell on pandemic angst – the theme of the slightly delayed Costume Institute’s exhibition and accompanying fundraising gala is In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, an exploration of fashion in the United States.

As is now standard at the Met Gala, some in attendance mastered the theme, some shoe-horned themselves into it, and some didn’t get the memo at all.

Those who did get the gist of Anna Wintour’s wishes came bearing ensembles that told stories of American fashion, whether the designer at hand was American or not. Others showcased American fashion proper, with varying results, and the third group came dressed for a party without much more to offer to the narrative than thousands of Swarovski crystals, but that’s something.

With deference to the kids who did their homework, here are my top picks for ’21:

Amanda Gorman in Vera Wang wanted to represent a “re-envisioned Statue of Liberty.”

Maisie Williams in bespoke Reuben Selby and Cartier jewelry was inspired by The Matrix, which is an American movie I guess, so ok.

Janet Mock also adopted a looser interpretation of In America, drawing inspiration from Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge in Valentino.

Iman, in Dolce and Gabbana x Harris Reed, probably would’ve won the night even if this jaw-dissolving look didn’t carry with it a perfect representation of the night’s theme. Reed is a British-American designer who, as his website states, fights “for the beauty of fluidity.”

Timothee Chalamet in Haider Ackerman, Rick Owens, and Converse called this an homage to Chuck Taylor. I gathered on Twitter that not everyone agrees with me, but like Iman, he’s mixed American designers and influences with international designers for a look I think is new, interesting, and on-theme.

Adam and Monica Mosseri went local with their interpretations of In America, with their neighboring San Franciscan designer Kamperett creating Monica’s dress and BODE New York, which works with vintage and antique fabrics, Adam’s Tux.

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