The Met Gala 2021: Highlights Only


Lupita Nyong’o embodying the theme in Versace.

Anna Jordan, Staff Writer

As a teenage girl that wears the same polo shirts and skirts five days a week, I am here to tell you which filthy rich outfits I loved after the disaster that was the 2021 Met Gala themed around “American Independence.” Like any other fashion display, it had its highs and lows, but it seems like the theme was just too vague for the attendees to decipher– not every gala can be 2018’s “Heavenly Bodies,” and yet a girl can dream. That being said, there were a few stand-out celebrities that brought their own unique spin on this year’s challenge, and don’t worry, I’ll tell you which ones. All photos from this article are from Vogue’s coverage of the event.

My personal favorite of the night regarding both thematic accuracy and execution has to be Lupita Nyong’o’ s Versace denim masterpiece. Both on-theme and a couture construction of art, her gown is a masterful and elegant approach to the durability of America’s textile history.

Ben Platt brings his best denim look in Christian Cowan. Photo location: Vogue

In the same spirit, I was a massive fan of Ben Platt’s approach to a beautifully tailored denim set by Christian Cowan. The white of the dress shirt with the brightness of the denim is gorgeous, and with his accessories and styling, this look is unforgettable.

Jennifer Lopez channels her inner cowgirl in Ralph Lauren.  Photo location: Vogue
Rosalía rocks some fringe in Rick Owens. Photo location: Vogue

Rosalía in Rick Owens and Jennifer Lopez in Ralph Lauren both took a Western-inspired approach with warm tones and classic cowboy sophistication, making themselves some of my automatic favorites of the night. In response to an American theme, fringe, furs, and leather are automatic A+’s in my book.

Several celebrities chose to pay homage to icons in American culture, such as Lourdes Leon as Cher, Keke Palmer as Diana Ross in Sergio Hudson, and Nikkie de Jager (aka NikkieTutorials) referencing activist Marsha P. Johnson. Each look took measures to stylishly portray their subject, and I think each woman succeeded in doing their inspirations justice.

Keke Palmer amazes as Diana Ross in Sergio Hudson. Photo location: Vogue
Lourdes Leon as Cher, despite her own mother being Madonna. Photo location: Vogue
Nikkie de Jager looks stunning while honoring Marsha P. Johnson. Photo location: Vogue

I loved the looks inspired by aspects of America’s identity, and I feel like these interpretations served the best performances. With Iman illustrating the ballroom craze of the golden era in a Dolce and Gabbana with Herris Reed contraption, it’s a look I find absolutely perfect for the Met Gala. Indigenous model Quannah Chasinghorse portraying the beauty of Native culture was stunning, and it’s safe to say I’m absolutely obsessed.

Quannah Chasinghorse poses in a chic tribute to indigenous fashion at the Met Gala. Photo location: Vogue
Iman looks golden in Dolce and Gabbana. Photo location: Vogue

Despite Ciara’s look not being my favorite, her interpretation makes sense and she still looks gorgeous in the dress’s cut. Barbie Ferreira’s Jonathan Simkhai masterpiece put everyone to shame and is a true feat of Met Gala history. Though Lili Reinhart’s Christian Siriano dress isn’t as clear an interpretation to the naked eye, the gorgeous and feminine bodice and train is covered with the 50 state flowers and is truly art in motion.

Barbie Ferreira looks as dapper as a flapper in Jonathan Simkhai. Photo location: Vogue
Ciara sports an homage to American football. Photo location: Vogue
Lili Reinhart poses in a spring-reminiscent Christian Siriano. Photo location: Vogue

Also, I won’t take any Pete Davidson or Timothée Chalamet slander. Their street looks are on theme and fantastic. The same goes for Ella Emhoff!

Ella Emhoff looks trendy and stylish in Adidas. Photo location: Vogue
Pete Davidson stands awkwardly while he sports streetwear at the Met. Photo location: Vogue
Timothée Chalamet in Haider Ackerman and Rick Owens with his polarizing Converse sneakers. Photo location: Vogue

Anok Yai, Megan Fox, Emily Blunt, and Finneas took some loose interpretations of the visual identity of America: the flag. All four of them killed it, and I’m always a sucker for a glittering and flowy dress.

Anok Yai looks like a star in Oscar de la Renta. Photo location: Vogue
Emily Blunt in Miu Miu, lighting up the Gala. Photo location: Vogue
Finneas looks red in the face in Givenchy. Photo location: Vogue
Troye Sivan in a gorgeous (albeit off-theme) look from Altu. Photo location: Vogue

There were a few people that looked amazing despite their looks being divergent from the theme (ahem, Troye Sivan, ahem), and it’s safe to say I will be counting the days until next year’s gala. I’ve heard quite a few hot takes, so feel free to kindly tell me if you agree or disagree: the spirit of the Met Gala is a celebration of fashion!