Met Gala 2022 Break Down


Lucia Howser

I’ve seen a lot of discourse about the 2022 Met gala, mostly bashing the outfits for “not fitting the theme” which is true in some cases, however it is evident that many people just don’t understand how fashion and the Met gala work. 

First of all, I think it’s important to discuss the purpose of the Met Gala. The Gala, which is typically held on the first Monday of May is actually a fundraiser for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Every year, the costume institute releases a new fashion exhibit that centers around a certain theme that coincides with the theme of the Gala. The real focus of the 2022 Gala was meant to be the designers and stylists behind each piece but that seems to have been completely overlooked. 

The theme for 2022 is a little bit more complicated than in times past. As I stated before, the Gala is supposed to be held on the first Monday of May, but because of covid-19, the 2020 Gala was canceled and subsequently, the 2021 gala was pushed back to September. Because the 21-22 Galas were so close together the Wendy Yu curator in charge, Andrew Bolton, decided to have a two part exhibit with the themes “In America: a lexicon of fashion” for part 1 and “In America: an anthology of fashion.”. Now, you may be wondering “What about the whole gilded glamor thing?” Gilded Glamor refers to the DRESS CODE (not the theme) which was White Tie Gilded Glamor. This seems to be the most common misconception because a lot of people don’t realize the difference between the two.

Another common misunderstanding is the Meaning behind the theme. White tie is basically the most formal dress code, a step up from black tie. White tie is pretty much what is expected for a ball so I don’t think that’s necessarily hard to understand. Gilded glamor seems to be what the mist confusion is about.  I think people are taking “gilded glamor” as “only wear gilded era styles”. Although wearing clothing directly inspired by the gilded age would absolutely fit the theme and dress code, it is NOT a necessity and you can absolutely interpret it in different ways. Vogue did release a bit of historical context with the dress code but that was really just a bit of background info on what it meant. The important part was the focus on the extravagant fashions, jewels, gold, and just overall wealth and innovation that was shown through the fashions of New York’s Gilded Age.. They even reference a ball where someone came dressed as a lightbulb. Mark Twain, who coined the term described it as an age of Industrialization, exuberant wealth, characterized by corruption “the Rich getting richer”. Add that to the theme of “In America: an Anthology of Fashion, you get a thousand different ways of interpretation spanning many eras and styles of clothing. 

This may be a little bit nit-picky however there’s another slight misbelief that keeps popping up and it really frustrates me. As much as I love Bridgerton, it is NOT set in the Gilded age. Bridgerton is set in the Regency era, much like Emma, Pride and Prejudice, or Sense and Sensibility. There are at least a good 50 years between the two eras. 

With the whole theme-dress code stuff in mind, I think we should take at two very different outfits that fit the theme and dress code of This Year’s Gala. 

David Harbor sported a very accurate, literal interpretation of the dress code. He stepped up the carpet in a Sleek Black tuxedo complete with a coattail, and top hat. He accessorized with a cigar and a shiny pin on his Label. It gave very much Classic Rockefeller, a 10/10 ranking. 

Blake Lively, who has never disappointed when it comes to Met Gala, arrived in a stunning but more liberal take of the theme. She wore gorgeous Ralph Lauren dresses that call back to the multiple architectural landmarks of New York for inspiration. Initially, she entered in a beautiful rose gold dress adorned with a large bow, as well as a crown and matching gloves, representing Manhattan architecture and the empire state building. Her rose gold bow was then untied to reveal a stunning blue and rose gold dress. Her gloves also transformed, taking the blue color. The crown and “new” dress color now symbolized the Statue of Liberty and the constellation décor of Grand Central Station.