The red carpet for the Met Gala 2021 was, in a word, beautiful. After the past year and a half, any kind of routine is welcome, including the spectacle of best-dressed celebrities coming at what some refer to as the Oscars of fashion.
Ranking the best style is, however, a difficult proposition: Every guest showed up in an outfit or look they so clearly felt their best in and one that adhered to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala-Benefit’s theme, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”—a tribute that couldn’t be more fitting at this moment.
“I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ responses to the social and political climate, particularly around issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity, and I’m just finding their work very, very self-reflective,”
Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in charge of the Costume Institute, told Vogue. “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance. I think young designers, in particular, are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”
So, while everyone killed the carpet in their own way, there were some guests whose looks kicked the glamour we associate with the Met gala up a couple of notches while giving us classic American style, both nostalgic and forward-thinking. Below, some standout looks from the Met gala 2021 red carpet.
As for whether any of these new looks earn a place on the Met Gala best dressed ever list? We’ll let you be the judge.
Biggest (and best) makeover of the night goes to the 19-year-old “Bad Guy” singer and gala co-chair, who swapped her signature baggy style for an off-shoulder peach tulle gown by Oscar de la Renta, complete with a massive train.
The singer finished off her look with a Marilyn Monroe-inspired ‘do, and cited Holiday Barbie (who was on her Christmas wish list every year growing up) as her inspiration.
What passes as high fashion on the year’s biggest red carpet in 2021? Ella Emhoff— who became an instant style star after President Biden’s inauguration in January — proved that a shimmery red bodysuit, shiny baggy trousers, and trainers (all matching, and all from Adidas by Stella McCartney) won’t just do, they’ll downright dazzle.
The Met Gala co-chair, heartthrob and all-around fashion MVP offered a lesson in monochromatic layering with his high-low mix: a white Haider Ackermann jacket and Cartier jewels teamed with sweatpants and Converse sneakers.
Our country’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate said she “leaned into the spirit of the Statue of Liberty” with her look. Dressed in a bright blue Vera Wang gown topped with a Jennifer Behr leaf crown and a book-shaped clutch bearing a line of poetry from the bottom of Lady Liberty (“Give me your tired”), she was an artful personification of the night’s theme.
Lil Nas X
Thrice as nice! The “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” crooner showed off not one, not two, but three golden Versace numbers on the carpet. After shedding his dramatic cape to reveal mirrored armor, Lil Nas stripped down further to a beaded bodysuit anchored by chunky black boots.
Plenty of Wild West-inspired looks popped up on the carpet, but Pharrell did it best in Chanel’s cowboy getup — designed by Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion-phile emphasized during an interview — complete with a bolo tie, gold-tipped boots, and his very Haute, very twinning wife, Helen Lasichanh.
Debuting a fresh pair of bangs (real or faux, we don’t know), America’s Hottest Girlfriend was the ultimate smokeshow in Dundas’ spliced, laced, slit-to-there red beaded gown. When asked what made her look “American fashion,” she simply replied, “because it’s on an American girl.” Sold.
Nothing’s more stylish than authenticity, and few prove this quite like the “Thinkin Bout You” singer. Given his inimitable influence in the fashion space, consider toting around a green robot baby the Next Big Thing.
All hail the seemingly ageless supermodel and her feathered headpiece by Harris Reed.
The Thom Browne-clad “SNL” star joked that he was dressed as a “slutty nun.” While his black midi dress and crisp white blazer hardly seem convent-appropriate, we are very here for this fun fashion moment.
The “Wild Side” hitmaker was the belle of the ball in this yellow Valentino gown.
From “My Fair Lady” to “My Bare Lady.” The catwalkers sparkly, sheer Givenchy look was inspired by none other than America’s most beloved fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn.
Last but never, ever least, the bad gal’s black Balenciaga beanie and matching ruffled overcoat were a study in an effortless red-carpet style that only Rihanna herself could pull off.