The Best Looks From The 2024 Met Gala (2024)

“I want to be gagging,” cried journalist Elaine Welteroth, while co-hosting E!’s coverage of the Met Gala. No, Ms. Welteroth wasn’t suddenly hungry for a tableside mishap, but rather expressing, in E!’s trademark way of savaging the English language (“Slay me down. Because she’s killing it.” “Now that’s what I call red carpet realness”) her exasperated desire to be all choked up by unexpected, drop-dead gorgeous.

Not that what she was watching was a whole lotta simplicity on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum. No, the gowns ascending the steps were splendiferously embroidered, beaded to squinting brightness, with trains as plentiful as pinstripes at Yankee Stadium. At times it seems as if most women attending the evening had cleaned out Manhattan’s 28th Street flower district armed with glue guns and safety pins. For the most part, it was an evening full of a helluva lot of very, very pretty. But, considering this year’s theme, there wasn’t a lot of spectacular drama.

Granted, the last few years have seen the ascending parade at the Met Gala veer sharply to outlandish costume, so that the event, however lucrative—it is a fundraiser, after all—had begun to resemble the world’s most elaborate clown show in response to themes like Camp and Heavenly Bodies.

This year’s theme, however, was elliptical and hard to target.

“Sleeping Beauties” and “The Garden of Time” form a bit of a non-sequitur since the first part refers to the Met’s trove of archived garments too fragile to wear. The second half references a short story by J.G. Ballard, whose dystopian stories are is as joyously glamorous as a famine, this one being about an aristocratic family hunkered down in their villa as a plebeian horde is approaching to take over their property. Their only defense is the magical flowers that surround their estate that can temporarily stop the passage of time. However, once the last flower is picked, the unwashed descend and take over.

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Not exactly cause for celebration. Except for Sarah Jessica Parker who admitted to putting on her glasses, it’s a safe bet almost few stepping out of a Cadillac Escalade bothered to read the allegory. Instead, their stylists took the word Garden and went “I got it! Florals!” As Miranda Priestly says in The Devil Wears Prada in a particularly withering Wintourian tone, “Florals. For spring. Groundbreaking.”

So, Kerry Washington in purple Oscar de la Renta, Lily Rose in pink Erdem, Ayo Edebri in multi-hued Loewe were among the many walking bouquets. Lovely but safe.

Other gowns were staggeringly elaborate. Co-host Jennifer Lopez’s starburst Schiaparelli resplendent with 2500 silver beads took 800 hours to craft. Gigi Hadid’s explosion of white, black and yellow blooms by Thom Browne was sheathed with nearly 3 million beads. But because these looks were more artisanal than conceptual; neither TV cameras nor social media postings could pick up the intricacy of this level of couture.

Happily, some attendees at least read the CliffsNotes and hit the mark. Elle Fanning’s resin Balmain gown made it appear as if she were wrapped in glass with two crystalline birds suspending the dress up on her shoulders.

Lana Del Ray was ominously trapped in netting, with thorns and thickets ascending her gown by Alexander McQueen’s new designer and creative director Sean McGirr.

Tyla’s Balmain gown was molded using three types of sand—so heavy she had to be carried up the steps, carrying an hourglass herself.

Nicole Kidman reached back in time to a dramatically sculpted black and white gown by Balenciaga in an homage to the landmark fashion photography of Richard Avedon.

Mindy Kaling may have scored the night’s most exceptionally captivating look, a towering halo-crested, intricately pleated rhapsodic floral cape by Indian designer Gouray Gupta.

Co-host Zendaya, the smartest woman in the room, scored not once, but twice, first in a startling fitted semi-sheer silhouette radiating peaco*ck hues by John Galliano, with her hair and makeup in the spirit of the designer’s recent welcome-back to the pantheon couture show for Margiela. Then she made a second trip up steps in a voluminous, sweeping black swan of a Givenchy gown from 1996 when the house designer was John Galliano.

Kim Kardashian, the most strategic woman in the room, looked her best-ever, in another brilliant but sporadically beaded and bejeweled Galliano creation that appeared in a state of glorious disarray with a flattering new head of platinum hair and appropriately dark roots. (Long championed by Ms. Wintour, a redeemed Galliano is proving again to be the best there is.) But what was with the grey librarian cardigan? Wasn’t exactly the right time to get cozy. Wardrobe malfunction (the knitwear never left her right breast)?

Demi Moore looked woeful.

The men tried hard. Normally, galas are not their night, but the last few years, thanks to the influence of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Bridgerton blurring gender lines, has seen the rise of spangled, colorful strutting male. Sebastian Sam sported a black jetted floral cape. Morgan Spector wore a scarlet jacket with floral appliques by Willy Chavarria. Co-host Chris Helmsworth was in a classic Tom Ford tux in cream, but his handsomeness is runway-stopping enough.

Jonathan Bailey’s Loewe tux featured an enormous flower where a tie used to be.

Colman Domingo was the most soigné male in a gloriously draped black and white suit and cape by Willy Chavarria.

Eddie Redmayne looked confused.

But the most mesmerizingly bizarre look of the evening belonged to someone nobody knew prior to last night. Young and handsome as a model Gustav Magnar Witzoe, appeared in a salmon pink beaded body suit, girded by a matching togalike skirt, topped by a sweeping shoulder spanning cape. So, who is Mr. Witzoe?

A Norwegian multibillionaire who has made his fortune in salmon fish farming. Now, if that doesn’t have you “gagging, I can’t imagine what does.

The Best Looks From The 2024 Met Gala (2024)

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