The Met Gala is the biggest night of the year in American fashion and also the most eagerly awaited red carpet among the celebrity-watching set. In recent years, we think the interest in the Costume Institute’s annual fundraising gala has far outstripped the Oscars, the Grammys or any of the other star-filled prom nights. This year’s gala paid tribute to the legendary Karl Lagerfeld, which gave the attendees a wide range in their choices, because the late designer cast such a long shadow over the last half century of fashion. The efforts this year ranged from classic looks to outrageous costumes. Here are the 25 looks that thrilled or disappointed us the most.
Dua Lipa in Chanel
The “Sweetest Pie” singer and co-star of the upcoming Barbie movie served as one of the hosts of the night, and we confess that we found her look for the evening to be pretty but severely underwhelming. It’s a perfectly fine Lagerfeld design, but the obvious centerpiece of the look is that insane Tiffany pendant. We’re not opposed to some obnoxiously large jewels at the Met Gala, but we tend to think the fashion should be the real star of the night.
Nicole Kidman in Chanel
This dramatic gown, which she wore in a 2004 Chanel No. 5 film, is gorgeous of course, but we didn’t agree with the styling choices here. This is the kind of dress that calls for an up-do (which she happens to look great in) and those black sandals are too focus-pulling and heavy for such a floaty, dreamy gown.
Rita Ora and Taika Waititi
It’s rare for the male half of a celebrity couple to be the one wearing the more outrageous and adventurous fashion, but it’s not exactly surprising when that man is Taika Waititi, who has a long history of it. While we admire the attitude and personality of his outfit, we really don’t like the string of pearls or the slouchy pants. Her gown is fine, but it’s clear that the chain manicure is the focal point of her whole look. We’d love to know how she ate her dinner inside.
Ariana DeBose in Prabal Gurung
The Schmigadoon star stepped onto the red carpet in a really intriguing take on the classic fur-hood parka, but we don’t think the design was helped by rendering it in such an eye-searing yellow. And while we think the jewelry is gorgeous, it seems to us the style practically begs for hoops.
Bad Bunny in Jacquemus
Pardon us while we twirl our hair and sigh dreamily, but the grooming here is exquisite and the combination of a standard men’s suit and a dramatic trailing coat of roses–all in white–is so overwhelmingly romantic, combining femme and masculine elements in such a simple, straightforward way. We’re swooning here.
Michaela Coel in Schiaparelli
We know that “goddess” can be an overused term in the red carpet commentary biz, but there is literally no other word to describe this jaw-dropping Schiaparelli ensemble worn by the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star. This is the kind of look that could launch a religion.
Gisele Bündchen in Chanel
She hit that red carpet showing for all the world just why she’s a supermodel, working a post-divorce look we in the red carpet commenting biz like to call “F You Glam.” She looked amazing in a getup that might have come across bland or uninteresting on a less talented wearer.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade in Prada
Demonstrating the range of styles that comprised the Met Gala this year, these looks felt especially strong, declarative and powerful after several years of showing tremendous, life-altering support for their trans daughter Zaya and recently announcing their intention to leave Florida to allow her to life her fullest life. This feels like such a statement of unity by this glamorous power couple.
Olivia Wilde in Chloé
The star and director of Don’t Worry Darling wore an updated take on a classic vintage Chloé design by Lagerfeld, and it makes for a fine tribute, but we have to admit, the original shorter, black version framed the violin element much better. Somehow, this version makes it seem gimmicky.
Jessica Chastain in Gucci
If this were a drag queen, she would be named Karlina Lagerfeld. This is a fun, cute, glamorous spin on the classic Karl Lagerfeld uniform of black suit, black gloves, big black shades and dramatic white hair, pulled tight. Sure, you could call it a little costume-y, but we thought it was cute and she looks cool as hell.
Brian Tyree Henry in Karl Lagerfeld
The Causeway star seemed to be executing his own version of Karl cosplay in this menswear creation by the designer. It’s flamboyant, fabulous, and dramatic in exactly the way he liked and exactly the manner the Met Gala calls for.
Ice Spice in Balmain
We were pretty disappointed in this one, we’re sorry to say. The dress is fine enough, but fairly underwhelming for the Met Gala and it really doesn’t capture the energy and personality of the “Princess Diana” rapper. She’s worn her hair straight before, but we couldn’t help thinking the one thing that would have elevated this dress would have been her signature red afro.
Anne Hathaway in Atelier Versace
We could quibble about some of the details here, like the floral bust, but it’s a fabulously sexy, retro look designed to turn heads, while at the same time being a surprisingly smart hybrid of the iconic Versace safety pin dress and the iconic Chanel tweed.
Doja Cat in Oscar de la Renta
Jared Leto may have dominated the red carpet in a literal cat costume, but before he did, we were clapping our hands in glee at the “Get Into It (Yuh)” singer’s charming and witty tribute to Lagerfeld’s beloved fluffy white cat, Choupette. We think he would have loved it.
Kristen Stewart in Chanel
It’s giving queer punk drag king, and we are compelled to love it for that reason alone. Having said that, we wish the shoes were more substantial, and we don’t love the sheer panel in the shirt. The hair and makeup are hot.
Lizzo in Chanel
This was a lovely surprise, combining the kind of exuberance for which the “Special” singer is known, with a classic Chanel elegance, a retro style, and a sense of humor and wit.
Florence Pugh in Valentino
The star of the upcoming Dune: Part Two got her Princess Irulan cosplay on in this fantasy creation by Valentino. We adore how much she loves to play with fashion and celebrate herself. It’s infectious. The headpiece is dramatic and fun, but we think it could have benefitted from being a little shorter.
Jenna Ortega in Thom Browne
The Wednesday star delighted us in this Thom Browne look combining Goth, Flamenco, and Mexican design inspirations, rendered in the tweeds and pearls for which Chanel is known. It pays homage to Karl, to fashion, and even to Ortega’s already iconic Wednesday dance.
Anok Yai in Prabal Gurung
It almost doesn’t seem fair to rave about a model’s look on a red carpet, since no one is more adept at working any look than they are, but this Prabal Gurung creation is mesmerizing and she shows exactly how to display its unique qualities to full effect for the cameras. It couldn’t be a more perfect marriage of dress and wearer.
Kim Kardashian in Schiaparelli
The reality star and entrepreneur has a long history of eye-popping, sometimes controversial Met Gala looks and this year was no exception, although we have to admit to being underwhelmed by it. The draped beads, ornate choker, and white coat don’t feel like they belong together, and that corset is giving her Barbie waist, which is, admittedly, probably by design.
Jeremy Strong in Prada
Having watched him on the red carpet for the last few years, we think we have a handle on the Succession star’s style. He’s an intense, serious actor who uses fashion as both a form of personal and artistic expression, and also as something of a release valve. We adore this fun, chic, whimsical getup that is also clearly of the highest quality and best tailoring. Love the color story, the pinky ring, and the goofy pendant.
Kendall Jenner in Marc Jacobs
There are a confusing number of references here, from showgirl to circus performer to magician, which tends to give it the feel of a costume more than an outfit, but we’re surprised to find ourselves admitting that it’s a really appealing look and it suits her pretty much perfectly. Love those nosebleed-high boots, but we would have thought black sheer hose to be a better choice here.
Lil Nas X in Dior Homme
You will never be disappointed when Lil Nas X graces your red carpet. While we would never have guessed that this wild look came courtesy of Dior Homme, we think it’s kind of hilarious that the “Lost in the Citadel” singer convinced the classic menswear house to provide him with this sparkly, queer, uber-glam and very hot look. He’s bedazzled, and we are dazzled by it.
Billie Eilish in Simone Rocha
We think the dark sexiness of this look couldn’t be more perfect for her, but when you really pile on the textiles, embellishments, design, and styling elements and you render all of it in black, you can lose a lot of it. We think a little bit of editing would have helped here.
Pedro Pascal in Valentino
The star of The Mandalorian and The Last of Us re-affirmed his status as everyone’s favorite sexy daddy and looked pleased as punch to be showing off his legs in this really cute, sharp Valentino outfit. Love the combination of boots, socks and shorts, but it’s that stunner of a coat that ties it all together.
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