In the blink of an eye, or, the swish of a voluminous tulle train, another Met Gala has passed by, and left us with plenty to discuss and dissect. The 2022 Met Gala, the second to be held in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, took place on Monday, May 2, honouring the Met’s ‘In America: An Anthology of Fashion’ theme; guests were asked to adhere to a ‘Gilded Glamour’ dress code, with suit-wearing attendees instructed to don white-tie. Some took directly from the books of history, both fashion or otherwise, to inspire their looks.
Given the historic connotations of the theme (‘Gilded Glamour’ harks back to the Gilded Age of New York, a historically opulent period at the tail-end of the 19th century), many of the guests decided to base their looks off a prominent historic figure; take Sarah Jessica Parker, for example, who was inspired by the Gilded Age socialite Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley. Others gleaned inspiration from different historic periods; take Hailey Bieber, whose gown paid tribute to a 2002 runway look by Yves Saint Laurent, or Kim Kardashian West, who eschewed a regular homage and instead borrowed one of Marilyn Monroe’s most famous dresses for the occasion. Keep reading for every sartorial reference you missed from the outfits of attendees at the 2022 Met Gala.
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Blake Lively in Atelier Versace
One of the first to arrive at the ball, co-chair Lively dazzled in a textured Versace dress, with a bow that dropped down into a blue train while she was halfway up the Met steps. Lively revealed the latticed design on the front of the dress was inspired by the historic architecture of New York City, and that her crown was a homage to Lady Liberty. The shape was a nod to American designer Charles James, and the train featured an embroidered “celestial map” inspired by the 12 zodiac constellations on the ceiling of Grand Central Station.
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Kaia Gerber in Alexander McQueen
With a glistening silver custom Alexander McQueen dress and voluminous, wavy hair, Gen-Z supermodel Gerber’s look evoked historic noblewoman Lady Godiva, who is often the subject of historic artworks. It’s unclear whether this was a specific inspiration or just a coincidence, but fashion journalist Vanessa Friedman pointed out the similarities on her Twitter.
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Hailey Bieber in Saint Laurent
Ethereal was the perfect word to describe Hailey Bieber’s Met look; a satin halter neck gown with a feather-trimmed train by Saint Laurent, a brand she’s worked as an ambassador for. While the outfit befits the artistic eye of creative director Anthony Vaccarello, it’s also inspired by a vintage YSL dress—from spring/summer ’02 haute couture, to be exact, which was originally worn by Jerry Hall.
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Billie Eilish in Gucci
Once again exhibiting her love of corsetry after a much-documented flirtation with the garment in 2021 (who could forget the British Vogue cover that broke the internet), Billie Eilish wore a corseted Gucci dress made from recycled materials.
Instagram account @diet_prada pointed out that the look, and Eilish’s black hairstyle, bear striking similarities to an 1885 portrait by American painter John Singer Sargent. Definitely befits the ‘Gilded Age’.
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Kim Kardashian in Jean Louis
Each year, it becomes harder to imagine how Kim Kardashian West might surpass her Met ensemble from the year prior, but 2022’s outfit arguably took the cake.
After hinting at wearing a one-of-a-kind piece, the Skims mogul took to the red carpet in a Jean Louis vintage design from 1962—once owned and worn by Marilyn Monroe, when she infamously sang ‘Happy birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy in New York in May 1962. Kardashian later almost immediately changed into an exact replica of the gown so as not to damage the historic artefact.
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Bella Hadid in Burberry
Bella Hadid wore a leather corset by Burberry designer Riccardo Tisci, but her beauty look alone was equally striking. With plaited hair and a natural visage, Hadid’s beauty look harked back to Pre-Raphaelite artwork, an era where naturalism and subtlety were favoured over more excessive glamour.
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Emily Ratajkowski in vintage Atelier Versace
This year’s Met proved that the idea of ‘Gilded Glamour’ doesn’t need to only channel the tail-end of the 19th century. Emily Ratajkowski’s festive ensemble hailed from Atelier Versace’s spring/summer ’92 show, originally worn by ’90s super Yasmeen Ghauri on the runway.
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Cardi B in Versace
Another of the Met attendees to be clad in Versace’s iconic regalia, Cardi B was resplendent in a golden chain-link gown from the brand, which referenced the late Gianni Versace’s opulent collections from the early 1990s.
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Camila Mendes in Ami
Riverdale actress Camila Mendes’s Met Gala ensemble was imagined with historical accuracy in mind. Her hair directly referenced the popular ‘Gibson Girl’ style of the late-19th century (women who were perceived as the ideal of sophistication in Gilded Age New York), while Mendes also confirmed the dress referenced society matriarch Alice Claypoole Vanderbilt’s golden Electric Light Dress. It doesn’t get more historically accurate than that.
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Vanessa Hudgens in Moschino
Though Vanessa Hudgens’s Moschino dress was given a 21st-century edge through its sheer composition, the shoulders and length appeared to be directly inspired by Edwardian-era fashion.
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Austin Butler in Prada
Set to star as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic Elvis, actor Austin Butler visibly borrowed from the performer’s slick, modern suiting. It didn’t hurt that he attended on the arm of Priscilla Presley, the King of Rock and Roll’s former wife, who also wore Prada.
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Quannah Chasinghorse in Prabal Gurung
American model Quannah Chasinghorse was enchanting in a blue gown by Prabal Gurung, but it was her jewellery, designed by beadwork artist Lenise Omeasoo, that took centre stage, and paid homage to her Hän Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota heritage.
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Hamish Bowles in Ralph Lauren
Co-hosting on the red carpet, editor Hamish Bowles embodied modern American classicism in Ralph Lauren. However, his golden crown once belonged to Betsy Cushing Whitney, a famous American philanthropist, and saw Bowles embodying recent American history through fashion.
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Hillary Clinton in Altuzarra
Former Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was regal in a crimson satin gown by American designer Joseph Altuzarra.
Vogue US revealed that Clinton’s gown had the names of 60 influential American women underneath the hems, including activists Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman as well as former First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson.
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Kendall Jenner in Prada
After making her Prada runway debut at autumn/winter ’22/’23, Kendall Jenner wore a bespoke piece from the brand at the 2022 Met; a sheer camisole top and a large crinoline skirt, with bleached eyebrows adding further drama.
Though unconfirmed, the look bore striking similarities to Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2002 Oscars dress, a similarly gothic gown and top by Alexander McQueen.
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Emma Corrin in custom Miu Miu
Always one to take bold risks with fashion, Emma Corrin’s stylist, Harry Lambert, revealed that her custom-designed Miu Miu ensemble and top hat were inspired by New York socialite Evander Berry Wall, also known as ‘King of the Dudes’, who was a fixture of Gilded Era New York.
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Gigi Hadid in Versace
Though the red latex trousers and corset from Gigi Hadid’s outfit channelled the brand’s autumn/winter ’22/’23 collection, the inspirations ran deeper.
Versace revealed that the outfit presented a reinterpreted version of corseted fashion in the 1800s, the volume also drawing inspiration from the voluminous silhouettes of America’s late-19th century ‘Gilded Age’.
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Gabrielle Union in Versace
Versace additionally confirmed that Gabrielle Union’s ethereal look contained homages to history. The red flower on the front of the dress is a homage to the late Diahann Carroll, who was the first Black woman to win a Tony Award for Best Actress.
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Sarah Jessica Parker in Christopher John Rogers
Parker is a well-known stickler for adhering to the theme, and like several of her fellow attendees, chose to channel a historic figure from the Gilded Age.
Per the Instagram account of the designer behind the dress, Christopher John Rogers: “This look was inspired by an 1860’s ensemble by Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley—a prominent designer, seamstress, author, philanthropist and social activist active during the Gilded Age.”
This article was originally published on Vogue Australia.