Explained: Fashion politics at the MET Gala 2021

The MET Gala returned on Monday evening after missing the 2020 edition. Fashion extravagance had several sartorial moments, but what stood out were the political positions of many participants.

The theme of the gala was “American Independence,” and interesting renditions ranged from the red and white American flag draped over a skirt to a dress with “Equal Rights for Women” imprinted on its train.

The AOC tax pitch

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her MET Gala debut in an off-the-shoulder white dress designed by Brother Vellies. On the back of the dress, in bold red letters, were the words “Tax the Rich”.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wears a “Tax The Rich” dress. (Photo Reuters)

AOC has been among the strongest progressive voices in the Democratic Party and the US House of Representatives, and has been a strong advocate for additional taxation to pay for the new green deal. The all-white dress had its own political message – it was an invocation of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

Some have called her a hypocrite, wearing designer attire while defending the cause of the poor; others praised her for taking her message to the gala of the rich and famous.

Queer pride on display

The MET Gala 2019 was a celebration of all things LGBTQ; this edition had “Camp” as the theme. The LGBTQIA + community also made its voice heard during this edition, wearing its sexuality on its sleeves.

Actor Dan Levy of the popular series Schitt’s Creek, which debuted at the MET Gala this year, wore a JW Anderson and Loewe look that was rooted in the works of LGBTQIA + activist David Wojnarovicz.

MET Gala, MET Gala Photos, MET Gala Policy, MET Gala Dresses, Best MET Gala Look, Indian Express Dan Levy and Megan Rapinoe (AP Pictures)

Soccer star Megan Rapinoe wore a bright red silk Sergio Hudson pantsuit, with a bright blue shirt with white stars. She also wore a pouch with the words “In Gay We Trust” printed on it.

MET Gala, MET Gala Photos, MET Gala Policy, MET Gala Dresses, Best MET Gala Look, Indian Express Kim Kardashian at the MET Gala. (AP Photo)

The confusing black of Kardashian

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian wore an all-black ensemble from luxury label Balanciega, which covered her from head to toe, with a black veil – an effort, apparently, to go “incognito”. A masked man accompanied her, identified as Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of Balenciaga. The look left the fashion fraternity in awe; many including actor Kareena Kapoor Khan questioned its very premise.

MET Gala, MET Gala Photos, MET Gala Policy, MET Gala Dresses, Best MET Gala Look, Indian Express Cara Delevingne and Carolyn B Maloney (AP Photos)

Message on women’s rights

Model actress Cara Delevingne wore a white Dior tank top with “Peg the Patriarchy” on it. “It’s about empowering women, gender equality – it’s kind of like ‘stick with the man’,” Delevingne said.

Congresswoman Carolyn B Maloney wore a dress with a cape-shaped train that read “Equal Rights for Women”. The outfit was a tribute to the equal rights amendment proposed since 1979, which would guarantee “legal equality of the sexes” for men and women. Maloney also carried a wallet with the words “ERA YES” – again invoking the equal rights amendment – on it.

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