Explained: The politics of fashion at MET Gala 2021

The MET Gala returned on Monday evening after missing the 2020 edition. The fashion extravaganza had several sartorial moments, but what stood out was the political stances of many attendees.

The theme of the gala was ‘American Independence’, and interesting interpretations ranged from the red-and-white of the American flag draped as a skirt to a gown with ‘Equal Rights for Women’ printed on its train.

AOC’s taxation pitch

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her MET Gala debut in a white, off-shoulder, floor-sweeping gown designed by Brother Vellies. Emblazoned across the back of the gown, in bold red letters, were the words, “Tax the Rich”.

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

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

Some have called her hypocritical, wearing a designer outfit while championing the cause of the poor; others have lauded her for taking her message to the gala of the rich and famous.

Queer pride on display

The 2019 MET Gala was a celebration of everything LGBTQ; that edition had ‘Camp’ as its theme. The LGBTQIA+ community made their voices heard at this edition as well, wearing their sexuality on their sleeves.

The actor Dan Levy from the popular series Schitt’s Creek, who made his MET Gala debut this year, wore a JW Anderson and Loewe look that was rooted in the works of the LGBTQIA+ activist David Wojnarovicz.

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MET gala, MET gala pictures, MET gala politics, MET gala dresses, MET gala best appearance, Indian Express Dan Levy and Megan Rapinoe (AP Photos)

Soccer star Megan Rapinoe wore a Sergio Hudson pantsuit in bright red silk, with a bright blue shirt that had white stars. She also carried a clutch with the words ‘In Gay We Trust’ printed on it.

MET gala, MET gala pictures, MET gala politics, MET gala dresses, MET gala best appearance, Indian Express Kim Kardashian at the MET gala. (AP Photo)

Kardashian’s baffling black

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian wore an all-black ensemble from luxury brand Balanciega, which covered her top-to-toe, complete with a black veil — an effort, apparently, at going ‘incognito’. A masked man accompanied her, who was identified as Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of Balenciaga. The look has left the fashion fraternity baffled; many including actor Kareena Kapoor Khan questioned its very premise.

MET gala, MET gala pictures, MET gala politics, MET gala dresses, MET gala best appearance, Indian Express Cara Delevingne and Carolyn B Maloney (AP Photos)

Women’s rights message

Supermodel-actor Cara Delevingne wore a white Dior tank top with ‘Peg the Patriarchy’ on it. “It’s about women empowerment, gender equality — it’s a bit like, ‘stick it to the man’,” Delevingne said.

Congresswoman Carolyn B Maloney wore a gown with a cape-like train that had ‘Equal Rights for Women’ written on it. The outfit was her homage to the Equal Rights Amendment proposed since 1979, which would guarantee “legal gender equality” for men and women. Maloney also carried a clutch with the words “ERA YES” — again invoking the Equal Rights Amendment — on it.

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