By popular demand, I present my thoughts on this year's Met Gala fashions. Longtime readers know all of my normal rules of decency and taste go flying out the window when it comes to the Met Gala. I want spectacle. I want drama. I want cojones. And most of all, I want respect for the theme because I love nothing more than a theme party and cannot abide people who think they're above theme dressing. YA AIN'T.
This year, the Met Gala is celebrating the debut of the Costume Institute's exhibition, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. The show explores the decorative elements associated with traditional garments of the Catholic church and the ways those traditions have influenced fashion designers. SO, that said, we're looking for looks that are bejeweled, bedazzled, Papal-inspired and worthy of a saint. Let's review, shall we?
Rihanna defended her territory as Queen of the Met Ball in this positively papal Maison Margiela pearl-encrusted ensemble. The detail and intricacy of the beadwork were the very height of custom couture, it was dead on the theme and cheeky as hell. Even daring to wear a papal mitre is ballsy and maybe courting a few lightning strikes, but let's be real: I think lightning would just bounce right off of her Fenty shimmer lotion.
Blake Lively came gunning for Rihanna's title in this voluminous Atelier Versace gown that required a PARTY BUS for transportation. The garnet red is so rich, the beadwork so beautiful that she truly looked like she stepped out of a Baroque painting. A++.
Kate Bosworth brought angelic glamour in this ethereal and dare I say, virginal, Oscar de la Renta gown. The veil was a beautiful accessorizing stroke of genius and her bright and pretty makeup sold the look.
Count on Sarah Jessica Parker to don the wackiest and most challenging head gear on the market with fearlessness and aplomb. I do think the flower alongside it is a bit much, but the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda gown itself — with its sacred hearts — is perfection. Her giddiness for theme dressing is infectious and makes me always want to reward her with my adulation.
Listen, if an occasion arose where it was completely acceptable to wear meticulously feathered angel wings and a Versace mini to a party, I would hope I'd seize that moment and never look back. This might be my favorite Met Gala look Katy Perry has ever worn, and I love imagining how incredibly annoying it was to walk around her/be around her/sit near her while she tried to navigate the room in these bad boys (I'm sure they were ditched instantly, but WHAT IF THEY WEREN'T?).
This marks the first time that I felt Kim K's hourglass frame and penchant for selling sex were used effectively. She looks like a modern-day Sophia Loren in this poured gold Versace gown studded with rhinestone crucifixes. I also appreciate how she managed to make the theme fit for her regular style.
I could not be more in love with the cotton candy cloud that is SZA's Versace gown. The accessorizing with matching boots and that heavenly halo headpiece are icing on the cake. She's someone I'm excited to see every time she hits an event.
Zendaya is here to give us all confusing romantic feelings for Joan of Arc and I'm not mad at it. The detail and attention paid to this entire Versace look warms my art history-lovin heart, from her iconic haircut to the armor draped over beading resembling chainmail. Who knew Joan of Arc could look so glamorous?
Gigi Hadid's Versace gown was inspired by stained glass windows, and looks like a beautiful watercolor lily. It's a classic look that would fit for ANY event, regardless of the theme, but also happens to present an unexpected and yet entirely appropriate reference to Catholic motifs. Versace clearly came to dominate this year!
Cardi B is in full Madonna mode, and I don't mean the pop singer. Her va va va voom Moschino by Jeremy Scott take on a Renaissance Madonna is regal, exciting and impressive for a relative fashion newcomer.
Chadwick Boseman brought some of that Black Panther royalty swag to the carpet in this fit-for-a-Pope ivory robe and suite combo, also by Versace because apparently they just spent their whole year working on this one event. A little bit Elvis, a little bit John Paul II, every bit a slam dunk.
I JUST FREAKING LOVE LENA WAITHE. Her outfit not only turns gay pride into a fashion statement, but still manages to call to mind Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. She's giving great face, too.
I love Ariana Grande's Sistine Chapel gown by Vera Wang dotted with cherubs, a fun take on the theme that most people didn't think about. It reminds me of the old Fiorucci logo! But I was a little on the fence about the big bow. It's a little bit little girl, and I think I'm ready to see a new look from her.
Emilia Clarke's Dolce & Gabbana gown, earrings and hair accessories are lovely and manage to stay on theme in a very modern, Italian way. The blush is a fun choice, but ultimately a little distracting.
I'm a sucker for anyone dripping in gold sequins and for that reason, I really enjoy Evan Rachel Wood's Altuzarra cape/gown combo. She looks like a phoenix rising from the flames!
Jennifer Lopez's Balmain dress almost looks like a costume for a Catholic superhero, like a Spider Woman for Catholics, but I'll allow it because she looks smokin' hot and it is on the nose.
Janelle Monae wore her signature black and white with a chainmail hood and a halo-turned-church crown and I couldn't have even imagined such an outfit, but I'm glad she and Marc Jacobs chose to share it with the world. Her fashion antics feel like the equivalent of Simone Biles' floor routines. Even with a high degree of difficulty, she sticks the landings.
This breathtaking gold drapey gown on Jasmine Sanders is by H&M, people. H&M!!! It's like a dress version of a chalice.
One of my favorite favorite favorite things about the Met is that I get to enjoy amazing fashion moments from surprising people, like this insanely regal and elegant Zac Posen ensemble on Lynda Carter, the original Wonder Woman. You could tell me she was the new queen of Genovia and I'd believe you completely.
Madonna basically wears some version of this Jean Paul Gaulthier ensemble to every Met Gala, but finally it was on the right night!!! The gown itself doesn't really do anything for me, but her bonkers veil and tiara combo are too crazy/fun to ignore.
Solange served up a modern take on the theme, with a supa dupa fly Iris Van Herpen gown fit for Catwoman and a radiating halo of beams topping a doo-rag. She marches to her own beat at all times and I love her for it.
Stella Maxwell (whoever that is) wore a Moschino gown that reminded me of a pop art take on decoupage in the best way. Her flowing flaxen locks lend a certain angelic quality to the simple (yet fun!) gown.
This was the rare occasion that Tracee Ellis Ross really channeled the vibes of her mom, Diana Ross, in a belted Michael Kors tank dress and voluminous pink cape, paired with a bouffant hairdo. Honestly, it's not an obvious fit for the theme and that annoys me a bit. But I couldn't be mad at it, and it's fun to see her dressed up like mom for a night.
Tracee's TV daughter Yara Shahidi also strayed a bit from the theme, but damn if this isn't one of the most swoonworthy Chanel gowns to come out of the workroom in a long time. The tiers of pleated tulle just make my heart sing, and it feels both demure and age appropriate while still displaying grace beyond her years. I think she'll be a major fashion player if her career continues on the upswing.
The Best/Worst category is reserved for someone who, in any normal circumstances, would be considered the worst but because of the occasion, their relative cojones and the fact their boldness can't be ignored, they're kinda the best. Jared Leto, dressed here basically as Vegas Wedding Chapel Jesus fits the bill. I appreciate any guy having fun with fashion, but this is a lot of look.
Cara Delevigne basically wore a Dior Haute Couture ode to leaded glass windows and little else. It's crazy, but I can appreciate a little mystery because I truly had to look up who this was.
On any other night, I'm not sure I could endorse Cynthia Erivo's royal purple velvet, barely there Valentino bandage dress paired with hair shaped into horns and rhinestone eyebrows. But you know what? It ain't boring, that's for damn sure. And that color is the kind of royal shade you wage wars over. Also, her nails featured Sistine Chapel motifs reimagined with black women (killing it). You do you, Cynthia!
Everyone was going gaga for event co-chair Amal Clooney's Richard Quinn corset-topped gown with pants, but it just wasn't doing anything for me. I think the fabric pattern is very pretty and she looks great and I know I'm supposed to go "Whoa! PANTS!" but I couldn't really muster up the emotion. But I'm not blind .... it is certainly more magnificent than most of what we see 364 other days of the year.
Emma Stone's Louis Vuitton look seems more fitting for a fashion event inspired by British constables than an ode to the Catholic church. I'm not getting what the big fashion statement is here, and I can't really imagine looking at all the options and saying, "Yes, this is the best look for today." It's not the worst. It's just not exciting.
Karlie Kloss's sexy cutout Brandon Maxwell dress is beautiful and really perfect for the SAG Awards or a perfume launch. For the Met Ball, it's a little blah.
Kendall Jenner was like, "I hear you on the theme thing, but Imma do me." Her Off-White jumpsuit is extremely elegant and beautiful, but it feels like something Celine Dion should be wearing in concert. I can't fault it too much because she does look so pretty, but where's the appetite for drama?!
Nicki Minaj looked more sinner than saint in this Oscar de la Renta sequin gown topped with layers of blood red ombre tulle. I think, generally, the volume and the heavy accessories overwhelm her petite frame. Also, red ombre never fails to make me think of menstruation, so there's that.
I mean, ok, this isn't boring. The Olsen twins opted to wear vintage Paco Rabanne, which is an inspired choice. Ashley's technicolor dreamcoat comes only in the colors of bodily functions, though. I'm giving Mary Kate the win here because her neckline is very elegant and pretty.
There's a papal vibe to the top part of Rooney Mara's Givenchy gown, but her general disdain for life makes the overall look hard to love.
Salma Hayek's pastoral motif on the custom Altuzarra gown is fitting for the theme, but I still can't understand why it seems like she's always getting sartorial sloppy seconds when she's married to a fashion titan whose company owns most of the major European fashion houses. What gives lady?! This just doesn't feel special enough to me.
Selena Gomez heard about the theme and was like, "Pass, I'm going to be wearing a Coach nightie with a train." She looks healthy and glowy though, so that's good.
Tessa Thompson's black Thom Browne ensemble, topped with an exaggerated plaid tweed, would be perfect for a Met Gala exploring hip hop style of the 90s. It's fine, but it's not memorable.
How do you solve a problem like Greta? Greta Gerwig came in a very literal take on a nun's robes by The Row that feels bordering on sacrilege. I guess every Catholic-themed ball needs a Mother Superior, right?
There's not really much to like about Bella Hadid's Chrome Hearts look. It doesn't feel particularly on-theme, the leather jacket looks like a beetle exoskeleton, the lace train looks kind of cheap. It overall gives me Dracula 2000 vibes.
Jennifer Connelly's Louis Vuitton feels very business on top and then Knights of the Round Table as your eye travels downward. I didn't see anything that thrilled me or felt inspiring about it.
Kate Moss, nooooooooo, not you! You're the last person I expect to show up so utterly boringly underdressed to the Met Gala. This very basic black mini by Saint Laurent is Bachelorette ready, but maybe not Met ball ready.
Miley Cyrus also opted for a snoozefest in this simple Stella McCartney. It's like the wrecking ball has swung a little too far right with her lately and she's still trying to find the middle ground between wacked out rave kid and demure princess.
Um what? No, pass. Riley Keough's Louis Vuitton is not Met Gala worthy. It's not even SAG awards worthy. It's like a Melrose Place-era blouse on top, tucked into a nightie haphazardly splattered with beads and sequins. I can't really imagine trying this on and saying, "We're done here, I've found it."
A lot of fashion mags were hailing Ruth Negga as one of the best dressed and they must be seeing something I'm not seeing, because this racing stripe Louis Vuitton is boring. It's kind of serving nun chic, so there's at least that.
Shailene Woodley came dressed as a cross between a Sexy Knight and some kind of Star Trek enemy like the Borg. The fit of the actual dress seems a little awkward, and she just generally looks stiff and uncomfortable. Also, those bangs are not a great fit for her face shape.
Part of the fun of dressing to a theme is walking the tightrope between clever and corny. Taylor Hill's Diane von Furstenberg papal robe is essentially a very literal Sexy Cassock costume and I rolled my eyes the minute I saw it. It's such an uninspired riff on the concept.
Man, look at these douche bags. Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen came as an evil poker player and his moll straight out of Casino Royale, if Casino Royale took place in Atlantic City. He looks like such a cheesy asshole in this Versace suit, I almost love it.
If there are two things that annoy me most when it comes to fashion it's: 1) lazy, boring design that relies almost entirely on 2) showing skin and saying "Look at me, I'm so daring." YAWN. I'm not impressed, Zoe Kravitz, with your ability to tie a black curtain around half your body that's literally holding on by two threads. This was "designed" by Saint Laurent, but has all the design of a last-minute toga party outfit. *insert eye roll emoji*