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Rotten Bananas: The Met Gala

In many ways, the Met Gala has become something of a show in and of itself: the world’s most famous actors, musicians, and celebrities always attend, the fashion and costuming are often the most talked about feature of the event, and unlike most film, the goal of the event is charity.

The event, sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is an annual fundraising gala dedicated to raising money for the Met’s Costume Institute, the fashion wing of the museum itself. The Costume Institute is the only wing of the museum that is expected to fund itself and so the gala is used as a way of killing two birds with one stone: the Costume Institute is funded, and the exhibit additionally gets to show off the theme of their season. This year’s theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” The Met Gala took place on Sept. 13, 2021.

So what happens at the Met Gala? The world’s rich and powerful, or at least those who care about fashion, get dressed up in the season’s most extravagant fashion by a variety of designers and they socialize. The charity part comes in the form of the plate cost: a whopping 35 thousand per dinner. The rest of the funding comes from donations from generous patrons. The Met Gala is also organized by those who will be in attendance with this year’s gala being organized by actor Timothee Chalamet, singer-songwriter Billie Eilish, poet Amanda Gorman, and athlete Naomi Osaka. The entertainment was provided by Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Bieber.

The most noteworthy feature of the Met Gala is obviously the lavish outfits that the attendees don to show off. The outfits are designed by a plethora of fashion companies including Ralph Lauren, Balenciaga, Altuzarra, Prada, Thom Browne, Luis Vuitton, Chanel, and others.

There were a couple of standouts from the evening for a variety of reasons. Recently out transgender actor Elliot Page attended in a suit inspired by Irish poet Oscar Wilde, known for his status as an openly gay man in the late 1800s. Page wore a green rose on their lapel to signify this connection. Olympian Simone Biles, who gained fame for both her incredible gymnastic skill and her deference to her own mental health at the Tokyo Olympics this year, attended the gala in a dress inspired by the roaring 20s complete with both sparkles and a train that required four assistants to carry in and around the gala. 

Singers Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello attended the gala in outfits that harken back to their first collaboration “Senorita” with Mendes wearing a steamy open shirt getup and Cabello wearing an outfit combining Latin and Jazz Age influences. Kim Kardashian made waves with an outfit that was ridiculed by some as looking like a Dementor from Harry Potter. However, the outfits at the Met Gala are often dramatic. 

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also attended the event in a white dress scrawled with the words, “Tax the Rich.” The dress, and her attendance, has already garnered her some controversy, although controversy is something she is accustomed to.

The pageantry of the Met Gala is a form of entertainment all its own. Digging into the interesting outfits can provide its own kind of fun and the evening’s creative charity might even help you spark your own creative side.

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