When Fashion and Art Collide
The Met Gala, that most glamorous of meetings between the worlds of fashion and art, returned this year with a socially distanced but no less star-studded event. Benefiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, this year’s Met Gala once again featured the sort of outrageous glamour and gowns you always expect from the art world’s glitziest fundraisers.
Fashion and art have always enjoyed a close relationship. Really, each has influenced the other for about as long as humans have been wearing clothes and making art. And rarely is that connection clearer than at the Met Gala. These nine amazing looks from the Met Gala 2021 drew inspiration from some surprising works of art and artists.
Some Like It Hot
Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish usually shows up to the Met Gala looking like some sort of disgruntled mallrat. But this year, she turned heads in a look very much inspired by Andy Warhol’s favorite blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe.
Yearning to Be Free
The poet Amanda Gorman co-chaired this year’s Met Gala with actor Timothée Chalamet and tennis star Naomi Osaka. At first glance, Gorman’s ensemble doesn’t appear influenced by anything in particular. But her book-shaped handbag bore the phrase “Give me your tired.” Of course, that would be a reference to Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus,” enshrined on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Appropriate, given that this year’s gala is inspired by the Met Costume Institute’s exhibition In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.
George and Rosie
Speaking of which, Debbie Harry wowed onlookers with a revolutionary look. It was equal parts Washington Crossing the Delaware and, with that denim jacket, Rosie the Riveter.
And while we’re on the subject, what could be more American than American Gothic? Maybe it’s just us, but actress Rebecca Hall’s dress sure looked inspired by art’s most famous pitchfork-adjacent housewife.
Dan Levy, co-creator and star of Schitt’s Creek, attended his first Met Gala in a bright, bold look devoted to the late artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz. When you take a look at this work of art (which isn’t in the public domain, so we sadly can’t show it to you directly) the resemblance is immediately obvious.
Pièce de Résistance
Yara Shahidi, one of the stars of the sitcom Black-ish, wore a gown inspired by Josephine Baker. An American civil rights activist, Baker earned fame as an entertainer in France, where she aided the French Resistance in World War II.
So Wong It’s Right
And here’s another throwback to a pioneering actress. Gemma Chan paid homage to Anna May Wong. Rising to fame in the 1920s, Wong became Hollywood’s first Chinese-American movie star.
Jennifer Lopez teamed up with Ralph Lauren to rustle up an Old West-inspired ensemble, complete with cowboy hat. If this bronze cowpoke isn’t meant to evoke Frederic Remington’s The Bronco Buster, we’ll eat our hat.
And finally, the musician Grimes claims her armor-and-sword look was inspired by the new film adaptation of Dune. But let’s face it, it looks more like she came to the Met Gala dressed as the Met’s Arms & Armor collection.