By Hayden Larkin
Once again, the Met Gala arrived: where fashion’s biggest stars come together to show off and fundraise large sums of money for The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and a night it was. The Met Gala has always always been known as a night for the elite of society to show how rich and “artistic” they are. In short, watching it makes you feel poor ‒ incredibly poor. In a lot of ways, the almost $300,000 it takes to rent a table plus the $30,000 per plate of food shows how fashion has more or less become a commodity rather than an art form, which is a shame. Obviously, in the way, the economy has been structured these brands and young designers need to make money to produce more projects, and the end goal of the event is well-intentioned, but still, the stench of pretentious generational wealth certainly reeks of of it.
It wasn’t all bad, just like the rest of you, I have a fascination with opulence and there were many fantastic looks. A lot of them were not on the “American” theme but they were good. Evan Mock’s Thom Browne look was fantastic channeling an almost old school Cold War-era nuclear panic thing with his mask and schoolboy-esque uniform. Pharell came through with a lovely custom Chanel leather two set, inspired by western wear. Rosalia in full Rick Owens was also great with the rose colored cowboy fringe and Lorde’s Native American inspired look with Bode was magnificent.
While these looks are great, and I love them probably just as much as you, it’s important to not become obsessed with the money aspect of it all. Yes, the gala is grand and large, and lots of money and time is put into it, but it feels like we now glorify the commodification of the art we love to platform these celebrities too heavily and praise them too much for being just rich, or for a few born rich. Don’t feel bad or worthless for not being able to afford a suit or dress that costs the same as a brand new Civic. That’s OK, expression is more important, and while we all have an obsession with money we should remember that. That is probably the worst part about the Met Gala and its elitism. Have a fascination with it, but don’t make it your identity. Society is teaching you to worship consumption and, while I do believe that a lot of these people truly do have the art front and center in their heads, it still instills in young and even working-class people that consuming expensive products makes you a better person, which simply isn’t true.
We should teach people that their worth isn’t defined by how gaudy you look or how expensive your handbag is, but value their empathy and their critical thinking and pursuits. It’s kind of a downer – the Met Gala is supposed to be fun – but it’s a recurring theme, and teens and young adults shouldn’t have to buy up every trend and feel left out because of this. Don’t let the TV tell you what to do or who to be.
What was your favorite look from the Met?
I think this is such a good thing to bring up, and I think highlights for me that the looks I find most interesting are those that are most expressive. You can admire the craftsmanship that goes into very expensive clothes (if indeed it does), but ultimately it’s the clothes that express ideas and the identity of their wearers that I find most appealing, not just at the Met Gala, but always.