On May 2, stars eschewed the outrageous costumes of previous Met Galas and instead ranged from quiet elegance to full-blown drama on the steps of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The evening’s “Gilded Glamor and White Tie” dress code was interpreted in countless ways by attendees ranging from co-host Blake Lively to Cardi B, Maude Apatow, The Gilded Age‘s Louisa Jacobson — or the woman who sparked the gala’s biggest fashion and social media frenzy in what was the evening’s final red-carpet moment, Kim Kardashian, dressed in That Marilyn Monroe dress and mentored by Pete Davidson.
With this fundraiser for the museum’s Costume Institute around its latest exhibit, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” many guests chose looks that honor an Americana theme; others paid tribute to New York City, while still others channel the notion of “gilded glamour” in a literal sense. Perhaps most importantly, there were extremely few attendees in the over-the-top costumes that became headlines from past events, opting instead for looks that exuded drama without ever stepping outside of a fashion ideal.
Here’s a selection of high-wattage women who stood out on Monday night’s red, white and blue carpet.
Kim Kardashian in vintage Jean Louis
It was the final arrival of the evening and the one that has made the lion’s share of headlines: Kim Kardashian wore the vintage Jean Louis dress designed for Marilyn Monroe, who wore the icon to Madison Square Garden in 1962 to celebrate “Happy Birthday, Mr. president” to John F. Kennedy. In partnership with both Julien’s Auctions and Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the current owners of the dress, Kardashian wore the original sheer illusion dress, embellished with over 6,000 crystals, just for the walk with Pete Davidson up the museum steps, turning into a replica dress. when she was inside. On Instagram, Kardashian commented that she was “honoured” to wear the historic design, thanking Ripley’s and adding, “I am forever grateful for this moment.”
Michelle Yeoh in Prabal Gurung
The Everything Everywhere All at once star was a hit on the red carpet in a mint green dress of upcycled silk faal by Atelier Prabal Gurung, paired with a Richard Mille watch and jewelery including the beautiful Forest Valley necklace, also designed by Gurung for Tasaki, made from Akoya and South Sea pearls, diamonds, aquamarines, sapphires and tourmalines set in platinum. “To us, she’s everything we’ve looked up to and she always inspires us,” Gurung said of Yeoh on the red carpet.
Blake Lively at Atelier Versace
The Met Gala co-host was raving about her Atelier Versace gown before revealing the backstory on the red carpet. At the foot of the steps, a large arch in copper-colored satin was unfolded to reveal a train in copper green, embroidered and beaded to resemble the celestial map and zodiac constellations depicted on the ceiling of New York’s Grand Central Terminal; her Art Deco beads, meanwhile, were meant to evoke thoughts of the Empire State Building. As for the color change from bronze to verdigris, paired with Lively’s Lorraine Schwartz crown and earrings, the result was a tribute to Lady Liberty, she said. “It’s my tribute to New York icons,” Lively explained on the red carpet.
Janelle Monae in Ralph Lauren
The actress called her custom Ralph Lauren halter dress “gilded glamor for the future.” The design started with a hood and bib all embellished with crystal stripes and black sequins and descended to a fluted mermaid skirt embroidered and studded with over 36,000 jet black rhinestones. Monáe completed the look with the Domino Dots ring, made of black and white diamonds in 18-carat white gold, by Delfina Delettrez.
Cardi B at Atelier Versace
Twitter lit up like a house on fire when Cardi B arrived in her gold metallic Atelier Versace dress. Few looks reflected “gilded glamour” like Cardi B’s dress, which was also among the most intricate designs of the evening. Gold metal chains, bearing Versace’s signature Medusa and Greca symbols and totaling about a mile in length, were embroidered onto the sheer tulle dress, taking 1,300 hours to complete. Fingerless gloves are similarly made, while a hand-sculpted chain collar is intended to evoke images of a Victorian coat collar. On Instagram, the rapper and songwriter considered himself a “Versace trophy.”
Tessa Thompson in Carolina Herrera
The corset detail of Thompson’s frothy pink dress, a custom look by Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera, honored the evening’s Gilded Age theme, but the abundance of hand-pleated tulle in the tiered skirt was pure fantasy. Thompson paired the high-low dress with pearl and gold jewelry from Lady Gray and Delfina Delettrez.
Glenn Close in Valentino
For her first Met Gala, Glenn Close wore Valentino from head to toe, a custom look by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, who also accompanied the actress on the red carpet. The fuchsia ensemble included a voluminous embroidered cape, silk georgette shirt and trousers, complemented by a clutch bag and matching leather gloves, easily one of the hottest colors of the evening. “I feel free; I don’t feel like I’m being held back by the clothes,” Close said THR on the red carpet. “I feel that Pierpaolo has helped me to be who I am in an unusual situation, and I am very grateful for that.”
Alicia Keys in Ralph Lauren
Like Lively, Keys chose to honor New York architecture with her look, a tailored design by Ralph Lauren that combined a strapless column dress, embellished with 30,000 clear crystals and black lacquer sequins, worn under a bejeweled, embroidered cape. by Duchess Satin, detailing the New York skyline through the brilliance of over 200,000 crystals. Keys paired the look with vintage emerald and diamond jewelry in platinum, from the Tiffany & Co archives.
Dakota Johnson in Gucci
The Gucci contingent arrived on the red carpet together, with Dakota Johnson positioned between creative director Alessandro Michele and actor Jared Leto, twinning in perfectly matched suits with embroidered ivory silk flowers. Among that combination, the actress nevertheless stood out in a black sheer lace bodysuit, all-over embellished with metallic beaded fringe, worn with a velvet draped robe accentuated with crystal fringe. Earrings and a diamond fringe ring from the Messika high-jewelry collaboration with Kate Moss completed the look.
Louisa Jacobson in Schiaparelli
Casting HBOs The Gilded Age performed well on the Met Gala red carpet, from Christine Baranski in Thom Browne to Jacobson, who wore a long-sleeved dress from Daniel Roseberry’s spring/summer 2022 haute couture collection for Schiaparelli. Crafted from hand-pleated silk tulle with a black tulle flounce at the waist and hem, the dress also featured hand-painted gold leaf feathers and trompe-l’oeil molded leather skeletons, trimmed in 24K gold. David Webb’s Corkscrew Curl Earrings in 18K Gold completed the look.
Claire Danes in Lanvin
Lanvin was a label that lost its mojo when it parted ways with creative director Alber Elbaz in 2015 (the beloved designer died of COVID-19 in April 2021). But lately Lanvin is regaining some of his star power through his current creative director, Bruno Sialelli, and nowhere was that more apparent than the pale yellow dress seen on Claire Danes Monday night. Crafted from silk and Chantilly lace, including a luscious ruffled hem, the biased sleeveless dress moved beautifully on the red carpet. A caged veil in black and white diamonds completed the look.
Emma Stone at Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton’s strategy for its Met Gala guests was rooted in sustainability, with the house’s 14 guests wearing an archive or previously worn look. Stone chose the dress she wore to her 2020 wedding after-party, made of white silk and richly decorated with feathers around the hem. Silver Louis Vuitton pumps and pieces from the Louis Vuitton jewelry collection completed the look.
Rachel Brosnahan in Altuzarra
Another of the golden girls of the evening was The wonderful Mrs. Maisel star, who wore a custom dress by Joseph Altuzarra made of more than 25,000 gold metal sequins in various sizes, from tiny sequins along the straps to pieces that appeared larger like the palm of a hand around the seam and train of the fishtail -skirt. Manufactured entirely in New York, the dress weighed about 70 pounds, the house noted. Brosnahan completed the look with gold rings from Los Angeles-based designer Grace Lee.
Jodie Turner-Smith in Gucci
At Gucci from head to toe, Turner-Smith was more reminiscent of Josephine Baker than the Gilded Age, but the look worked for its unabashed glamour. The crystal rhinestone chain bra and fringed mini skirt were accentuated with a pleated open chiffon skirt in almond pink, while an assortment of Gucci high jewelry completed the look. “The inspiration was Busby Berkeley musicals, and I love them,” Turner-Smith said on the red carpet.
Maude Apatow in Miu Miu
The Euphoria co-star exuded old-world Hollywood glamor in her custom-made Miu Miu gown, made of black velvet and Chantilly lace embellished with black crystals and fringes. Apatow’s Cartier jewelry includes a 1939 vintage brooch in her hair and a diamond jewelry necklace set in platinum.
Teyana Taylor in Iris van Herpen
A few attendees opted for the futurism of Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, including Dove Cameron, Winnie Harlow and Swedish street style star Fredrik Robertsson, but Teyana Taylor nicely mixed Van Herpen’s artistry with a nod to the evening’s theme. Her tie-dye silk gown in gorgeous shades of violet nearly floated up the museum steps, but the showstopper of her look was the jewel-accented gold headpiece, made to resemble leaves and vines wrapped seductively around Taylor’s face, by the Bali established House of Malakai. The actress pronounced the look as ‘Gilded Galaxy’ on Instagram.