fbpx
Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Met Gala: When Art Meets High Fashion on the Beige Carpet (2021 Update!)

Celestial Hierarchy II, 2018, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.

Fashion

Met Gala: When Art Meets High Fashion on the Beige Carpet (2021 Update!)

You only need type “Fashion” into the search bar on DailyArt Magazine and you will be met with numerous articles on the topic ranging from how fashion and art intersect, to the sculpture-like dresses of various designers. Furthermore, our writers have attempted to answer the age-old question of whether or not fashion is indeed a form of art. I think we all agree on the answer: YES. In that same line of thought, let’s check out how fashion designers and their creations mirror art throughout history. There is a place where fashion literally meets art, it is the famous Met Gala!

Met Gala: A Walking Art Gallery

Outside of the numerous annual fashion weeks across the globe, one event that draws international attention is the The Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s yearly Met Gala. It is a fashion event mixed with a fundraiser for the Met’s Costume Institute. Here are several examples of the amazing designs over the years compared to correlating art works.

Vintage fashion design plate from the Met's Costume Institute collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA. Detail.
Vintage fashion design plate from the Met’s Costume Institute collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA. Detail.

It began in 1948 under the direction of fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert. Though it started as a more intimate occasion, it has now turned into one of the fashion world’s most sought-after invitations. Vogue’s Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour, took over running the event in 1995. She moved it to the first Monday in May and made it what it is today, the fashion event of the season.

September 2021 Met Gala

Following on the heels of New York Fashion Week and the MTV Video Music Awards, the 2021 Met Gala served to add to a an already whirlwind week of spectacular fashion. The gala, one of two planned for this particular exhibition of fashion at the Met, showcased one certain aspect of America: the mixing of styles and cultures. This is evident in Naomi Osaka’s whole look from the Gala: the tennis star combined parts of both her Japanese and Haitian cultures.

Naomi Osaka in Louis Vuitton, Met Gala 2021, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.
Naomi Osaka in Louis Vuitton, Met Gala 2021, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.

It is always exciting to see how the guests interpret each year’s theme. This year was no different, in that while many took the theme quite literally, others picked and chose what aspects of the American theme to display for the evening. Homages were made to Cher, to Grace Kelly, to Country music, to overall moments of fashion throughout history, and even the Statue of Liberty.

Timothée Chalamet and JR in the Frick Collection, Met Gala 2021, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Julian Ungano.
Timothée Chalamet and JR in the Frick Collection, Met Gala 2021, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Julian Ungano.

Timothée Chalamet and French artist JR started the evening with an Instagram Live tour through the Frick Collection before Chalamet walked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to co-host the Met Gala with a tennis player Naomi Osaka, musician Billie Eilish, and Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman.

Dan Levy

Dan Levy’s one of a kind piece was a major fashion and artistic moment of the evening. He pulled out all the stops for his Met Gala debut. Maps of the United States covered the ensemble, complete with puffy sleeves, flowers, a collared shirt, and an embroidered image of two shirtless men kissing.

Dan Levy in Loewe's Jonathan Anderson and Cartier, Met Gala 2021, New York, NY, USA.
Dan Levy in Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson and Cartier, Met Gala 2021, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Vogue.

The overall inspiration taken from both designer and actor, pays a clear homage to the late American artist, David Wojnarowicz. The artist passed away due to complications from AIDS in 1992; And, according to Glamour Magazine, Dan partnered with his stylist, designer, and team, to showcase a powerful ensemble that celebrates “the resilience and the love and the joy” of the LGBTQIA+ community. It reflects two artworks by the late artist: both F*** You F–got F***er (1984), and Untitled (One Day This Kid…) (1990–91). The latter, seen on the clutch the actor carried to the Gala.

David Wojnarowiz, Cropped image F*** You F–got F***er, 1984.
David Wojnarowiz, F*** You F–got F***er, 1984. SF Weekly. Detail.

Natalia Bryant

Natlaia Bryant arrived to the Met Gala in a Connor Ives dress which was set to show in the Met Gala exhibition. The late Kobe Bryant’s eldest daughter, championed sustainable fashion in the ensemble with a look from American designer, Connor Ives. While it does not necessarily pay homage to an art work, the dress pays tribute to fashion from the mid-20th century.

Natalia Bryant in Connor Ives, Met Gala 2021, New York, NY, USA.
Natalia Bryant in Connor Ives, Met Gala 2021, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters.

Ariana Grande & Michelangelo

Vera Wang designed this amazing dress for the pop singer Ariana Grande. The dress’ motif is the famous Last Judgement fresco by Michelangelo, one of the flag Renaissance artists.

Left: Ariana Grande in Vera Wang's dress, Met Gala 2018, New York, NY, USA. Glamour; Right:
Michelangelo, The Last Judgement, ca. 1536-41, Sistine Chapel, Vatican City. Detail.
Left: Ariana Grande in Vera Wang’s dress, Met Gala 2018, New York, NY, USA. Glamour; Right:
Michelangelo, The Last Judgement, ca. 1536-41, Sistine Chapel, Vatican City. Detail.

Selma Blair & Degas

Selma Blair’s dress echoes Edgar Degas‘ pastel ballerinas.

Left: Selma Blair in Behnaz Sarafpour's dress, Met Gala 2003, New York, NY, USA. Popsugar; Right: Edgar Degas, Two Dancers Entering the Stage, ca. 1877-1878, Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, USA. Detail.
Left: Selma Blair in Behnaz Sarafpour’s dress, Met Gala 2003, New York, NY, USA. Popsugar; Right: Edgar Degas, Two Dancers Entering the Stage, ca. 1877-1878, Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, USA. Detail.

Gigi Hadid & Tiffany

Gigi Hadid’s Versace dress resembles the stained-glass design by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Left: Gigi Hadid in Versace's dress, Met Gala 2018, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Sean Zanni/Artnet; Right: Louis Comfort Tiffany, Magnolia and Irises, ca. 1908, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.
Left: Gigi Hadid in Versace’s dress, Met Gala 2018, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Sean Zanni/Artnet; Right: Louis Comfort Tiffany, Magnolia and Irises, ca. 1908, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA. Detail.

Harry Styles & Quesnel

Harry Styles’ effeminate style matches that of the late King of France, Henry III.

Left: Harry Styles in Gucci, Met Gala 2019, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images; Right: François Quesnel (attrib.), Portrait of Henry III of France in a Polish hat, ca. 1580-86, National Museum Poznań, Poznań, Poland.
Left: Harry Styles in Gucci, Met Gala 2019, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images; Right: François Quesnel (attrib.), Portrait of Henry III of France in a Polish hat, ca. 1580-86, National Museum Poznań, Poznań, Poland. Detail.

Jared Leto & Caravaggio

Jared Leto walked into the 2018 Met Gala looking eerily similar to this painting by Caravaggio. Is he the new David?

Left: Jared Leto in Gucci, Met Gala 2019, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images; Right:  Caravaggio, David with the Head of Goliath, 1607, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.
Left: Jared Leto in Gucci, Met Gala 2019, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images; Right: Caravaggio, David with the Head of Goliath, 1607, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.

Zendaya & Joan of Arc

Perhaps one of the most talked about looks of the 2018 Met Gala, Zendaya looked ready for a battle in her Versace chain-mail gown.

Left: Zendaya in Versace, Met Gala 2018, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Nielson Barnard/Getty Images; Right: Miniature Painting of Joan of Arc, ca. 1450-1500, Archives Nationales France, Pierrefitte-Sur-Siene, France.
Left: Zendaya in Versace, Met Gala 2018, New York, NY, USA. Photo by Nielson Barnard/Getty Images; Right: Miniature Painting of Joan of Arc, ca. 1450-1500, Archives Nationales France, Pierrefitte-Sur-Siene, France. Detail.

Amber Valletta & Vigée-Lebrun

This 18th century inspired design, from head to toe looks like something a French Queen would wear. Model Amber Valletta resembles the Queen Marie Antoinette in Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun‘s portrait!

Left: Amber Valletta in John Galliano's and Maggie Norris' dress, Met Gala 2004, New York, NY, USA. Getty Images/CR Fashionbook; Right: Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Portrait of Marie-Antoinette, 1783, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA. Detail.
Left: Amber Valletta in John Galliano’s and Maggie Norris’ dress, Met Gala 2004, New York, NY, USA. Getty Images/CR Fashionbook; Right: Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Portrait of Marie-Antoinette, 1783, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA. Detail.

Janelle Monáe & Man Ray

Left: Janelle Monae in Christian Siriano's dress, Met Gala 2019, New York, NY, USA. Time; Right: Man Ray, Indestructible Object, 1964, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.
Left: Janelle Monae in Christian Siriano’s dress, Met Gala 2019, New York, NY, USA. Time; Right: Man Ray, Indestructible Object, 1964, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.

“Janelle’s look was all about surrealism. It was inspired by Picasso’s paintings and we wanted it to feel kitschy and funny…”

Christian Siriano in an interview with PureWow.

Usually each year the Gala has a theme but there has been a handful of years without one. Designers are approached to construct unique designs for their clients for the event. Many of the most well-known “fashion” moments in the world come from those attending the Gala.

With the many themes throughout the years, it is always interesting to see who shows up wearing what and who will push the boundaries of the theme. While the 2018 Gala provided many examples that look as if they came straight out of a Renaissance painting, overall there are many more examples that were seemingly inspired by artists of the past.

This article only scratches the surface of the many collaborations and inspirations. Here is a list of themes from the past few decades of the Met Gala to help you further along in your search.


Is fashion a form of art? Read more:

Art historian (art lover, artist), coffee drinker, writer, Mom to 2 girls. BA in History and an MA in Art History. Favorite art style is Impressionism. Favorite theme is the Annunciation. Located in Central Kansas.

 

Comments

More in Fashion

To Top