It had been Vogue’s Anna Wintour’s party, the Fashion Institute’s “Met Gala,” where the elites meet and greet. What is it now?
The hosts were a Gen Z dream team: Amanda Gorman, the 23-year-old inaugural poet; Timothée Chalamet, the 25-year-old star of “Dune”; Naomi Osaka, the 23-year-old tennis champion and mental health activist; and Billie Eilish, the 19-year-old music phenom.
This year the gala, also known as “the party of the year,” was framed as part of New York’s re-emergence, along with the reopening of Broadway shows, indoor dining and the U.S. Open. Still, many designers who live in Europe and usually make the trip did not attend, either because of quarantine rules or because they have to work on their own shows. Rumors swirled that some Hollywood stars also chose to sit this one out, perhaps because of health concerns or because of the fear that partying while people are sick is not the best look. And some regulars could not attend, because they had not been vaccinated — a requirement for all guests.
Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York, for example, arrived in a dress with streaming epaulets bearing the message “Equal Rights for Women” and a matching bag advocating for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Her fellow Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a white dress with “Tax the Rich” scrawled in red on the back. Other attendees opted for nostalgic allusions to old-Hollywood glamour and the American West.
— The Recount (@therecount) September 13, 2021
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West cosplaying as the Taliban at the Met Gala. pic.twitter.com/mRT93ZavYA
— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) September 14, 2021
To be invited to, to attend, the Met Gala is a big celebrity deal because that’s what celebrity means. To use it, hypocrisy aside, to feign political statements will get you a few million extra eyeballs to see how virtuous you are, but then, what are you doing there and how do you think no one will notice that you’re wearing Versace while cos-playing Robespierre? And what do the hosts have to do with anything relating to the Fashion Institute, the Met, New York City or, well, anything?
Rarely has one party revealed as much about how vapid, nonsensical and incoherent this fantasy world of woke has become. Have they become a parody of themselves, desperately trying to score points while pretending they aren’t exactly what they are?
And then there’s poor Nicki Minaj.
And the fight that followed.
The two white men sittin there nodding their heads cuz this uncle tomiana doing the work chile. How sad. https://t.co/4UviONyTHy
— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) September 14, 2021
I realize that my sense of pop culture is often behind those on the cutting edge. Sometimes far behind. And I appreciate the people who want to be celebrities do things to draw attention to themselves, sometimes for reasons they believe to be positive and other times just for the sake of attention. But what message, if any, does this have for where we are as a society? I can appreciate the Met Gala as a showcase for glamour. I get someone like AOC enjoying rubbing elbows with the fabulously wealthy who can elevate her to greater political prominence by wearing a dress designed to appeal to the most simplistic society has to offer.
And then there were the protests.
As celebrities walked the carpet, a substantial crowd of protesters gathered on a blocked-off Fifth Avenue to rally for racial justice.
The police arrested some of those who were taking part in the demonstration and who had ignored warnings to clear the street. The result was the somewhat jarring image of shouting protesters being dragged away by police officers past onlookers who were pressed up against metal barricades hoping to get a glimpse of celebrity glamour. (One of those celebrities was Mr. Chalamet, who walked partway to the Met wearing an almost-all-white ensemble that included a Haider Ackerman jacket, Rick Owens shirt and Converse high-tops.)
So help me out here, as I am inadequate to the task of understanding how this is all supposed to make sense. Why?
*Tuesday Talk rules apply.