“After twelve goddamn months of nowhere to go, no nightclubs to get dressed up for, no rails of clothes to stroke, no fashion shows to peacock outside of - we are more than just deliriously bored; we’re angry. And we want revenge...In 2021, dressing for revenge is what you decide it should look like - but mainly, it’s about relishing in the clothes that you’ve been denied the opportunity to wear.” Osman Ahmed, i-D
Just as ‘revenge fashion’ emerges as a post-lockdown trend, what is widely heralded as the fashion event of the year (the fashion equivalent of the Oscars or the Superbowl) closes in on the horizon. With the biggest stars in the world appearing in grand costume dress, the iconic Met Gala takes the fashion and pop-culture social media world by storm each year without fail. With no 2020 Met Gala this year's event is back with a bang. This week’s 52INSIGHTS explores the conversation around this year’s Met Gala event, in anticipation of the September 13 extravaganza.
MET GALA NEED-TO-KNOWS
It’s for charity and it’s themed. It all happens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The fundraising gala (year on year, the event raises eight-figure sums; 2019’s edition raised a record $15 million) celebrates the Costume Institute’s magnificent new exhibition on a changing theme. This year’s theme is ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’, which will delve into the modern vocabulary of American fashion. The themes not only help attendees to celebrate and embrace fashion in unique and creative ways (it’s not just about looking good), they invite the competitiveness of some fashionistas too. Part one of this theme’s exhibition in the Costume Institute will establish a modern vocabulary of American style emphasizing the expressive qualities of dress and deeper associations with issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Read more on the exhibition here.
The biggest celebrities (and luxury fashion brands) get invites. This year’s event will be hosted by co-chairs Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka - all stars who’ve captured the attention of younger generations across the globe this past year for their talent. Attendees often collaborate with some of the biggest brands in fashion to create their outfits for the best red carpet event of them all.
It’s reflective of culture. It’s not only the ‘party of the year’ for the cultural elite who get invited - it’s also come to be reflective of changing culture (albeit a glamorous one), establishing or confirming trends. For example, back in 2019, we explored the Met Gala’s ‘Notes on Camp’ theme, which provided great online entertainment and debate.
It’s talked about. A lot. In the media, on Twitter, TikTok - you name it. It’s meme-rich territory and the internet can’t resist reacting to the ‘not just any outfit’ red carpet appearances. Similar to judging the Olympics from the comfort of our sofas, half of the fun is judging Met Gala outfits (and their suitability or fit to the theme) while sitting at home in a fluffy pair of old pajamas and your grandad’s socks.
PARTYING FASHIONABLY IN A COVID WORLD
The 2021 Gala guidelines have been updated to reflect our Covid-realities. The updates to the Met ‘menu’ this year could be guides for elite parties in the months to come. These include:
- A mask and proof of vaccination. Masks are required indoors unless eating or drinking. We’re expecting some impressive face accessorising with this one!
- An entirely sustainable, plant-based menu. For the first time ever, entirely vegan dishes will be served.
- A more intimate affair. Invites this year are reportedly even more exclusive than ever before due to the pandemic.
WHEN (FAKE) TABLE PLANS GO VIRAL
What are youth talking about in the run up to Met Gala 2021? The table plan. Correction; the fake table plan. This week TikTok was buzzing with comedic commentary on false table plans for the Met Gala.The obvious fake news didn’t stop the internet tearing the plans apart as the chats circulated the digital realm - many just simply couldn’t resist responding to the suggestions of where stars were ‘seated.’ The strongest and most entertaining reactions respond to the implications of the new era of social media celebrity that’s taken hold. The ‘A-list’ has changed - dramatically. With influencers and TikTok stars like Addison Rae, Emma Chamberlain and the D’Amelio sisters rumoured to attend, the fake seating chart placed them seated next to some of the biggest names in worlds of music, TV, showbiz and movies. Analysing this ‘chaos’, one TikToker says “...Beyoncé is sitting next to Emma Chamberlain - WHAT are they going to talk about?”
Here were some of our favourite responses:
- “TikTokers showing up to the Met Gala” and on the red carpet.
- Addison Rae getting involved in the joke about Lady Gaga mistaking her for a waitress.
- People creating even wilder table plans in critique of fake news.
- Anticipation of some seriously iconic throwback outfits to fit the 2021 theme.
- Brands even got on board with this vision-making exercise - Fenty skin imagined a table of its own products saying “You already know this table is gonna be WILD at at the #METGALA 👀😛”.
But the table plans may turn out to be realer than many think - with Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri serving as one of this year's Met Gala honorary chairs, there’s bound to be an inclusion of a host of online personalities on the guestlist (read our Social & Digital innovation team’s recent article on Mosseri here).
This year’s Met Gala may very well mark the awakening of the post-Covid fashion era. Stay tuned for the wild, weird and wonderful. Online conversation is already warming up for the event. If your brand isn’t directly involved with the event or an attendee, it’s a perfect moment for social media reactive content - especially if you are a brand that operates in the space of fashion or beauty (but who’s to say any brand couldn’t imagine their own red carpet look to fit the theme!).
If the Met Gala is the fashion world’s ‘Superbowl’ or ‘Oscars’ - what is the equivalent for your category? Is there one? Maybe there’s an opportunity to get plotting!