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  • Writer's pictureVariant Magazine

2021 Met Gala: The Best and Worst Looks of the Met

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Illustration by Samantha Schimmoller

By Emily Squance, Art Director

From fur to sparkles, to even horse heads, the Met Gala has seen just about everything. The infamous red carpet has showcased the most iconic looks for the fundraising event. Some of the biggest names have defined all expectations, slowly reinventing fashion today. Here are the best and worst outfits of this year’s, “American Independence,” themed Met Gala.

Lil Nas X With the drop of his new album, his Matryoshka doll outfit gave fans a sneak peek of what’s to come in one of his music videos. He caught the attention of attendees during his first Gala with a Donatella Versace custom-made outfit. Nas showed up in a royal cloak that symbolized being in a shell, not ready to showcase his true self. He followed up with two more layers, each showing a different part of his journey within the music industry. The golden armor suit represented the fanbase and image he created. The last and most sentimental outfit was a fitted bodysuit, the final layer of himself and his personality. These outfits were not only iconic but tackled a conversation we all know too well. Breaking out of your shell and claiming your true self can be challenging, but vulnerability has power.

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Troye Sivan

The fashion norm for men has shifted entirely in the past couple of years. Harry Styles’s gender-bending photoshoot with Vogue to Troye’s Met look proves that all clothing can be unisex. He defined the norm by wearing a tight, low-cut, black dress paired with platform heels. His outfit was designed by Jonathan Anderson for the Spanish brand Loewe and was paired with a leather arm band. He wanted to incorporate the classic, sleek black attire that is constantly popping up in New York City. This outfit fits the theme perfectly because America and its beauty norms are constantly changing and evolving.

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Iman Iman stole the show this year. The supermodel paired a golden top with matching trousers, a feather cage overskirt, and a matching headpiece. The outfit’s design involved a group collaboration between Dolce & Gabbana and Harris Reed. The feathers had a golden tint and fell perfectly while on the carpet. Fashion allows people to push the limits and be bold. That’s what Iman did; she sparked conversation while exceeding outfit expectations. American fashion has always been about pushing societal norms and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Iman killed this look and represented how fashion can be a fun tool to showcase your personality.

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Cara Delevingne and Megan Rapinoe

Some looks had backstories and some didn’t but this year some stars took the opportunity to advocate for social issues. Cara Delevingne’s outfit was designed by Dior and included a breastplate that read, “Peg the Patriarchy.” Her look was simple, yet spoke volumes by sending a relevant message on social justice. This is one of her most subtle looks but the meaning behind it and her ability to use her platform for good speaks for itself. Megan Rapinoe wore a red and blue suit designed by Serigo Hudson, paired with a matching clutch that read “In Gay We Trust.” Not only did Rapinoe stray away from the traditional dress look, she also used her time at The Gala to speak on behalf of the LGBTQ+ communities. These two looks focused on the growth of activism in America proving that every voice matters.

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Kim Petras

Petras had the most bizarre outfit of the night. She had a chaotically colorful dress on with a 3-D horse head strapped on her shoulders and chest. The designer was Collina Strada, but Hillary Taymour came up with the concept due to her being a “horse girl” in the past. This outfit’s relation to the theme is still unclear; however, it made a statement but whether it was a good or bad one is up for debate.

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Whoopi Goldberg Whoopi has never been shy of being brutally honest, but honestly, her outfit missed the mark this year. She wore a purple, ruffly Valentino cape with mint green gloves and a turquoise dress underneath. This eccentric outfit may be high fashion, but combining these colors makes the outfit chaotic. In addition, the outfit doesn’t match well; it just looks like three different outfits combined. Usually, big and extravagant looks are popular during the Gala. However, Goldberg’s cape causes her to get lost within it.

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This year the Met Gala had a wide range of looks that all had different meanings behind them. Some used the spotlight to their advantage, and some channeled icons from the past. Even though we missed many celebrities this year, it was refreshing to see The Met back with style.

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