Why were so many American designers missing from the 2021 Met Gala?

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Another Met Gala has passed, the best dressed lists have plummeted and we need to think about the theme of the evening for the next nine months until the second part of the gala arrives in May. Never before has the event offered a second chance to walk the infamous steps under the same theme, offering the opportunity to reference another American designer or motif from such a wide range of possibilities, or perhaps correct one. look that fell flat. When it comes to “Fashion’s Biggest Night,” there’s always room for improvement.

Many celebrities have been thoughtful in their approach to the sartorial theme “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” and their collaboration with American designers, whether in reference to iconographies such as Amanda Gorman’s interpretation of the Statue of the Freedom of Vera Wang; a revival of Old Hollywood glamor, as Billie Eilish did in an Oscar de la Renta and Kendall Jenner ball gown in her My beautiful lady crystal dress by Matthew Williams of Givenchy; or even streetwear and American youth, noticed by Timothée Chalamet in dirty Chuck Taylors. Ciara wore Peter Dundas as a tribute to football, a distinct element of culture, in a Seahawks jersey dress (accessorized with her husband’s Super Bowl ring), inspired by a dress by fellow American designer Geoffrey Beene . Hyperpop princess Kim Petras has chosen Collina Strada, a New York designer at the forefront of sustainable fashion, to make her “horse girl” fantasies come true. Even Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez wore a political statement, understandably, over a dress by Brooklyn immigrant Aurora James, in a polarizing show that conceptually adheres to the subject matter.

However, what leaves a question mark over the heads of fashion fanatics everywhere is the lack of iconic American houses present. It’s a question of why Halston, arguably America’s first designer, wasn’t a focal point of the night; or the Anglo-American designer Charles James who is synonymous with the word “ballgown”. Besides Jeremy O’Harris’ tribute to Aaliyah, there were limited looks of Tommy Hilfiger on the carpet, Diane Von Furstenberg was present but not worn by a star, and the distinctive cultural aesthetic of Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis was not visible. Surprisingly, there were few references to the black fashion and streetwear of the 80s, 90s and 2000s, a genre of quirky and disruptive American style. Marc Jacobs, a rebel of the anti-tradition and youthful spirit in fashion who is enjoying a new career resurgence, was also greatly missed at the Met’s “Party in the USA”. Even NYFW golden boys like Peter Do, Telfar Clemens, and Christopher John Rogers, who we all know can take a peek, didn’t. What makes American fashion unique – its rebellion, sportswear, consumer culture, diverse immigrant voices, and new classics – isn’t the essence of “American independence?” “

Jeremy Scott’s Moschino was in attendance, but his 2014 McDonald’s-meets-Chanel collection was one of his most significant Americana collections of all time, as a Midwestern-born designer hailing an Italian house. Maybe a tweed fast food uniform and a quilted happy meal flap bag weren’t on the menu. Honoring American history, the 2021 Haute Couture from Kerby Jean-Raymond to Pyer Moss would have added a campy perspective to the night, where the historical collection paid homage to 25 black inventions taken from a list at the Library of Congress.

And with all the talk about Y2K, punk and vintage aesthetics having their moment in high fashion, it would be so exciting if an It girl reminded of Kimora Lee Simmons’ Baby Phat or grungy Anna Sui. Rihanna and Kanye West represent a new guard of stars of American culture merging into fashion, so it seems Miss Met herself wasn’t wearing her own Fenty designs, or Kim Kardashian, who has modeled in multiple campaigns, does. had not on the head. toe-toe Yeezy (however, they graced the Balenciaga theme). Beyonce’s Ivy Park “Rodeo” collection would surely deliver cowgirl glamor.

Maybe the theme was too vague, as many fashion critics think, or maybe there were too many options to choose from and the essentials were overlooked. Fortunately, the Met offers a second chance to honor Americana in 2022. Here are iconic collections from American designers who could have, should have, had a moment on the steps of the Met.


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