Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The Met Gala 2022 brought out the best of fashion. Of course, there are always going to be a few flops, and a lot of people seemed to miss the historically influenced theme of this year's Gala, but I’ve learned to lower my expectations. Instead of dedicating my time to a piece-by-piece breakdown of each and every fashion flop and win, I’m here today to break down what the thoughtful pieces conveyed, as well as the various homages and important political notes highlighted throughout the night were. 

Riz Ahmed

While Lively’s display was a visual delight, expressive even without the explanation behind the details, Riz Ahmed’s piece was an ode to those who allowed the age of gilded gold to occur. Prior to walking the steps, Ahmed described his look as an “homage to immigrant workers who kept the golden age golden.” His outfit was understated, with the messages speaking for themselves. While we all take the time to scroll through the outfits after the fact, the famous faces such as Ahmed that take the time to use this platform to be vocal and expressive about their own interpretation of the theme are incredibly important. 

Janelle Monae 

Janelle took the time when speaking with LaLa to discuss her Afrofuturism-inspired look. The hypnotic swirls of the dress, linked to her headpiece/skull cap, really drew you in and paid a nice nod to her recent writing venture. Her collection of short storiesThe Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computeris an adventure into Afrofuturism, with each of the authors within the collection exploring the realm of science fiction. Monae’s book is currently on the New York Times Best Seller List. 

Blake Lively

Blake Lively, one of the hosts for this year's Gala, did not disappoint. Her dress was an ode to New York that went above just a simple nod and some careless accessories. Her dress, first in a bronzed copper, appeared to later oxidize into an exquisite patina dress. The fabrics paid homage to the use of copper in New York, representing both its original state and the way it appears to us now in the twenty-first century. Each detail of her look was considered and thought out, with the headpiece having seven spikes to mimic the Statue of Liberty, as well as the draping of her skirt mimicking Lady Liberty. Lively’s choice to reflect on this aspect of New York in the context of this year’s theme was a beautiful nod to the core of the city and the unifying elements we should continue to remember and celebrate, especially in times of adversity. 

Gabrielle Union

This was one of the stand-out pieces of the night for me. Gabrielle paid homage to black glamour, taking the theme from a period of oppression and molding it into her own expressive piece. During the Vogue live stream, she said, “When you think about the Gilded Age and Black and brown people in this country, this country is built off of our backs, our blood, sweat, and tears. So we added these red crystals to represent the blood spilled during the accumulation of gross wealth by a few during the Gilded Age, off of the backs of Black people and people of color in this country.” This is the epitome of what should be discussed and represented at events such as the Met Gala. She remained on theme while adapting it to fit the current moment and the ever-changing political climate we’re existing within. This was a carefully thought-out piece from meaning to presentation on the night.


While the Met Gala is a space to explore the current politics of our world, it’s also an opportunity to nod toward those who have already left a significant impact. In January of 2022, André Leon Talley, former Vogue fashion editor, passed away. Talley helped pave the path for those who ordinarily were not given the same chance in circles such as Vogue. His work was monumental, and his impact was noted on multiple occasions throughout the night. Midway through the live stream, a pause was taken to discuss his impact, as well as to announce the donation of one of his iconic capes to the exhibition. Outside of this pause to discuss Talley, we saw multiple nods to him throughout the night. Victor Glemaud and Quest Love mentioned Talley as an inspiration behind both of their looks on the night. 

Alongside Talley, we also saw homages to Virgil Abloh, founder of Off White, who passed away last November. Midway through the show, a moment was taken to show a sneak peek at a short film, due to premiere on Vogues website next week, dedicated to Abloh. Another icon who redefined the fashion industry and made way for those who previously didn’t have an in, his impact is immeasurable, and I was glad to see them taking the time to highlight his passing.

Reality Check

The Met Gala for many is an escape from reality, a far-off fantasy of celebrities and otherworldly fashions that we cannot fathom before they walk up those steps. I encourage you to enjoy the visual feast the Gala is. Laugh at the looks that made your jaw drop in the worst way. Retweet the dresses that made you sigh with amazement. In the midst of it all, though, don’t ignore the messages sprinkled in by the presenters and the celebrities there though. 

One of the guests in attendance was Xiye Bastida, who came with Amy Schumer. Bastida is a climate activist who, when interviewed, made it clear that while we can enjoy these events, we shouldn’t be brushing past the reality that is our world's catastrophic climate. She highlighted that climate justice should be present in every space. 

We also saw so many takes on the theme that challenged the deeply problematic sides of the period it was inspired by. I’ve already spoken about some of the looks that represented the true side of all the gold and glamour. Immigrant workers who built New York inspired the theme and the black men and women who bled to create America. These celebrities were intentional in their fashion, intentional in their interviews, so we should take the time to listen. Quannah Chasinghorse arrived at the event in custom indigenous jewelry, reflecting what this theme meant for all Americans, not just the white ones. They are using their platform, as they should, to be heard and educate, so let's not get distracted by the sequins entirely. 

Finally, a pause was taken towards the end of the live stream to highlight the ongoing events in Ukraine. The hosts took the time to highlight the immigrant impact on the creation of this golden period of American history. As part of this, some pieces from the designer Valentina, who fled the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 will be kept as part of the exhibit. The dresses are reflective of the practicality of the period, as well as the opulence, using a mixture of black silk crepe and brown ryon crepe. Expanding on the discussion on Ukraine, it was announced that the parent company of Vogue, Conde Naste, was donating a sum of money to the Red Cross to aid those in need during the Ukrainian invasion. The public was encouraged to donate if possible via the link on their website. The effort was made throughout the show to educate, share, and uplift, so let’s take the messages on board, as well as the fashion.