There’s More To Fashion Than A Cheeseburger

Katy Perry

The dress code for last night’s Met Gala was “studied triviality” (another way to say “foolishness”), and Anna Wintour had stated beforehand that she hoped guests would have “fun” and “not take themselves too seriously.”

Bee Shaffer and Anna Wintour

It was a night of three million feathers and grand entrances. The Vogue editor who wore a Chanel beaded pink gown and a cape made of pink feathers arrived with her daughter Bee, looking wonderful in a black tuxedo with an enormous red satin rose at the hip and red train.

Kendall Jenner

Feathers were prevalent as one would expect (they are one of Sontag’s 58 points in her essay), but not everyone looked as beautiful as Kendall Jenner in an orange feathered dress by Versace paired with Tiffany jewels.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams, a co-chair of the evening, never looked better. Her Versace yellow gown with pink floral embroidery really suited her, and she added a bit of camp with her customized neon Nike sneakers.

Kate Moss

Kate Moss, arriving with Marc Jacobs and his husband Char Defrancesco, looked glamorous and gorgeous in the designer’s floor-length silver sequined gown with matching cape.

Kristen Stewart

One of the chicest (and most subdued) attendees was Kristen Stewart wearing a Chanel black sequined top and white wide-legged trousers (she added dyed orange hair to add an offbeat touch).

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae’s signature is black and white with a touch of color (she almost always tops my lists). For this occasion, she chose a marvelous and graphic Picasso inspired Christian Siriano with a moving blinking eye accessorized with 4 hats stacked on top of one another.


“Crazy Rich Asians” actress, rapper, and comedian Awkwafina did not look like a comedic joke in her gold pleated Altuzarra dress.

Somehow, each of the above kept to the theme but did it in way that was elegant and chic rather than so ridiculously kitschy and over the top that it was totally absurd (coming as a picture frame like Tracee Ross or coming as a cheeseburger as Katy Perry did for the after party). They were obviously in the minority. Let’s face it, it was about being the most attention-grabbing, and most over the top. It was a night when good taste was pretty much thrown out the window and the red (or in this case pink) carpet arrivals more closely resembled the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade or a Las Vegas revue as opposed to a soignee evening at the elegant Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yes, it was the ultimate costume party (did you expect anything else) and there’s nowhere to go from here but up (or down depending on how you look at it).

Lady Gaga

There is no question that Lady Gaga, the Queen of Camp and one of the evening’s co-chairs completely stole the show. She might not have won an Oscar for her performance in “A Star is Born,” but she put on an Oscar-worthy performance last night. The star arrived with Brandon Maxwell (who designed her ‘Meat Dress’) wearing the designer’s enormous custom made shocking pink cape, flanked by 4 men carrying black umbrellas. She proceeded to go up and down the pink carpet while shedding her clothes three times (one change featured an elegant black satin gown that recalled Old Hollywood) and winding up in black lacy underwear and 10-inch platform boots. How do you top that? You can’t, but there were other grand entrances.

Cardi B in Thom Browne

Among them was Cardi B, who was also one of the last to arrive and needed six men to carry her mammoth custom made blood red Thom Browne creation covered in feathers with trompe l’oeil beading around the breast.

Billy Porter

Tony-winning actor and singer Billy Porter was a vision in gold, channeling Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra” as he was carried in by 6 gold clad men, all from different Broadway plays.

Okay, so, I don’t know about you, but after seeing all this, I am yearning for chic, pared-down minimalism lol. While I have no idea what the subject of next year’s Costume Institute Exhibition is, I am betting it will be the complete opposite; more classic, refined, and elegant, and the attending gala’s red carpet will be focused back on great fashion.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

  1. Well written, I LOL about you yearning for basic after all that camp!

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