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The Met Gala 2024

Dressing for the Met Gala, once called the Costume Institute Benefit, which is an annual fundraising for the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s Institute in Manhattan, must be a fashion nightmare. To look lovely, feel lovely and withstand the slow promenade across the space and up those endless stairs, plus the heat from all those light. 

Each year the theme of the exhibition is clearly only one element, the choice of designer, the wearers figure, the idea of glamour or gimmick, the choice of companion, what shoes to wear for several hours, and the list goes on and on. 

All this was exacerbated this year by the theme being separate to the exhibition title. So, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” is the official exhibition name, but the Met Gala theme and dress code is the “Garden of Time.”

My job is to look at the hundreds of images coming through, over two hundred on Vogue alone, and see what fashion stories, or thematic groups might appear in responding to the title. Obviously, who wore what, plus how designers given the opportunity to go mad, since the look is only worn the once and for a few hours and never has to sell, and they can truly let their creativity loose.

This time I found the floral theme, although “florals for spring – groundbreaking” from the Devil Wears Prada does unfortunately immediately come into one’s mind, relatively clear. Petals, flowers, leaves, bud to bloom, plus the element of time as the life cycle of a flower or plant all had their moment as did, the sands of time, butterflies, water, sky, and nature in general. 

Nostalgia, and the emotion of the past, as well as looking back in fashion terms was clearly underpinning many looks, and since the key to the pieces in the exhibition is the opportunity to show fragile, special, extraordinary, and rare items, this made sense. 

Alexander McQueen and John Galliano homages to past looks were popular with the fashion observers, especially since the “story” is that Galliano was to be the subject of this exhibition but for various reasons this was not to be. Instagram, and social media pundits voiced many opinions and everyone had their favourites. Zendaya wore a look supposedly from Maison Margiela but in reality, a recreation of a Galliano design for Christian Dior from 1996. There were other reinterpretations, revivals, and stylists had clearly been rummaging in archives.

In the end there were several stories and below I list those ten or so stories I found, although I’m sure everyone has their own list. It’s all an extraordinary moment in fashion each year and even non fashion people are fascinated, appalled, or enchanted by what they see, for those of us in the fashion business, whatever our role, it prompts countless conversations that lasts for several days.

I guess this season it’s all down to either weed killer or a bouquet for these looks? 

Three dimensional flowers.

The interpretations varied from scattered petals and blossoms to huge flowers strategically placed, from a few to a huge cascade, from lightweight and fragile to huge and monumental.

Courtesy of Thom Browne

Gigi Hadid in Thom Browne 

Nelly Korda in Oscar de la Renta 

Amanda Seyfried in Prada

Cynthia Erivo in Thom Browne

Kerry Washington in Oscar de la Renta

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nicki Minaj in Marni 

Kelsea Ballerini in Michael Kors

Jessica Serfaty Michel in Dolce e Gabanna

Tyler Mitchell in Prada

Morgan Spector in Willy Chavarria

Flowers in a shaded degrade style

Photo: Getty Images

Ayo Edebiri in Thom Browne

Jordan Roth in Pier Paolo Piccioli for Valentino

Sydney Sweeney in Miu Miu 

Dan Levy in Loewe 

Photo: Getty Images

Rebecca Hall in Danielle Frankel

Taffeta Rose inspirations

Maria Sharapova in Atelier Prabal Gurung 

Aisha McShaw in Marchesa

Crystal Waters 

The second big story was watery, crystalline, shimmery and silvery. From softly fluid to densely crafted many people went for the column silhouette or the curves and the idea of sparkling under the lights was clearly the impetus for the selected look. It sometimes had a touch of floral, petal or leaf, but generally it was the silvery that ruled. 

Elle Fanning in Balmain

Michelle Yeoh in Balenciaga

Ariane Grande in Loewe

Kasia Gerber in Prada

Hard Nef in H & M

Janelle Monae in Vera Wang

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Kim Kardashian in Maison Margiela

Rate in Fendi

Cailee Spaeny in Miu Miu 

Radhika Jones in Atelier Prabal Gurung

Venus Williams in Marc Jacobs

Photo: Angelo Kritikos

Demi Lovato In Atelier Prabal Gurung

The sands of time

Time running out, many designers embraced sands and a certain almost dusty quality, pale natural, a soft faded quality and a nostalgic air of beauty lost. It wasn’t actually melancholy but rather beautiful in its variations from plain and pure to some looks in silks and satins. A hint even of boudoir and cosmetic face powdery shades and surfaces. 

Pamela Anderson in Oscar de la Renta

Getty Images

Kyle Jenner in Oscar de la Renta 

Mindy Kalinin in Gaurav Gupta

Tyla in Balmain 

Madlyn Cline in Tommy Hilfiger

Bruna Marquezine in Tory Burch

Amy Griffin in Schiaparelli by Daniel Roseberry

Also, part of this story was a kind of couture classicism from 

Isabelle Huppert in Balenciaga, 

Luciana Damon in Christian Dior 

Fabiola Beracasa Beckman in Christian Dior. 

Statement Colour.

In contrast to water, sand or silvery shimmer were some standout looks in top to toe solid colour. Bold and simple, leaf green, or deep rose red, or indeed any brilliant foliage or flower shade. 

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Elizabeth Debicki in Christian Dior

Huma Adebin in Erdem

Mira Murati in Christian Dior 

Nell Diamond in Hill House

The sky and clouds. 

These three looks were truly beautiful in their volume and control of silhouette and fabric from three very confident designers. 

Sabrina Carpenter in Oscar de la Renta 

Rachel Zegler in Michael Kors 

Lea Michelle in Rodarte 

Water 

All florals need water, and two looks captured the watery blue green story in top to toe gradations of blues and greens.

Anok Yai in Swarovski

Gabriella Union in Michael Kors

Butterflies

Not floral but so closely associated with nature, and flowers two looks again took this inspiration, but in very different ways.

Iris Law in Versace

Mona Patel in Iris van Herpen

Black Glamour

The choice for many people is still based around classic glamour and the idea of a gala requiring not a theme, but a dress up, look fabulous aesthetic. Who can deny that the people who opted for either no floral element at all, or only a tiny gesture towards the theme, looked marvellous? Chic and elegance will always rule regardless of any other considerations, and each of those listed below exuded confidence. 

Meg Ryan in Michale Kors

Naomi Watts in Balenciaga

Lisa Love in Azzedine Alaia

Greta Gerwig in Chloe

Rosalia in Dior 

Juliana Canfield in Vintage Bill Blass

Nicholas Galitzine in Fendi

Jonathan Geoff in Simone Rocha 

Alex Edelman in S.S. Daley

Black & White 

Another monochrome pair of outstanding floral interpretations.

Allison Williams in Michael Kors 

Lauren Sánchez in Oscar de la Renta 

I’d like to add three looks which don’t truly fit in anywhere, but that I thought beautiful. Phoebe Dynevor in palest fragile rose pink Victoria Beckham and Alia Bhatt in a divinely romantic look from Sabaysachi with its inspiration from Indian heriatge and again, fragile, romantic and unique,  I also thought Rahul Mishra did a beautiful look for Law Roach in white on white on white flowers. We’re all allowed out personal favourites aren’t we? 

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