Fashion

Dissecting the Met Gala 2017 and its Dress Code

The avant-garde isn't everyone's cup of tea but to be ignorant of its impact on fashion is preposterous. How did the stars align with the dress code at the Met Gala, and what lessons can we take away from it?

The Exhibit: Art of the In-Between

The Wonder of Kawakubo

She's created gigantic blue witches, sent an army of floral warriors on the runway, destroyed beauty conventions with lumps and bumps, waged war against prettiness, protested against the world's self-inflicted chaos, exaggerated shapes and volume by the tenfold, collaborated with both sculptor Louise Bourgeois and Disney, toyed with 2D for a line of work that creates in 3D... Try to think of anything wild and rebellious, and then subdue that with intense philosophical thought and Kawakubo will create something 100 times better. Her work will cause reactions ranging from "What the hell is that" to "I think I'm going to cry". It is emotionally moving, and beautiful. The best thing is, she remains as the industry's most elusive woman.

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@earnchen: Celebrating @commedesgarcons. @asianburger in original vintage 1986 Staff Coat (Not Good Design Shop reproduction). Now property of @thesalvagesofficial #commedesgarcons #reikawakubo
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@alexanderfury: If Met Gala outfits were Drag Race runway outfits.
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@pawsofwinterfell: Continuing the week of Pet Gala realness on a budget.

This retrospective proves that Art meets Commerce

But Kawakubo is a not only a conceptually groundbreaking designer — she's also a powerful woman leading a huge business empire. Cult retail space Dover Street Market is one major brainchild, and she's also conceived the highly successful and commercial PLAY line, worn by every single joe on the street. She's a living testament that creativity and commerce indeed go hand in hand and that's why she has free reign on what she does for the main line. We have her to thank for allowing us to truly see clothing beyond form, tradition, convention, craftsmanship, and beyond prestige. She's one of the people who truly keep fashion interesting.

Tl;dr: we've waited for this since forever. It's a huge moment for Kawakubo, fashion and fans. Prepare to have your mind blown.

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Blue Witch, Spring/Summer 2016 (courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Body Meets Dress–Dress Meets Body, Spring/Summer 1997 (courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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18th Century Punk, Autumn/Winter 2016–17; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi (courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Blood and Roses, Spring/Summer 2015 (courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit — aka The Met Gala

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Gallery View, Absence/Presence (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Gallery View, (from left) Bound/Unbound, Order/Chaos (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Gallery View, Object/Subject (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Gallery View, Clothes/Not Clothes: War/Peace (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Gallery View, Clothes/Not Clothes: Form/Function (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Gallery View, Clothes/Not Clothes (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Self/Other, East/West Gallery (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Gallery View, (from left) High/Low, Model/Multiple, Fashion/Antifashion, Design/Not Design (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit — aka The Met Gala

That time of the year everyone starts dressing very seriously

This is fashion's version of the Olympics. The prep is a freaking marathon and very often, its attendees have to wrestle their clothes into the venue. Nevertheless, it's a time to celebrate fashion. We're often accused of being superficial, so it's especially unacceptable to just show up to the ball looking good. Everyone and everything, like the exhibit, must embody intellectual rigour. That's why we care so much if people show up not dressed to the theme, and that seems to have become the case. At last year's gala, everyone showed up in Balmain; the theme was technology. *very loud sigh*

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Lily James and Matt Smith on the way to the Met Gala, both in Burberry
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Ruby Rose at her hotel before the Met Gala, wearing Burberry
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Christine and the Queens puts on her Burberry outfit
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Christine and the Queens puts on her Burberry outfit
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Jennifer Connely's dress by Louis Vuitton
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The final stitches to Jennifer Connely's dress by Louis Vuitton
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The making of Jennifer Connely's dress by Louis Vuitton
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The design of Jennifer Connely's dress by Louis Vuitton

This year's women prove you can be Comme, even without Comme

We acknowledge that this year's avant-garde theme is difficult for celebrities whose brands are built on glamour, but good job to everyone who dressed immaculatelyPriyanka Chopra wore an experimental Ralph Lauren ensemble, Kate Bosworth stunned in an unusually exaggerated Tory Burch gown, and Solange looked ridiculous in her Thom Brown puffer dress. We're happy they did their homework. To anyone complaining about Katy Perry: Shut up, you don't get it. She's wearing Maison Margiela. 

Of course, everyone who wore Comme deserves an applause. Here's a valuable thing to remember: The worst thing is to wear Comme and not embody Comme. But thankfully, that didn't happen to any of the guests this year.

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Nicki Minaj in H&M. We're actually not so sure about the construction, but there's one thing that saves everything: her belt buckle. It's literally Rei Kawakubo's face. Automatic plus points.
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Dakota Johnson in Gucci. She looks like a caged bird. Albeit, a very pretty one.
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Elizabeth Banks sports a printed number by Michael Kors, which reminds us of Comme Des Garçons's op art Spring/Summer 2001 collection.
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Lily James looks really cute in Burberry. This bustier dress shares a near identical fabrication to a CDG dress from Fall/Winter 1996.
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Léa Seydoux stuns in a dress by Louis Vuitton. She gave birth three months ago?
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This is serious patchwork — something Kawakubo's protege, Junya Watanabe, loves doing. Kerry Washington looks quite edgy in Michael Kors. Props to him, too. He's got a good number of outfits that balance avant-garde and glam very well.
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Kate Bosworth surprises us all in Tory Burch. Who knew Burch could create something so dark and magical?
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This Calvin Klein By Appointment dress has been raved about since it came out on the runway. Plastic and feathers don't make likely friends, but on redhead Julianne Moore, the textures and colours look more vivid.
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Jourdan Dunn in H&M. It's a good attempt.
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Sarah Paulson in Prada. We mostly love her for that moment she saw Madonna.
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Riley Keough in a Punk-like Louis Vuitton dress. FYI, Rei Kawakubo loves the punks.
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Natasha Poly looks straight-up hot in Michael Kors. After all, she is a model.

Below, we've rounded up a few things that actually emulate avant garde and are referrential of Rei Kawakubo's own work. Click through to shop.

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Ashley Graham. auidfboahdfisalmf;akdfpj
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Bella Hadid looks like she has diapers on. It's the Bulgari jewelry that saved her.
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Chrissy Teigen is a pleasant woman. Unfortunately, not her dress.
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Halle Berry. It's tame compared to what she's been wearing as of late.
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Let's be real. We couldn't have expected Kylie Jenner to show up in something cerebral.
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Blake Lively in Atelier Versace. Squawk, squawk!

We just have so many questions for the others, though...

Why was Lady Gaga missing? What happened to the Olsen twins? Was Bella Hadid on her way to her barre class? Why was Kendall Jenner.... never mind. What was Ashley Graham wearing? What's going on? Where was the avant-garde? Do these people know they are honouring a living legend? Do they have anything Comme? We need someone to explain to us why Chrissy Teigen looks like a chicken, Blake Lively looks like a parrot and Zoe Kravitz looks like a bouquet. 

Madonna must simply be stopped. We're done here.

Shop

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How would you have turned up to 2017's Met Gala?

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