Who Wore What: The Best Looks of Met Gala 2024 | Savoir Flair
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Who Wore What: The Best Looks of Met Gala 2024
article ZENDAYA IN VINTAGE GIVENCHY | GETTY IMAGES
by Grace Gordon 6-minute read May 7, 2024

Fashion enthusiasts came hungry and were amply fed by a surffeit of stunning looks at the Met Gala that played to the event's theme of "The Garden of Time."

article ELLE FANNING | GETTY IMAGES

Welcome to the First Monday in May in New York City (or very early Tuesday morning, to those of us residing in the opposite hemisphere), the world’s most auspicious day for fashion in all its excess and revelry. This year’s themed exhibition of the Costume Institute is Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, a chance for the Met’s 33,000 stored garments to see the light of day after slumbering in the archives. Well, not all 33,000. Only those that fit the theme. “The exhibition aims to reawaken the pieces in the collection by reactivating their sensory capacities and reengaging our sensorial perceptions,” said the exhibition’s curator Andrew Bolton. Bridging the world between old and new, the museum has instituted technological displays alongside classic standing mannequins for guests to experience the clothes in new and mesmerizing ways, urging museum-goers to shift “from spectators into active participants.”

In support of the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition comes the most anticipated event of them all, the Met Gala, whose "The Garden of Time" theme this year is a bit more ambiguous than in previous years. Taken at face value, it may read as “florals,” but there are plenty of clues to support that the theme is deeper than that. The Garden of Time refers to an exquisite gem of a short story by J.G. Ballard in which a wealthy Count and his wife stave off the encroaching “rabble” of an approaching mob by plucking the “time flowers” of their garden. Each time one of the flowers is plucked, time moves backward, but they do not have an infinite supply of flowers. All they can do is stave off the inevitable.

It seems that as the Met Gala becomes more and more like a sports match – with ardent fans crowing praise or tossing barbs at celebrities and their looks – that “sticking to the theme” wins the most points. There have been some painful missed opportunities in the past, like Karlie Kloss declaring on Instagram that she was “staring camp right in the face” before showing up on the Met Gala red carpet in the most lackluster dress imaginable (which in turn was such an absurd moment that it did indeed become camp). 

KARLIE KLOSS, MET GALA 2019 | GETTY IMAGES

There have also been myriad triumphs, like Zendaya wearing Joan of Arc armor to the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination-themed gala in 2018 and Vivienne Westwood declaring to camera that “real punks weren’t invited” to the Punk: Chaos and Couture gala of 2013 (which was so very punk of her). If one were to really examine "The Garden of Time" theme beyond its obvious blossoms, they might strike on the ephemera of time. I can think of a few pieces that speak to this: a decaying Maison Martin Margiela overcoat that had been resurrected after burial, and the golden moth dress from the recent Disney Cruella film. One of the best examples can be found in the exhibition itself: a Jonathan Anderson-designed coat that sprouts real grass, accompanied by a timelapse video of its planting and sprouting. They are looks that don’t just transform; they transmogrify.

How did our brave guests fare in the face of social media scrutiny? Those who adhered closest to the theme or put a storytelling interpretation came away with top marks. For instance, Elle Fanning, with her beautiful interpretation of the crystal "time flowers," and Lewis Hamilton, who paid respect to the 18th-century figure John Ystumllyn, the first black gardener in Wales, really won the night. Myriad floral interpretations permeated the red carpet, some better than others. Breakout looks belonged to Gigi Hadid in a statuesque Thom Browne gown that featured elaborate construction, Cardi B in a breathtakingly dramatic Giambattista Valli froth of tulle, and Zendaya in not one, but two extraordinary looks. 

gallery ASHLEY GRAHAM IN LUDOVIC DE SAINT SERNIN | GETTY IMAGES
gallery EMMA CHAMBERLAIN IN JEAN PAUL GAULTIER | GETTY IMAGES
gallery BAD BUNNY IN MAISON MARGIELA ARTISANAL | GETTY IMAGES
gallery JENNIFER LOPEZ IN SCHIAPARELLI COUTURE | GETTY IMAGES
gallery TYLA IN BALMAIN | GETTY IMAGES
gallery LILY JAMES IN ERDEM | GETTY IMAGES
gallery ZENDAYA IN MAISON MARGIELA | GETTY IMAGES
gallery REBECCA FERGUSON IN THOM BROWNE | GETTY IMAGES
gallery AYO EDEBIRI IN LOEWE | GETTY IMAGES
gallery RILEY KEOUGH IN CHANEL | GETTY IMAGES
gallery GIGI HADID IN THOM BROWNE | GETTY IMAGES
gallery GRETA LEE IN LOEWE | GETTY IMAGES
gallery TAYLOR RUSSELL IN LOEWE | GETTY IMAGES
gallery PENELOPE CRUZ IN CHANEL COUTURE | GETTY IMAGES
gallery ELLE FANNING IN BALMAIN | GETTY IMAGES
gallery LILY GLADSTONE IN GABRIELA HEARST | GETTY IMAGES
gallery AMELIA GRAY IN UNDERCOVER | GETTY IMAGES
gallery NICOLE KIDMAN IN BALENCIAGA | GETTY IMAGES
gallery SABRINA CARPENTER IN OSCAR DE LA RENTA | GETTY IMAGES
gallery CARDI B IN GIAMBATTISTA VALLI | GETTY IMAGES
gallery ANOK YAI IN CUSTOM SWAROVSKI | GETTY IMAGES
gallery IMAAN HAMMAN IN CUSTOM SWAROVSKI | GETTY IMAGES
gallery SYDNEY SWEENEY IN MIU MIU | GETTY IMAGES
gallery LEWIS HAMILTON IN BURBERRY | GETTY IMAGES
gallery ZENDAYA IN VINTAGE GIVENCHY BY JOHN GALLIANO | GETTY IMAGES
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