STATE OF THE UNION: THE MET BALL 2015

Every year when the Met Ball rolls around it takes me a minute or two to remember what the event is actually for. With such a plethora of annual events that involve celebrities strutting down red carpets, I forget that the Met Ball is a fundraising gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute and is formally known as the 'Costume Institute Gala'. Ah, that's right! The celebrities in attendance are supposed to be costumed based on a specific theme, with 2015's being 'China: Through The Looking Glass'.

With a theme like this, I braced myself for a barrage of comments online drawing attention to cultural appropriation and an equally loud presence denouncing this. I didn't have a lot of confidence in Hollywood to follow this theme respectfully, as Western fascination with Eastern culture often translates in a crude, borderline-offensive way. Rather than learning about traditional practices and culture in a foreign place, it's easier to jump off from Western stereotypes about silk and dragons. Despite my lack of confidence, the Met Ball attendees did relatively well in being respectful of the theme.

I'm not going to write an entire paragraph here on why your fave is potentially problematic, y'all should be able to school yourselves in cultural appropriation. Onwards, to the outfits.

 

THAT'S HOT

BADGALRIRI

Although I had more than one person in my Twitter feed complaining that she looked like an omelette cracked into a pan, she was by far the best dressed of the night, in my humble opinion. Sorry to the steadfast Beyoncé fans who will always side with Queen Bey, but Rihanna simply did it better. She looked regal – like an empress of everyone else in attendance. She looked like a cross between royalty and a Mortal Kombat character, with the headpiece and seemingly airbrushed skin. The dramatics of her cape (which she needed multiple people to carry so she could move) were almost enough for me, but she was one of the only attendees who actually bothered to wear a Chinese designer, with her flowing cape designed by Guo Pei. Honourable mention to the afterparty she threw at Up & Down where she proved that she makes a blunt in hand look natural anywhere.

 

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FAN BINGBING

It's perhaps understandable that a Chinese actress would show up wearing a Chinese designer, but it's so nice to see Fan Bingbing wearing Christopher Bu on the red carpet at this event. Wearing an auspicious gold dress and an emerald cape adorned with blues, reds and more gold, she looked elegant and was a perfect example of how to dress to the theme.

 

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ZENDAYA

When I hear her name I have awful flashbacks to being at home with my brothers and sisters and suffering through episodes of 'Shake It Up' on the Disney Channel if I chose to actually spend time with my family. Despite my ingrained hatred for that show, Zendaya has truly come into her own and is one of my favourite people to watch on the red carpet. Although I feel like she was serving up some sun-mystic astrology loving energy rather than anything relating to the theme, she looks better than most other attendees – who seem to be playing it deliberately safe so as not to be offensive. Please don't hate me for putting something so asymmetrical in my top picks, she just looks like a goddess that has come down from Mt. Olympus and I want her to smite me.

 

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THAT'S NOT

SJP'S HEADGEAR

I honestly don't know what the fuck Sarah Jessica Parker was going for with this. Chinese New Year? Flames because dragons? She paired this flaming statement piece with a vaguely "oriental" one-sleeve silk dress, with one vertical line of patterning. I feel like I'm usually in the fashion minority when it comes to SJP though, everyone seems to be under some 'Sex And The City' spell and are constantly amazed by what she's wearing in any situation. She isn't actually Carrie Bradshaw, and I think she tends to miss the mark more than she hits it. The internet at large seemed to find her choice of Met Ball costume hilarious, and a variety of memes have been churned out to address this.

 

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KATY PERRY TRYING TO DO SOMETHING ONCE AGAIN

Katy Perry showed up wearing matching outfits from the latest Moschino line with designer Jeremy Scott looking like they'd come from a rave in a carpark where they were tweaking so hard they thought it would be an awesome idea to spray paint their outfits. She's effectively wearing a nightmare prom dress and those gloves are making my eye twitch. My garage rave hypothesis is the only thing that makes sense to me at this stage, it would certainly help to explain the bizarre choice of wig as well. I get it Kitty Kat K Pez, you wanna be *different* and *outrageous* but all you do is constantly give me a headache.

 

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HONOURABLE MENTION

THE DICK ON FKA TWIGS' DRESS

I love how FKA twigs looks like she's wearing a piece of art, rather than a dress (thanks Christopher Kane). People haven't been commenting on whether the dress is good or bad though, instead just debating whether or not that image on her dress is a dick or not. Spoiler alert: it is.

 

FKA-Twigs

 

BEYONCÉ/JLO/KIM K

These three all went for sheer, revealing, patterned and tight. Are they all blending into one person? Who knows? To be honest, whenever I see anything like this my mind does an instant #TBT to Britney Spears' video for 'Toxic'. So, no point debating who stole whose look here. Britney is the real victim in all of this.

 

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Sorry for not including you in this pic, J.Lo.

 

All in all, this year's Met Ball was relatively boring. Despite the potential for a complete shitshow considering the theme, it seems like the world is slowly coming to terms with what the words "cultural appropriation" mean, and nobody wanted to put a toe out of line on the red carpet. There was a lot of silk and auspicious gold and red, but nothing overtly offensive, aside from SJP's headgear. Does this mean that Hollywood is starting to recognise privilege? I guess we'll have to wait until the next event to find out.

1 comment

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