Amidst tensions around coronavirus and a missed Met Gala last year, celebrities gathered on the red carpet last night to celebrate American Independence through fashion. This year’s controversial inclusion of TikTok stars ruffled a few feathers, and the postponing of the event from May until September only added to the hype.

I was a casual follower of the Met Gala until the 2018 theme, Heavenly Bodies, caught my attention. The glittering jewels and religious iconography showed me the incredible spectacle fashion can be. In preparation for 2019’s Camp theme, I devoured Susan Sontag’s Notes on Camp, ready and waiting to analyse the Gala’s outfits as well as someone with absolutely no experience in fashion could. 

However, the announcement of this year’s theme left me sceptical. I wondered if the many different potential interpretations would result in a disjointed whole. While this worked for the Camp Gala – the nature of the topic being “playful, anti-serious” and open to expression – the importance of a strong and well-organised theme can’t be underestimated. If the stars are dressed cohesively but still manage to shine individually, my viewing experience becomes all the more enjoyable.

Here are some of the outfits that captured the theme perfectly for me, and some that missed the mark. I’ve tried to include at least a couple that aren’t inspired by Old Hollywood, but I can’t ignore my film student roots completely. 

Ella Emhoff

Ella Emhoff at 2021 met gala
Theo Wargo/ Getty Images

This monochromatic number gets better the more you look at it. The cinched waist, baggy trousers, rhinestone detailing and slicked-back hair make it one of my favourites of the night.

Anok Yai

Anok Yai at the 2021 Met Gala | Every Look From the 2021 Met Gala Red  Carpet That We Can't Stop Talking About (So Far) | POPSUGAR Fashion Photo 68
Getty / Dimitrios Kambouris

Flashy and eye-catching, Anok Yai pairs diamonds and feathers with an understated hairdo in a nod to Old Hollywood glamour.

Ben Platt 

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Sporting a tasteful denim suit (three words I thought I would never say) Ben Platt shows off his accessories – matching nails, rings and gorgeous platform shoes. 


Matt Baron/Shutterstock

The queen herself wore an embellished outfit made from repurposed antiques. The coins, sequins and embroidery add character and flair, and the fit is stunning.

Yara Shahidi

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

A reference to 1920’s singer and actress Josephine Baker, the elegance of this outfit and the delicate detailing on the dress and gloves have my entire heart. The curl in the centre of her forehead is the icing on the cake.

And some I loved a little less…

ASAP Rocky

AOC Attends Met Gala in 'Tax the Rich' Gown | Time
Taylor Hill–WireImage

In her explanation of the night’s theme, Anna Wintour described it as “a patchwork, reflecting the world we’re all living in, as seen through many different lenses.”

ASAP Rocky’s very literal interpretation does not, to me, scream American Independence, nor does it have anything to do with fashion.

Kim Petras

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

I am normally a big fan of Kim Petras and her electro-pop charm. This outfit is, unfortunately, very bad.

I can’t say that this year’s theme was my favourite. However, the best outfits managed to capture an elegance and taste, reminding viewers how enjoyable the spectacle of fashion can be.

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Featured image: Getty Images