Commentary: The hits and misses of “American Independence”

Billie Eilish serving a look inspired by Holiday Barbie at the 2021 Met Gala. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The 2021 Met Gala was possibly one of the most confusing Met Galas I’ve ever seen. 

The high-fashion event took place on Sept. 13 and had fewer participants this year due to its vaccine mandate.

The theme for the event was “American Independence,” a theme that, ultimately, proved to be too vague, as attendees and their respective designers either presented their designs in a multitude of ways or simply ignored the theme entirely.

I’m looking at you, Channing Tatum. 

There aren’t many looks from this year’s Met Gala that truly match the theme. 

For those who did follow the theme, interpretations seem to fall into four categories.

Barbie Ferreira serving a look inspired by flapper girls from the 1920s at the 2021 Met Gala. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Old Hollywood: Looks inspired by the golden and silver ages of cinema

There are a surprising number of looks from the evening that fit into this category, most notable Barbie Ferreira and Yara Shahdi, who had two gorgeous interpretations of the 1920s flapper styles. Billie Eilish and Emily Blunt, who wore costumes inspired by Holiday Barbie and Hedy Lamarr, also stood out. As a huge fan of this era, all of those looks left stars in my eyes and easily won the night.

Lupita Nyong’o showcases a chic and elegant denim look at the 2021 Met Gala. (John Shearer/Getty Images)

Denim: Outfits where the main material was denim

There was one look in this category that absolutely won the entire evening — Lupita Nyong’o in her Versace denim gown. The look was clean, elegant and so incredibly chic, while also remaining true to the theme. If America had a queen, it easily would be Nyong’o.

On the other end of the spectrum, there were some major flops, such as K-Pop singer CL, whose outfit was composed of a large piece of pale denim fabric. It was tied at her chest and bunched up around her arms and mimicked what looked like a high-waisted diaper. 

I don’t think I need to say just how bad it was, as a diaper alone says it all.

Kim Petras puts out a “horse girl” look, which should be put to pasture for its sheer ridiculousness. (John Shearer/Getty Images)

Western: Outfits inspired by the wild west

This was yet another category where some people knocked it out of the park and others got lost on their way to the baseball field.

Celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh clearly understood the assignment and presented elegant, modern interpretations of cowboys. 

But there were also looks, like Shawn Mendes’ leather ensemble that just seemed to miss the mark.

Kim Petras’ “horse girl” look should be put to pasture for the sheer ridiculousness of it. While the dress’s pattern and Petras’ hair and makeup were beautiful, one simply cannot look past the cold undead eyes of the horse head glued to her chest, begging for help.

Dan Levy wore a rhinestoned suit with large ruffles and two men kissing as a message of 2SLGBTQIA+ pride. (John Shearer/Getty Images)

Political Statements: Outfits that confronted social issues

The Met Gala would not be the Met Gala without at least one outfit that encouraged discussion. This year was no exception. 

Both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cara Delevingne wore crisp, white outfits paired with bold, red text that demanded attention. Ocasio-Cortez’s off-the-shoulder, mermaid gown read “Tax the Rich” on the back, while Delevingne sported a two-piece ensemble that read “Peg the Patriarchy.” While the outfits wouldn’t be anything special on their own, the text on them made the looks Met Gala-worthy.

Dan Levy also wore a political piece that the public, including myself, can’t seem to agree on whether it looked good or not. The garment was a rhinestoned suit with large ruffles going down the arms. The front showed two men kissing over the pattern of a map.

While the look appeared to aim for a message of LGBTQ2IA+ pride, it gets clouded by all the other elements.

Overall, the Met Gala this year was “meh.” The theme seemed to confuse almost everyone, and while there were definitely some stellar appearances, this year was not one that will be remembered amongst the greats.