The next Met Gala would be in May, presumably. No one can say if the conflict in Ukraine will end by then. So it is unsurprising that many are appalled by this year’s theme: Gilded Glamour
Would any guest be choosing Schiaparelli’s on-theme spring/summer 2022 couture coat?
Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times excitedly shared on Twitter, two hours ago, a “scoop: and the next Met Gala celeb co-chairs are… Regina King, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Honorary chairs Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Moressi (sic) and Anna Wintour. Theme is ‘Gilded Glamour.’ Point is: this one is going to be very dressed-up indeed.” About the same time, CNN online filed a ‘Live Update’ that said “recent drone incidents has (sic) amplified concerns Russia’s war in Ukraine could spill over into NATO countries”. Not long before that, we learned of the artillery attack on the Mariupol theater, where hundreds of city folks hid as the Russian military laid siege to the city. But, the show that is the Met Gala must go on. War is still on our minds, but some people will be thinking of getting “very dressed-up”? Are we wrong to believe that the upcoming Met Gala’s theme borders on the insensitive?
It is possible that Anna Wintour is unable to forget those who did not bother with last year’s theme. Did she not forgive Kim Kardashian for appearing in that black thing, head totally encased? Or, Troye Sivan in a low-cut tank-dress that could have been picked up at Forever 21 as he made his way to the museum. Or, A$AP Rocky swathed in someone’s grandma’s beloved craft project? And to prevent a shameful recurrence, she ordained that glitzy shall dominate the whatever-colour carpet! But we are not out of a pervasive pandemic. And there’s that niggling conflict in Ukraine that President Joe Biden has called “aggression (that) cannot go unanswered”. Yet, the Met Gala prefers to tune all that out. Gilded Glamour clearly has a better ring than Wartime Austerity.
This year’s theme is really a continuation of last year’s—the first of a two-parter that saluted the good ’ol US of A, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. Gilded Glamour is homage to The Gilded Age, an era of unprecedented economic growth in the US, between 1870 and 1900. It was Mark Twain who coined the phrase “The Gilded Age” in his 1873 novel of the same name (co-written with Charles Dudley Warner). While prosperity pervaded America in those years, it was greed that guided (and gilded!) the politicians, the bankers, and the industrialists into a life of still-talked-about excess and opulence, all at the expense of the working class. Poverty and inequality were, unsurprisingly, widespread. As Mark Twain suggested: Gilded is only a patina; it is not gold. How the Met Gala exemplifies that.