New York State of Mind: Gilded Glamour


Natalie Salmon

Blake Lively’s unfolding train symbolizing the Statue of Liberty rusting through the ages of sustained American Liberty.

Meghan Carr, Contributing Writer

Returning to fashion tradition after two years, the annual ‘Met Monday’ took place this past May 2. The Metropolitan Museum of New York made a significant comeback with the theme this year, part 2 of the exhibition In America: An Anthology of Fashion coined “Gilded Glamour”. The first part 1, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, took place this past September, which I recapped in a past article

The title this year pays homage to the Gilded Age (1870-1900) in which society concentrated opulence in the esteemed upper-class, which intensified the wealth and achievement gap. Vetements projected such lavishes with jewel-toned gowns, body-contouring bustiers, swathes of silk, and other scarce materials. New York City was the epicenter of the era. 

Our current age of materialism and interconnectedness, in which idolized celebrities compete to ‘out-post’ each other at a costume ball, has often been compared to the Gilded Age. Some speculate that organizers titled this year’s Met to make people realize that wealth is power and should be used to perpetuate change, not self-image. Such change was highlighted in various sustainable fashion pieces, political statement gowns, and progressive figures such as Hillary Clinton and Elon Musk in attendance. 

But, true to the classically, over-opulent Met Ball, the majority of A-list celebrities put the Glamour to Gilded on the red carpet and exercised a polar opposite interpretation of restraint. Those who went for more modest looks got lost in the glitz. The co-hosts of the evening included actors and actresses: Regina King, Blake Lively and her husband Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

Blake Lively lived up to her high position of the night dressed in a copper Versace gown that unfolded into a blue-green patina, symbolizing the State of Liberty’s rust. Her crown, like Lady Liberty, had 7 spikes, representing the seven seas and continents uniting the earth. Blake’s morphing train detailed constellations on the ceiling of Grand Central Station and architectural shapes on the Empire state building. A picture of her husband Ryan Reynold amazed at his wife went viral on the internet under the hashtag “couple goals”.  

Most attendees ignited popular Gilded Age clothing without any guilt. Evan Mock, Billie Eilish, Lenny Kravitz, and Pamola Elesser sported shaping corsets. Anna Wintour, Hailey Bieber, and Emma Stone were draped in frilly feathers. Kim Kardashian wore Marilyn Monroe’s sparkling bodycon dress. Others channeled more modern style. Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Carey Mulligan, and Chloe Bailey, brought back 24-karat magic with golden gowns. Vanessa Hudgens, Phoebe Dynevor, and Precious Lee all wore black, revealing sheer dresses. 

Many wonder: what happens inside the Met Gala? In brevity, no one truly knows as there is a no phone policy. However, we do know that there is a performer, such as Justin Beiber or Rihanna. Guests look at the pieces of the exhibition before having dinner, in which the table arrangements are highly regarded. Here is this year’s dinner menu and an exclusive look inside the ball. 

Many Hingham High students enjoyed watching the red carpet livestream on T.V. Sophomore Kate Hall comments, “It was really cool seeing all of the amazing looks. My favorite was definitely Blake Lively.” Maeve Moynihan says, “I loved seeing all the celebrities from my favorite TV shows and movies at the gala!” 

Despite the range of interpretations of this year’s theme, attendees encaptivated the fashion industry with their over-the-top ideas of affluence and self-expression. Perhaps, the true intention of “Gilded Glamour” was to rewrite history by projecting the future of fashion. In that way, the classic ‘New York State of Mind’ hasn’t changed much from the Gilded Age. 

As a 16 year old girl, I’m mixed on my reviews of the gala this year. On the one hand, I am slightly disappointed that dressers this year fell prey to the same era of glamour that shielded real issues like income inequality over a century ago. However, high fashion has always been, and most likely will continue, to serve as a gold veneer of society celebrating artistry and creation. It has the ability to unite a diverse collection of people and ideas.