The Met Gala 2022's political statements

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·6-min read
Some stars chose the Met Gala red carpet to make political statements. (Getty Images)
Some stars chose the Met Gala red carpet to make political statements. (Getty)

Every year the Met Gala is the ultimate red-carpet spectacle as stars up their fashion game to descend on the famous steps in New York for the hugely glamorous evening.

But as well as using the iconic event as an opportunity to showcase some bold sartorial choices, some of the A-list also use the red carpet platform to make a political statement and last night was no different.

This year’s Met Gala theme based on the museum’s exhibition, In America: An Anthology of Fashion, provided celebrities with plenty of fodder to express their opinions through their outfits.

But the 'Gilded Glamour and White Tie’ theme, which pays tribute to the period of rapid growth and development in America from 1870 to 1890, didn't come without criticism with many pointing out it was somewhat jarring with the current state of the global economy.

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Among those using the ‘gilded glamour’ brief as a chance to reflect on the history of American fashion and the role immigrants have played was Sarah Jessica Parker.

The And Just Like That star opted to honour the theme with an incredible outfit that paid homage to Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, who made history as the first Black female fashion designer in the White House.

Hobbs Keckley was a former slave who moved from Virginia to Washington DC in 1860 and went on to become the official dressmaker to first lady Mary Todd Lincoln.

Sarah Jessica Parker's outfit paid homage to Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, who made history as the first Black female fashion designer in the White House. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue )
Sarah Jessica Parker's outfit paid homage to Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, who made history as the first Black female fashion designer in the White House. (Getty)

In tribute to her achievements, Jessica Parker employed designer Christopher John Rogers to recreate a dress by Hobbs Keckley.

“The idea was to highlight the dichotomy between the extravagant, over-the-top proportions of the time period, and the disparity that was happening in America at the time,” Rogers told Vogue.

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Riz Ahmed said he was “trying to elevate and celebrate working-class immigrants.” (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
Riz Ahmed said he was “trying to elevate and celebrate working-class immigrants.” (Getty)

Meanwhile, with his paired back look, which consisted of a T-shirt and worker’s shirt Riz Ahmed said he was “trying to elevate and celebrate working-class immigrants.”

“This is an homage to the immigrant workers who kept the Gilded Age going,” he said.

Other celebrities, including Billie Eilish and Camila Cabello, used the industrial revolution-based theme as an opportunity to draw attention to the issue of climate change.

Eilish wore a custom Gucci corseted gown, that the fashion brand said on Instagram was made entirely from upcycled materials – “so we didn't have to waste a bunch of stuff.”

“I just wanted to be as eco-friendly as possible,” Eilish said on the red carpet.

Billie Eilish drew attention to the issue of climate change with her upcycled dress. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)
Billie Eilish drew attention to the issue of climate change with her upcycled dress. (Getty)
Camila Cabello wanted to highlight climate change too. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Camila Cabello wanted to highlight climate change too. (FilmMagic)

Cabello also opted to attend the event in a “completely upcycled” white dress because “Gilded Age is irony,” she said. “The age of industrialism and materialism has got us into a climate crisis."

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to make something of a statement with her fiery, red gown by designer Joseph Altuzarra.

In an interview with the red carpet Vogue hosts, Clinton explained that her dress was hand-embroidered with the names of “gutsy” American women of the 19th and 20th century liberation movements, including Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt.

"I think we're all happy to be back together, supporting the museum and the Costume Institute – and also celebrating not just the fashion, but the spirit of America," Clinton added.

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Hillary Clinton's dress was hand embroidered with the names of “gutsy” American women of the 19th and 20th century liberation movements (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton's dress was hand embroidered with the names of “gutsy” American women of the 19th and 20th century liberation movements (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

New York Mayor Eric Adams, used his debut Met red carpet to highlight gun crime, with the back of his coat having “End Gun Violence” emblazoned in red lettering.

Ahead of the Gala, Adams' office confirmed his attendance to the New York Times, stating: "While he will celebrate American fashion, he also recognises the fraught history of the Gilded Age."

Less of a political statement and more of a tribute, singer Alicia Keys wore a shimmering gown which paid homage to New York union history.

The black and silver gown by Ralph Lauren featured a black cape which was adorned with a glittering silhouette of the entire city skyline.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, wore a jacket with
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, wore a jacket with "End Gun Violence". (Getty)

"FOREVER. #MetGala with @ralphlauren and @keyssoulcare," she captioned an Instagram post with some images of her incredible outfit.

"We really wanted to bring New York to the gala," she told Vogue on the red carpet.

Other attendees used the Met Gala 2022 to show their support for the current crisis in Ukraine.

Alicia Keys had the New York city skyline on her dress. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Alicia Keys had the New York city skyline on her dress. (FilmMagic)

World of Interiors editor, Hamish Bowles, who looked vintage-dapper in a three-piece suit and cane, took time to say: “Tonight our hearts are with the people of Ukraine and the victims of war and displacement around the world.”

It isn't the first time stars have used the Met Gala carpet to make political statements either.

Making his Met debut last year, Schitts Creek star Daniel Levy took the opportunity to draw attention to LGBTQ+ rights by wearing an elaborate outfit, which featured two men kissing on the front while shaped as maps.

“A big heartfelt thank you to @cartier for so generously welcoming and accessorising me tonight,” he wrote on Instagram.

“What I’ve so long admired about the Costume Institute is its commitment to educate and inspire people through fashion.

“We wanted to celebrate queer love and visibility, while also presenting the imagery in a way that offered a hopeful message,” he wrote.

Hamish Bowles expressed his support for those caught up in the crisis in Ukraine. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Hamish Bowles expressed his support for those caught up in the crisis in Ukraine. (Getty)

Meanwhile, last year's event provided Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a chance to send a bold message with her dress.

The Democratic congresswoman, made her Met debut wearing a white gown by Brother Vellies with the political slogan 'Tax the Rich' emblazoned across the back in red lettering.

She completed the outfit with a pair of red shoes and a bag with the same words.

"It's really about having a real conversation," Ocasio-Cortez said about the inspiration behind the statement. "It's about fairness and equity in our system and I think that this conversation is particularly relevant."

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