Met Gala 2022: Is All That Glitters Gold?


photo by Hello Magazine

Blake Lively’s 2022 Met Gala gown went through a stunning transformation halfway through the event!

by Anelina Alegre

The Met Gala, also referred to as “fashion’s biggest night out,” takes place annually at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is an exhibition where celebrities have the chance to show off bold or eccentric fashion statements, designed by the brands that sponsor them. To receive a Met Gala invite is a great honor, since the event is considered the world’s most prestigious fashion event. Each year has a different theme that inspires the design of each outfit, and the Gala is known to be extravagant and memorable.

This year’s highly anticipated Met Gala featured the theme Gilded Glamour, asking the attendees to “embody the grandeur of Gilded Age New York.” So what exactly does Gilded Glamor mean? According to Wion News, the theme refers to the Gilded Age, a period of time between 1870 and 1900 characterized by excess, opulence, and wealthy exhibition.

One celebrity that exuberantly honored the Gilded Glamour theme was Blake Lively with her New York inspired dress. She captivated everyone on the red carpet with not just one, but two extravagant gown designs. Her dress transformed halfway through the event from a shimmery rose gold to a shiny blue skirt. (see featured image)

“I thought instead of looking to fashion to influence the dress, I looked to New York City architecture and the classic buildings,” Lively told reporters on the red carpet that day. Her dress represented the Statue of Liberty, with her costume change reflecting how the Statue’s shiny copper had oxidized over the ages into its now green color. Lively’s crown also has seven tiers, a tribute to Lady Liberty’s seven sun rays.

However, wealthy glamor isn’t the only aspect of the Gilded Age. The term “gilded” refers to something shiny and gold on the outside, but rotten on the inside.

There is one characteristic about the Gilded Age that goes overlooked in this year’s Met Gala theme: wealth inequality. The Gilded Age’s rapid industrialization led to a massive gap between the rich and poor. Ironically—in alignment with this Met Gala’s theme—a study according to CBS news shows that “the gaps in wealth between rich and poor Americans ‘are close to those observed at the beginning of the 20th century’.” Just like the Gilded Age, the economic disparity in wealth classes is just as large as it was a century ago. 

Scraps of the red carpet being “generously” handed out to an eager sidewalk crowd. (photo by @ilovetimothee via TikTok)

A humorous example of the massive wealth gap can be seen in a video circulating TikTok by user ilovetimothee. In the video, Met Gala employees were tossing scraps of the red carpet to a gathering crowd, with people lining up and camping outside the Met Gala revenue just to snag a piece. Users in the comments point out the fact that these people were so eager to have a piece of ground that celebrities walk on is very reflective of the class divide during the Gilded Age. One user commented, “the irony is hilarious, but also really concerning.”

The 2022 Met Gala will undoubtedly be remembered not only for the celebrities’ extravagant fashion, but also for its theme’s references to America’s epochal history, the Gilded Age.