All That Was Gilded and Gay From the 2022 Met Gala

Feature image of Ariana DeBose by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images, Janelle Monaé by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue, and Cara Delevingne by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The first Monday in May is traditionally one of my favorite times of the year, I have what might be considered only “a slightly better than above average” fashion sense, but I do love to sit on my couch in my pajamas and make snarky jokes in my group chat. There is no better event suited for those skills than the annual Met Gala.

You already know what the deal is about the Met Gala — the annual fundraiser, co-sponsored by Anna Wintour and Vogue, supporting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Costume Institute in New York City, that also soft launch’s the Met’s annual fashion exhibit  — so I want to talk a little more about this year’s theme. This year’s gala is part two of the pandemic gala held in September, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” except this time we’re focusing in on Gilded Glamour. Gilded can be taken in a lot of different ways, for sure, but it’s almost always tied to the sparkled ignorance (playful or otherwise) of the elite during a time of great economic inequality.

The lifestyle website Ruush hit the nail on the head with this, defining Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warne’s 1837 use of ‘the gilded age’ (they coined the phrase as the title to their novel) as ” how wealth and glamour was used to conceal the social unrest and turmoil of the era.” And really… have you ever seen a better theme for a Met ball that happened on the exact same night that a leaked Supreme Court decision signaled the soon overturn of Roe v. Wade during the third year of a pandemic and some of the largest economic wealth gaps in US history?

I’m sure Vogue wasn’t intentionally going for irony here, but whew.

Ok let me get off my history lesson soapbox. I am here because some attractive queer humans put on sparkly clothes and so, as is the tradition of our people, I am here to make jokes and fawn and ask them kindly to step on my neck.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the pretty pictures I picked out! I hope they provide joy and laughter and a few of these emojis 👀 👀 ✨ 😻🥵. (And then I hope you give to an abortion fund.)


Ariana DeBose, in Moschino

Ariana DeBose in a gold and black structured gown has her arms open wide on the Met red carpet, she's facing directly at camera

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Celebrating your historic Oscar win by showing up five weeks later to the Met ball dressed as the Oscar?

I C O N  shit.

Mj Rodriguez, in Moschino

Mj Rodriguez in head to toe silvery sleeveless gown with a high neckline, her hands are on her head showing off her silver cap

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

If it’s one thing Mj is going to do, it’s give arms, face, body.

Cynthia Erivo, in Louis Vuitton

Cynthia Erivo smiles in a white head dress and white lace gown with a small brown purse, she shows off her long nails

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

This interpretation of American gilded elegance as an all white lace gown complete with an headdress and a small Louis Vuitton is specifically Black and diasporic and I cannot stop screaming about it because hello!?!??

But because it’s Cynthia, you know we also have to see the nails. We simply must. It’s in femme bylaws (section 36b, clause 2A, directly underneath “how to make her melt”).

A close up of Cynthia Erivo very long black nails with silver and gold rings, hand is resting on her right hip against a white lace gown

Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

OBSESSED WITH THEM.

Lena Waithe, in Versace

Lena Waithe in a blue silk suit styled like Elvis with bedazzled jewels. She has dark brown lipstick and is posing with one leg up and her hands between her legs.

Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

I read or saw somewhere that it’s Versace inspired by Elvis? And sure, it is that.

Janelle Monáe, in Ralph Lauren

Janelle Monáe in a slender long black gown with a train and a silver chain headpiece on the red carpet

Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images

My biggest complaint of the night is that overall, there was so little color? Everyone came in black and white. There is, of course, one exception to this rule. And it’s the android, baby. Because when you wake up like that, color is optional.

Tommy Dorfman, in Christopher Kane

Tommy Dorfman in a dark green long latex gown and latex opera sleeves, her hair is pulled up away from her face, on the red carpet

Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Is Tommy on theme? No. Does Tommy get a pass for coming as Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman?  You know it.

Chef Melissa King, in Thom Brown

Melissa King's hair is behind her ears in a classic tux with a gold hand piece

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

The Autostraddle staff could not be reached for comment at this time. Please respect our privacy.

A close up of Melissa King's knee length black tuxedo shorts with calf high black socks, one sock has white stripes

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Image

Sigh. First Kristen Stewart wore them at the Oscars, now Chef Melissa King at the Met Ball. I have to resign myself that these shorts will be the lesbian formalwear of choice for the next year. Sigh.

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz in all white laughing at the camera.

Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Annie Leibovitz came as your lesbian mom at college graduation who brought edibles for your friends! And we love her for it!

Phoebe Bridgers, in Jonathan Simkhai

Phoebe Bridgers has silver hair to match a sleeveless silver gown that's slim cut and dark red lipstick, on the Met red carpet

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

[Is this a safe space to admit I’m only like 75% certain who Phoebe Bridgers is? Or will that get me fired?] Yay for her.

Tessa Thompson, in Carolina Herrera

Tessa Thompson climbs the stairs on the red carpet at the Met Ball, she's in a 5 tier fluffy pink gown that looks like a five tier cake (it does!), she is smiling.

Photo by NDZ/Star Max/GC Images

Tessa smiles and it’s like I don’t even care she’s not on theme.

Tessa Thompson is sitting on a couch with her feet propped up underneath her fluffy pink gown, showing off thigh high satin pink boots

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

RESPECTFULLY. I’m starving. I can’t breathe.

Dove Cameron, in Iris van Herpen

Dove Cameron has jet black hair and is a mostly see thrown net gown with white bones and thin white angle wings made out of string, she is posing with her face left of camera on the red carpet

Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage

I stared at this for a full five minutes before I realize that Dove is… literally dressed as a dove. (Anyway, stream Boyfriend on Spotify.)

Cara Delevingne, in Dior Haute Couture

Cara Delevingne has on ruby red velvet pants and matching high heels, her legs are crossed. She is carrying a thin black cane. On top she is painted gold, with nipple coverings.

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Ever since that time she wore cornrows in  2018, usually complaining about Cara Delevingne is a time honored tradition of mine on any red carpet, but… this might be my favorite look of the night. It’s astoundingly gay, but also effortless and classy. I don’t know if that’s one of the three horsemen of the apocalypse, or what.

Cardi B, in Versace

Cardi B is in front of a wall made of roses, she is in a gold beaded gown that looks very heavy. Her hair is in a large beehive updo.

Photo by Cindy Ord/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Trust me on this, you want to see it from the back.

A backview of Cardi B in front of a wall made of roses, she is in a gold beaded gown that looks very heavy. Her hair is in a large beehive updo.

Photo by Cindy Ord/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Art. Frame it and put it in the Louvre.

Emma Corrin, in Miu Miu

Emma Corrin in a top hat and a plaid green coat swung over their shoulder, underneath is a black jumper with white thick leggings. They are on the red carpet.

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Princess Diana in a stovepipe top hat and knickers? You know what? I am here for it.


One last thing, Rest In Forever Grace André Leon Talley.


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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 515 articles for us.

10 Comments

  1. From the nyt andre leon talley article:

    “She worked as a cleaning woman at Duke University *but* had a sense of unbreakable faith and immense dignity and style.”

    Eeeeeuuuuuwwwwwwwwwww why “but”??????

    Burn down all the media, fund autostraddle to cover everything.

  2. Ugh I’m sorry to be a grump but I DO NOT like this formal short trend! It’s the Met Gala, you can wear pants! That said, Melissa King is definitely the only person hot enough to pull off Doctor Claw on top, soccer boi on bottom.

    I was underwhelmed by Janelle Monae’s look? I thought she could have gone harder, although I loved the headpiece.

    Appreciate Emma Corrin trying to experiment with fashion as a young up-and-comer but she looked like she was starring in a Smith College production of Oliver!

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