Some A-list attendees, though, interpreted the theme through the lens of marginalized people whose labor made the Gilded Age of the late 19th century so prosperous for White Americans. Read on for what made these looks so meaningful to the celebrities who wore them.
Gabrielle Union’s subtle nod to the Gilded Age’s Black communities
Gabrielle Union’s Versace dress was designed to look like a gown the late pioneer Diahann Carroll once wore. Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Gabrielle Union, in a silver Versace gown with a feathery train and an oversized red bloom on her waist, glittered at the Met Gala in an homage to the unsung Black Americans of the Gilded Age.
“When you think about the Gilded Age and Black and brown people in this country, this country is built off of our backs, our blood, sweat and tears,” Union told red carpet host LaLa Anthony. “So we added these red crystals to represent the blood spilled during the accumulation of gross wealth by a few during the Gilded Age, off of the backs of Black people and people of color in this country.”
Riz Ahmed honors 19th century immigrant workers
Riz Ahmed, in a simple look modeled after 19th century workclothes, said he wanted to honor immigrant workers. Credit: John Shearer/Getty Images
“It’s what makes the city run,” he said of the immigrant communities who’ve long been integral to the success of New York and other metropolitan areas throughout history. “Just trying to celebrate and elevate that immigrant culture.”
Sarah Jessica Parker highlights a 19th-century Black designer
Sarah Jessica Parker’s Christopher John Rogers gown was modeled after an outfit made by Elizabeth Hodds Keckly, a Black designer who worked in the 19th century. Credit: Taylor Hill/Getty Images
Questlove’s coat was designed by Black women quilters in Alabama
Questlove’s coat was designed with the help of Black women quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue