A history of celebrities making political statements at the Met Gala
The Met Gala hosts scores of famous musicians, actors and even politicians each year. Some guests view the fashion event as an opportunity to make political statements en vogue
The Met Gala is an opportunity for some of the biggest names in fashion to get their names out there, by way of celebrities showing off their looks. For some well-known names, they have utilized the event to send a message by way of political statement.
This year’s theme is around the late creative designer Karl Lagerfeld, and will be held in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. A theme centered around the controversial designer who proclaimed himself a “big mouth” and made several infamous comments regarding gay people, sexual assault survivors, refugees and “ugly” people, The Associated Press reported.
Actress and activist Jameela Jamil announced her displeasure at the event being centered around the “big mouth” designer on her Instagram account.
“What happened to everyone’s principles and ‘advocacy.’ You don’t get to stand for justice in these areas, and then attend the celebration of someone who reveled in his own public disdain for marginalized people,” Jamil wrote on Instagram in October when the theme was announced.
Who made political statements at the Met Gala 2022?
One of the first and most memorable was actress and writer Lena Waithe wore a rainbow-colored cape to support the LGBTQ+ community in 2018. “I’m repping my community, and I want everybody to know that you can be whoever you are, and be completely proud, and be doing it,” Waithe told Vogue.
Waithe also made political statements with her costumes sharing more tributes to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the Black community.
Last year’s theme was “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” focusing on the Gilded Age. Some guests view the event as an opportunity to make political statements en vogue.
One of the most notable appearances came from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who attended the gala for the first time in 21 years. The former secretary of state wore a gown with the names of famous female leaders she admires embroidered into the collar, including names such as Madeleine Albright, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman and her own mother, Dorothy Rodham.
Joseph Altuzarra, the designer of the dress, told Vogue, “When someone like Hillary goes to The Met, it’s not just, like, ‘There’s Hillary at The Met and she’s wearing a dress.’ It has a lot of significance. I felt like I had to be very thoughtful about what the dress would mean to the theme and to the occasion.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams sported a suit jacket with a bold call to “End Gun Violence.” Adams is a gun control advocate, but has received backlash for his approach to how to curb gun violence, per The New York Times.
When Eric Adams says ending gun violence what he means is reestablishing the same violent police unit that was disbanded for racially profiling and brutalizing people, and passionately defending one of his officers shooting an 18 year old in the head for running a red light pic.twitter.com/wuWVlm00TI— Olayemi Olurin (@msolurin) May 2, 2022
Actor Riz Ahmed dressed in simplistic garb, as a “love letter” to immigrant workers in America.
“Part of what I really value about this place are the waves of immigrants and workers that have kind of kept this city running,” Ahmed told GQ.
Musical artist Billie Eilish had a sustainability and climate care message, requesting a dress that was made from already existing fabrics. “I just wanted to be as eco-friendly as possible,” she told Billboard.
Camila Cabello, another musical artist, also wore a dress made from sustainable materials.
A more subtle nod came from “And Just Like That” actress Sarah Jessica Parker. She paid homage to Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, who was the first Black female fashion designer in the White House.
For the 2021 Met Gala, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a memorable white dress with the message “Tax The Rich” painted in red on the back by designer Aurora James.
The 2019 Met Gala hosted multiple guests who offered their own statements supporting the LGBTQ+ community during the year with “camp” as a theme. Those included Dan Levy, Megan Rapinoe and Waithe sporting a jacket that said, “Black drag queens invented camp.”
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., sported her own political statement gown with banners calling for voters to say yes to the Equal Rights Amendment.
Proceeds from the popular gala go to The Metropolitan Costume Institute and serves as an opening celebration for the institute’s yearly fashion exhibit.