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What Was the 2022 Met Gala Theme?

Walk, walk, fashion baby.

party is war on gilded age beat the rich by being richer

The Met Gala is one of the biggest days in fashion for the year. It’s traditionally held on the first Monday in May (though last year’s event happened in September because of COVID-19 delays0. Celebrities and fashion designers bring their A games for the charity event, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City.

Fashion looks range from the extravagant to the controversial to the strange. But whatever the outfits are, they leave the internet buzzing for weeks. The designs usually represent the year’s theme. The 2022 theme was In America: An Anthology of Fashion. It focuses more on the history of fashion in America, as opposed to last year’s theme which wanted the future of fashion.

Dress code: Gilded Glamour and White Tie

This year’s event is billed as very formal with “Gilded Glamour and White Tie” being the dress code (last year was “American Independence”). If you are familiar with HBO’s fantastic historical drama The Gilded Age (if you aren’t, I highly recommend watching it), you might have an idea of what that is. The Gilded Age (1870-1900) exemplified American wealth and extravagance. From architecture to fashion, everything got bigger and better to showcase wealth.

For fashion, it was a time of corsets, bustles, hats, and gloves. At a ball, subtleness took a backseat to the imagination. Long bustle trains covered in flowers? Sure! Brocade and tassels? Why not? Live birds as accessories? The more the merrier! A taxidermy cat on your head? I can’t see why I wouldn’t. Please note, that these were all actual costumes worn during the Gilded Age.

Is it the right theme for 2022?

The Met Gala has stated they wanted this to be a year of inclusivity and what it means to be an American. However, controversy over the gilded theme had people asking if the theme was appropriate. Gilded means “covered thinly with gold” and is synonymous with wealth.

Besides interesting fashion choices, the Gilded Age was the time of Robber Barons (businessmen who used exploitative methods to gain wealth) and one of the biggest gaps in American wealth. Many experts have claimed that we are currently living in a second Gilded Age, complete with our own Big Tech Robber Barons. We are going through one of the highest levels of economic and social justice inequalities since the Gilded Age.

Some say the theme is giving heavy “Let them eat cake” vibes. I say, let’s have a night of celebrities in insanely ostentatious outfits. After, we strap on our boots and start the second Progressive Era.

(featured image: HBO)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. She fangirls over the X-Men, folklore podcasts, and historical fantasy. When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse and offspring.