2022 Met Gala Recap: Who Nailed The Theme?

Though “the first Monday in May” this year was actually preceded by September’s rescheduling of 2021’s event not six months ago, this year’s Met Gala managed to maintain its springtime allure. First of all, the theme: only the most eagle-eyed of fashion watchers will have caught Vogue’s official style directive: “gilded glamour and white tie.” According to Vogue, white tie originated in the Victorian Era, before gaining prominence in – you guessed it — America’s Gilded Age, during which it became “the definitive formal dress of the upper echelon.” The Gilded Age itself was a two-decade celebration of the upper crust. From 1870 to 1890, the world was ruled by laissez-faire economic policies which meant that families like the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Vanderbilts, and Astors were free to dominate their respective industries by way of vertical monopolies and celebrate the excesses of their wealth with fabulous parties. Just a few blocks from the Met itself sits the Frick Collection, Gilded Age Industrialist Henry Clay Frick’s residence during the era, a perfect example of the bounties wealth back then brought. This year’s guests and the designers who dressed them all seemed to interpret the theme in different ways, but, in the spirit of Vogue’s sartorial suggestion, we’ll be rounding up our favorite looks according to who actually stayed on theme. Read on for our five favorites.

Alicia Keys

As a scion of American fashion, whose foray into fashion was openly inspired by the opulence of high society, it’s unsurprising that Ralph Lauren, dressing Alicia Keys, killed the theme. Lauren and Keys nailed it on multiple levels: first, New York was the epicenter of the Gilded Age, so it’s only natural that a garment in its honor would pay homage; second, it was the era in which the feverish construction of skyscrapers began and took off, so a cityscape makes perfect sense; and finally, the dress is a glamorous and beautiful garment in its own right. As we judge these looks, we’re looking at them through this lens: would this dress have worked in the actual Gilded Age? And the answer here is a resounding yes.

Hailey Bieber

Hailey Bieber has a habit of looking immaculate in whatever she wears, and, given her longtime partnership with Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello clearly knows what works for her. Her glamorous, feather-trimmed dress and its dramatic train wouldn’t have looked out of place at a Gilded Age Gala, especially considering the era’s propensity for combined textures (fur trim was particularly popular). In Vogue’s words, "women’s dresses often featured a combination of many textiles…[like] lace, bows, frills, and ruffles. (The unofficial edict? The more going on, the better)” In that case, Bieber nailed it.


Though Stormzy’s interpretation of white tie was literal, and not technical, we’d call his first Met Gala appearance a win. Resplendent in a white Burberry three-piece ensemble with a powder-grain wool cape, GQ described Stormzy’s Ricardo Tisci-designed look as “ecclesiastical,” but we’d consider the cape more of a nod to Gilded Age grandeur and the color a cheeky nod to the white tie theme. And a quick note to all those still insisting that there was too much white on last night’s red carpet: historically, wearing white has been seen as a sign of wealth, an indication back in the day that one did not have to do any labor that would dirty their clothes. So yes, white is a go for the Gilded Age.

Blake Lively

As a co-host of the Gala, we’d expect Blake Lively to dress according to the brief, and we’re thrilled to note that she delivered. While it isn’t our favorite choice when it comes to contrasting colors, we have to give a hat tip to Blake for a number of areas where she paid perfect tribute: her elbow-length evening gloves (which were disappointingly sparse on last night’s carpet), her contrasting fabrics, her detailed embroidery, and, of course, her tiara. And, for an evening that referenced an era of high drama and grandeur, her train reveal as she ascended the stairs wouldn’t have felt out of place at an Astor ball.

Anna Wintour

So few Met Gala best-dressed lists ever pay their respects to the undisputed winner of the evening: Ms. Wintour herself. First and foremost, as the woman who sets the theme, she undoubtedly gets it right each and every time. Gilded Glamour was one of our personal favorites: Wintour’s Chanela look, which has it all: contrasting textiles, feathers, and a cape. She even decided to forgo her signature sunglasses in favor of a more thematic accessory: the tiara. Only fitting for the Met Gala’s true queen.