Billie Eilish Had the Best Look of the Night at the Met Gala (but AOC Was a Close Second)

A rundown of the best (and the rest) at everyone’s favorite high-fashion fundraiser

If you thought a Met Gall held on the second Monday in September might be just a poor imitation of the usual proceedings, well, you were wrong.

The Met red carpet was three hours long, with one colorful, glam look after another. Instead of a theme that might invite the outrageous, this year’s theme—”In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”—inspired denim gowns and tuxes; a lot of sparkles and red, white, and blue; and classic-movie-star-style marcel waved hair.

Pardon if we nerd out here, but after a year without a gala, this year’s event felt like the fashion equivalent of a big gulp of water after a hike through the dusty desert.

Golden Girls

All kinds of black-tie fall trends were on display, but metallics were a biggie. One of the most stunning examples was Yara Shahidi’s custom Dior, with a chiffon hooded cape (capes were everywhere) and long, elbow-grazing embroidered opera gloves (also everywhere). Iman wore a brocade Harris Reed bodysuit with major volume thanks to a hula hoop-sized feathered overskirt and matching headpiece. And you could say Zoe Kravitz, who joined boyfriend Channing Tatum inside, was wearing a silver net slip dress by Saint Laurent, but it was so sheer you could barely see it. Kendall Jenner also went for the naked look in a Givenchy crystal illusion gown. Mary J. Blige was part of the bling ring in a gold sequin gown by Peter Dundas. But who stole the show? Of course Lil Nas X, in what looked like a suit of gold armor by Versace.


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Bless the U.S.A.

Sure, it’s a bit on the nose, but red, white, and blue dominated, turning up on Eiza Gonzalez, who wore a red one-sleeved glove Versace gown, and Jennifer Hudson in a lipstick-red gown and cape with a giant red fishtail by AZ Factory (a tribute to designer Alber Elbaz, who passed away earlier this year).


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Megan Fox wore a scarlet Dundas gown kept together with corset lacing, but perhaps the most chic lady in red was Second Daughter Ella Emhoff in Stella McCartney.


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Political Influence

Emhoff wasn’t the only member of the political crowd to hit up the event. From the front, it looked like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had shown up in a stunning if simple strapless, fishtail white gown, but from the back, her Aurora James creation was emblazoned with a bold message: “TAX THE RICH.” That’s one way to cause a stir at an event packed with rich people.

The always-daring Cynthia Erivo wore a structured white bra top (lots of those on the red carpet) and skirt by Jeremy Scott for Moschino. Lorde also went with a two-piece look, a white Bode jacket and skirt with a bit of print embellishment and a pearls-and-jewels headpiece. Donatella Versace, who wouldn’t miss a Met Gala no matter the theme, donned an all-white version of her usual S&M black, strappy look. And among those channeling Marilyn Monroe: SNL’s Chloe Fineman, who wore a Seven Year Itch-reminiscent look from Tory Burch with red lips and blond waves.


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The Guys

There were lots of male peacocks at the Met, but two of the best dressed stepped out in all-white evening suits: director/producer Lee Daniels in a cream Prada layered look, and Timothée Chalamet, one of the evening’s co-chairs, in a white silk-satin Haider Ackerman non-tailored semi-suit, the pants leg ruching at the ankle like sweatpants, paired with white Converse. Honestly, it’s a race to see if it’ll be Chalamet or Harry Styles who gets the crown for being best dressed man on the planet.

The Best

Our favorite look of the night belonged to fashion chameleon Billie Eilish, who absolutely stunned in a fairytale princess pale peach Oscar de la Renta gown that took up more room than all of Lady Gaga’s Met outfits put together. An actual Cinderella at an actual ball.  Eilish also wore Marilyn-style waves (by spring, every high school girl in America will be sleeping in rollers). There were other shades of pink, including Sienna Miller’s ballet-pink Gucci fluffy fur and Carey Mulligan’s bubblegum-pink ballgown by Valentino.


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Maybe the evening’s biggest pleasure was watching to see how couples coordinated their outfits. Hailey and Justin Bieber dressed down like they’d just caught a movie. Rita Ora and Taika Waititi were both in Prada. Ben Affleck donned his usual dapper tux, but Jennifer Lopez kind of blew it by wearing a brown Ralph Lauren gown and topping it with a Western hat. Rihanna, belle of every Met Ball, was accompanied by ASAP Rocky. Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga giant black cocoon ruffle coat covered her from head to toe. The fabulous ASAP Rocky was also wrapped up in a bright harlequin-patched blanket wrap (not to be confused with a blanket coat) by ERL, aka young Venice-based designer Eli Russell Linnetz, who is definitely about to explode.

The Rest

We won’t call out the worst looks, but here are some runners up for the absolutely weirdest looks of the night: Frank Ocean in a black velvet Prada jacket and vest, carrying a robotic green baby swathed in blanket. Kim Kardashian was dressed from head to toe (literally) in tight black Balenciaga, including a full face mask that looked like an overzealous COVID safety measure. And Diane Kruger’s Prabal Gurung lime green bra top and mini bubble skirt were just wrong in every way possible: color, shape, length, fabric.

Hey, as long as Delta and Mu don’t conspire against us, there’s always next year.

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