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Celebs Mostly Interpreted ‘America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ as ‘Glamping,’ at the 2021 Met Gala

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Rihanna and A$AP Rocky at the 2021 Met Gala in New York City.  (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

When the Met Gala provides celebrities and designers with a clear-cut theme, the results tend to be stunning. Think 2018’s Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination with its spectacular plays on religious iconography. (Rihanna wore a pearl-encrusted pope hat!) Or 2019’s Camp: Notes on Fashion with its unabashedly kitsch and kooky couture experiments. (Like Lady Gaga’s iconic hot pink striptease.)

Last night’s Met Gala was guided only by the phrase (and exhibition title) In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. And its vagueness was evident all over the red carpet.

Billie Eilish took the opportunity to run straight towards old-school Hollywood glamour in a divine Oscar de la Renta gown. “I’m so excited. I have butterflies,” Eilish told E! News. “I couldn’t be happier.” Same, Billie. Same.

Billie Eilish came as a heavenly goddess. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Emily Ratajkowski took that “lexicon” and read it as vamp, in Vera Wang:

Emily Ratajkowski in her form-fitting lacy Vera Wang gown. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

A few people embraced the “America” part of the theme. Like Debbie Harry in her flag stripes and blue denim:

Debbie Harry, stunning as ever, in her all-American Zac Posen ensemble. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

And Pharrell Williams and his wife Helen Lasichanh, who did a matching leather cowboy thing:

Chanel meets ‘Bonanza’. Yee-haw! (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

But if I’d have had to guess what the theme of the evening was last night, I’d have said Glamping: Survivalist-Wear For a Post-COVID World. Nowhere was this more visible than in the ensembles of Rihanna and A$AP Rocky.


Here’s RiRi in her black, survivalist Balenciaga sleeping bag, and A$AP in a high-end grandma quilt made by ERL. (Every time I eat outdoors at night in San Francisco, I will dream of the warmth contained in both of these outfits.)

(L-R) A$AP Rocky and Rihanna.
Cozy 1 and Cozy 2. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Whoopi Goldberg showed up in a Valentino getup, working hard to get an invite to the Rihanna and A$AP campgrounds, in this raincoat-cum-sleeping bag:

Whoopi Goldberg in her Valentino ruffled duvet. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Normani—also in Valentino—was on hand to demonstrate how to don a sleeping bag and shoulder pillows, and make it sexy:

Normani: You wouldn’t lose this dress on a mountainside at night. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Janet Mock, also in Valentino, was on the exact same page:

Cozy 3. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Presumably in that photo, she’s eyeing up Tessa Thompson, who came dressed in Iris Van Herpen, as the most alluring campfire in all of history.

Tessa Thompson being straight fire in a short red cocktail dress with cowboy accessories. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Like RiRi, A$AP, Whoopi and Normani, Lil Nas X arrived as posh bedding…

Cozy 4. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Pulled a fast one by transforming, first, into an C-3PO campfire lunchbox…

Shazam! (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Before revealing himself as a sneaky little snake invader! And yes, actually, come hiss at us, you slinky love muffin:

Lil Nas X slithering on up to RiRi’s campgrounds. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Dan Levy cared not about nearby snakes, for he chose to fully embrace his inner survivalist, in a LOEWE outfit that combined pajamas, hiking boots, some floatation devices, and—actual genius!—maps. (Why didn’t anyone else think of that?)

Dan Levy: The floofiest survivalist in all the land. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Finally, of course, no camping trip would be complete without something terrifying lurking in the shadows. And last night, Balenciaga dressed Kim Kardashian as that one dark patch behind that tree over there, that might just be a shadow, but also might well be a serial killer.

Kim Kardashian in an outfit even scarier than that flowery Givenchy couch cover she wore in 2013. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Until 2022, fashion fans!

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