Met Gala returns in style with Eilish, Lil Nas X, Rihanna

  • Billie Eilish attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, in New York.

    Billie Eilish attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, in New York. Associated Press

  • Rihanna, left, and A$AP Rocky attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala Monday.

    Rihanna, left, and A$AP Rocky attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala Monday. Associated Press

  • Lil Nas X

    Lil Nas X Associated Press

  • Naomi Osaka at the 2021 Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala.

    Naomi Osaka at the 2021 Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala. Associated Press

  • Nia Dennis and the Brooklyn United marching band attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala.

    Nia Dennis and the Brooklyn United marching band attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala. Associated Press

  • Lil Nas X

    Lil Nas X Associated Press

  • Julia Garner

    Julia Garner Associated Press

  • Yara Shahidi

    Yara Shahidi Associated Press

  • Maisie Williams

    Maisie Williams Associated Press

  • Amanda Gorman

    Amanda Gorman Associated Press

  • Timothee Chalamet

    Timothee Chalamet Associated Press

  • Troye Sivan

    Troye Sivan Associated Press

  • Finneas

    Finneas Associated Press

  • Saweetie

    Saweetie Associated Press

  • Chance the Rapper, left, and Kirsten Corley

    Chance the Rapper, left, and Kirsten Corley Associated Press

  • Billie Eilish

    Billie Eilish Associated Press

  • Cordae Dunston, left, and Naomi Osaka

    Cordae Dunston, left, and Naomi Osaka Associated Press

  • Lil Nas X

    Lil Nas X Associated Press

  • Iman

    Iman Associated Press

  • Cynthia Erivo

    Cynthia Erivo Associated Press

  • Lourdes Leon

    Lourdes Leon Associated Press

  • Jeremy O. Harris attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Jeremy O. Harris attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Jennifer Hudson attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Jennifer Hudson attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Ben Platt attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Ben Platt attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Anok Yai attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Anok Yai attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Lorde attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Lorde attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Pete Davidson attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Pete Davidson attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Teyana Taylor attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Teyana Taylor attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Erykah Badu attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Erykah Badu attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Eugene Lee Yang attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Eugene Lee Yang attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Megan Fox attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Megan Fox attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Jennifer Lopez attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Jennifer Lopez attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Valentina Sampaio attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Valentina Sampaio attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Cynthia Erivo attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Cynthia Erivo attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Frank Ocean attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Frank Ocean attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Lupita Nyong'o attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Lupita Nyong'o attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Kim Petras attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Kim Petras attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Rihanna attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Rihanna attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

 
 
Posted9/14/2021 7:57 AM

NEW YORK -- Billie Eilish went full glam in a huge peach ballgown at the pandemic-delayed Met Gala on Monday night, while fellow host of the evening Amanda Gorman was breathtaking in cobalt blue custom Vera Wang with a diamond laurel wreath in her hair.

Rihanna, ever the Met Gala queen, showed up late in a huge black Balenciaga look and hat accompanied by A$AP Rocky in a multicolored quilted coat from ERL. She wore over 267 carats of Bulgari diamonds, including two choker necklaces.

 
Timothee Chalamet
Timothee Chalamet - Associated Press

Co-host Timothée Chalamet raced onto Fifth Avenue to take selfies with fans before walking up the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for his entrance after a marching band and gymnast Nia Dennis kicked off the long-awaited evening. Last year's gala was canceled due to the pandemic.

This year's official theme of the fundraiser for the museum's Costume Institute was "American Independence," leaving plenty of room for interpretation. Just ask Lil Nas X, who did a Lady Gaga-esque strip tease on the carpet in gold Versace, from cape to armor to embellished jumpsuit.

Eilish, the belle of the ball, wore Oscar de la Renta. She told Vogue: "It was time for this. I feel like I've grown so much over the last few years."

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Chalamet had Converse sneakers on his feet but Cartier diamonds on his look. Chalamet called his outfit, including Rick Owens sweatpants, "a bit of everything," just like America. Alfonso Navas, the fashion editor for Esquire, lauded his fashion choices as a "a smart play on the theme by interpreting American icons in sportswear."

Amanda Gorman at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala.
Amanda Gorman at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala. - Associated Press

Gorman's dress, which included more than 3,000 hand-sewn crystals, was made to evoke a starry night sky. She told Vogue she felt like Lady Liberty, re-imagined. Her crown, the star poet said, was a nod to publishing. Another of the hosts, Naomi Osaka, wanted to celebrate all her cultures -- Japan, Haitian and the U.S. -- and picked a Louis Vuitton gown designed in collaboration with her sister, Mari Osaka. It was a swirly blue, aqua and purple print with long black ruffle sleeves and a wide red sash.

If this gala produced a trend, it's huge statement sleeves, with some stars and stripes thrown in. There was a smattering of red, as in the red, white and blue of the American flag. Karlie Kloss wore red Carolina Herrera with huge ruffles at the neck and sleeves. Jennifer Hudson also chose red sans sleeves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Ella Emhoff
Ella Emhoff - Associated Press

Also in red: Ella Emhoff, the daughter of the country's second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, and Vice President Kamala Harris. She wore a bodysuit and high-shine trousers by Stella McCartney with a sheer top and a crystal design in all the right places. She wore Adidas by McCartney embellished in red and made partially of a recycled material derived from ocean plastic.

The gala, drawing standouts in fashion, TV, film, sports, tech and beyond, included tiny but mighty Olympian Simone Biles in an 88-pound Area embroidered gown of silver with a top adorned in a firework burst pattern and a huge train carried up the museum steps by six men. The gown was a collaboration with Athleta.

Ralph Lauren dressed Jennifer Lopez in a faux fur wrap with a dark brown crystal and beaded look in her signature plunge at the neck and high slit, a wide-brimmed Western-style hat on her head. She and Ben Affleck smooched with masks on days after their red carpet coming out in Venice.

Dan Levy
Dan Levy - Associated Press

Dan Levy took the party's theme to the extreme in a blue confection from Loewe. It had, according to the brand, "printed leg of mutton sleeves" on a polo shirt with an applique of two men kissing.

Yara Shahidi wore silver custom Dior complete with a light hood. She said she was inspired by Josephine Baker. Harris Reed, in collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana, put Iman in a huge golden feathered head piece and equally adorned skirt of crinoline with a jacquard bustier.

Blake Newby, the style and beauty editor for Essence, called Iman's look "both massive and angelic."

Anna Wintour
Anna Wintour - Associated Press

Gala overseer Anna Wintour arrived early with a wave to the crowd accompanied by her pregnant daughter, Bee, in a floral design with ruffles at the neck.

Along with oh-so-many jumpsuits, there were plenty of classic red carpet looks and a wave of gold, the latter including a Peter Dundas look worn by Mary J. Blige. It plunged to the belly button and beyond at the front and back.

MJ Rodriguez, the "Pose" star and first transgender performer to pick up an Emmy nomination in a major acting category, wore an old glam, black-and-white corseted look from Thom Browne. The designer called it a modern-day twist on classic American sportswear. She attended the gala with purpose.

"Not a lot of trans girls like myself get this opportunity," she said. "The human condition is what I'm here for."

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez showed up in an Brother Vellies by Aurora James gown of white with a message splashed in red across the back: "Tax the Rich."

"It's really about having a real conversation about fairness and equity in our system, and I think this conversation is particularly relevant as we debate the budget and reconciliation bill," she said.

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala Monday.
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala Monday. - Associated Press

The evening had its share of what-the-heck moments, like a couple of horse heads on dresses and a green-haired Frank Ocean carrying a fake baby with a green face to match. Thom Browne gave the walking fashion statement Erykah Badu an extra-tall top hat with a bulky black look, a bunch of crystals and chunky bling around her neck.

Her purse was a black leather dachshund.

The fashion girls represented, Gigi Hadid in classic white Prada fresh from a slew of runway walks at New York Fashion Week, and Kendall Jenner in glittery, revealing silver by Givenchy. Jenner's look was inspired by "My Fair Lady."

Kim Kardashian attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Kim Kardashian attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) -

The entrance of Jenner's older sister, Kim Kardashian West, caused a stir as fans wondered whether her estranged husband Kanye was the masked man at her side. It was none other than Demna Gvasalia, the creative director for Balenciaga who created her get-up: A black face covering worn with a T-shirt dress, catsuit and boots.

Newby told the AP the easiest and most obvious ways to stay true to the evening's theme is by wearing American designers. Many of the greats, including Michael Kors, showed up, along with smaller brands.

"Black American designers had their moment," she said, noting looks by Christopher John Rogers, Aliette and Sergio Hudson.

Lorde wore a custom upcycled gown with detailed beadwork and embroidery by Emily Bode, a New York designer who repurposes fabrics and garments for her menswear line.

"Her exquisite gown may have done more to make the case that upcycled fashion can be fabulous than a hundred sustainability summits," said Erik Maza, style features director for Town & Country.

There were hair statements as well.

"Geometric bobs also made an appearance with Sophia Roe and Tracee Ellis Ross showing off very avant-garde 'dos, while Yara Shahidi and Kaia Gerber channeled old Hollywood glam with deep waves," Newby said.

After 18 months in sweats, it was "clear that celebrities were beyond thrilled to give it their all," said Sara Tan, beauty director for a millennial-focused lifestyle site Refinery29.com.

They did in clothes, but also accessories and beauty, she said, noting Gorman's sparkly jewels across her face and Eilish's short, curled bob and classic winged liner in a definite ode to Marilyn Monroe.

Nina Ghaibi, left, and Felix Auger Aliassime
Nina Ghaibi, left, and Felix Auger Aliassime - Associated Press

Eilish, Gorman, Iman and AOC were the night's best dressed for Refinery29's fashion director Irina Grechko.

"Not only did Gorman wear an American designer, Vera Wang, but she also nailed the 'American Independence' dress code with a book-shaped clutch that read 'Give Us Your Tired' in reference to the Emma Lazarus poem featured on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

The gala, which raises money for the museum's Costume Institute, was pushed last year from its traditional May berth and morphed this year into a two-part affair marking the institute's 75th anniversary. It coincides with the opening of "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion," the first of a two-part exhibition at the Met's Anna Wintour Costume Center.

Organizers invited 400 guests, less than the number that usually attend.

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