On Monday, New York City's biggest fashion night event, the Met Gala, was marred by news of the Supreme Court's unprecedented plans to overturn the landmark decision established in Roe v. Wade. The draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito first made rounds inside the court before being publicly leaked by Politico.
It was a reminder of the already grim time we are all living through, and this was further reflected during the commencement of the Gala's exhibition, when First Lady Dr. Jill Biden addressed members of the press and called for supporting Ukrainian refugees amid Russia's military invasion. The First Lady acknowledged that in her position, whate she wears is almost always scrutinized, and therefore she was cognizant of having to make a statement though fashion.
She points out how earlier this year, she indicated her support for Ukraine during President Joe Biden's State of the Union address. "I ordered sunflower appliqués — the flower of Ukraine and a symbol of hope and solidarity — and had one sewn on the cuff of my dress. It was small but shined against the deep cobalt blue of my sleeve. That night, sitting next to the Ukrainian ambassador, I knew that I was sending a message without saying a word," she said.
Biden wasn't the only one to understand using fashion as political statement. Several attendees had the foresight to completely disregard the Gala's theme – "Gilded Glamour," which was an awful idea to honor the Gilded Age excesses – and instead communicated their values through their designer attire. Notable outfits celebrated the history behind the era of industrialization and showcased embroidered statements critiquing present-day social issues.
Check out six fashion and political statements at the 2022 Met Gala:
1 Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" gown
Alicia Keys attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Theo Wargo/WireImage)The musician's Ralph Lauren outfit paid homage to the Big Apple, the vibrant immigration hub of promised dreams and newfound opportunities, with a jeweled design of the city's famous skyline.
"My inspiration is our city. New York City forever. To just be able to have the Empire State here — Ralph Lauren is from New York," Keys told People of her look. "We really just wanted to bring New York to the gala. I love it."
"I'm proud of our city. Tonight we are looking forward to being together — all together and having some fun," she continued.
2 Janelle Monáe's futuristic getup
Janelle Monáe attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (John Shearer/Getty Images)The singer, actor and author also donned Ralph Lauren on the Met Gala carpet. Their outfit, described as "gilded glamour from the future," consisted of a black-and-white figure-fitting gown along with an embellished headset.
Monáe's look references their recently released sci-fi book titled "The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer." Per the Associated Press, the book expands on Monáe's Afrofuturistic album "Dirty Computer" and highlights stories about how "queerness, race, gender plurality and love — become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape."
"It's supporting LGBTQI plus communities through Afrofuturism," Monáe told Vogue on Monday.
3 Eric Adams' "End Gun Violence" tuxedo
Tracey Collins and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, fashion detail, attend The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)New York City's newly elected mayor collaborated with NYC-based Nigerian artist Láolú Senbanjo for his look, which highlighted both the city's transit system and longstanding struggles with gun violence. The complete outfit featured hand-drawn designs on Adams' tuxedo along with the words "End Gun Violence" plastered on the back.
"The mayor has a great sense of style. And he came up with the idea," Adams' press secretary Fabien Levy told the New York Post. "He wants to send a message specifically. One of the things that is causing problems in our society is gun violence."
Naturally, Adams' statement drew criticism as performative lip service considering his record of reestablishing violent police units and how shootings have increased since he's been mayor.
4 Hillary Clinton's wine-red dress celebrating women
Hillary Clinton attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)Clinton, who hadn't attended a Met Gala since May 2001, finally returned after 21 years. She strutted in a custom made Joseph Altuzarra gown embroidered with the names of 60 women who have inspired her the most.
"I knew that I wanted the dress to have a personal component for her," Altuzarra told Vogue about Clinton's dress. "I felt like I had to be very thoughtful about what the dress would mean to the theme and to the occasion."
Notable names on Clinton's gown included Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Madeleine Albright, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman, Lady Bird Johnson, and Clinton's mother, Dorothy Rodham.
5 Riz Ahmed's immigrant laborer attire
Riz Ahmed attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)The "Sound of Metal" actor ditched the opulent accessories and opted for a simple ensemble of a navy blue jacket from immigrant designer, 4S Designs, a white tank top, drawstring pants and knee-high black leather boots. Ahmed topped it all of with a Cartier necklace, which he told Vogue was inspired by traditional Indian jewelry.
"This is an homage to the immigrant workers who kept the Gilded Age going," he said of his full outfit. Ahmed's stylist, Julie Ragolia, also told Vanity Fair, "In thinking about the Met Gala theme of 'Gilded Glamour,' I wanted to focus on the people without whom nothing Gilded would exist: the laborers, the workers, the unseen. This look is for everyone who thinks they don't have a voice. They do."
6 Blake Lively's Statue of Liberty gown
Blake Lively attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)Lively's beaded Versace dress, which touted blue and copper tones in the trailing skirt and oversized bow, paid tribute to the Statue of Liberty, a legendary symbol of American freedom and justice, but also welcoming in immigrants and refugees.
"This dress is an homage to New York City and so many of the classic, iconic buildings," Lively said during Vogue's livestream of the event. "This is detailing from the Empire State Building, some of the draping from the Statue of Liberty . . . (and) the constellation from Grand Central Station."
Lively also wore a seven spiked tiara, which greatly resembled Lady Liberty's iconic crown.
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