Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Gone but not forgotten: the Met Gala 2020

The Met Gala has been one of the most highly anticipated nights in the high fashion calendar every year since it was established in 1948. This year, the iconic fundraiser has, of course, been indefinitely postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this setback, much to the excitement of long-awaited fashion fanatics, several celebrities lucky enough to secure an invite to the star-studded event have been quick to share their would-have-been looks on social media. 

The theme this year was ‘About Time: Fashion and Duration’, suggesting attendees can be expected to flaunt looks from the across the past century of fashion and beyond. Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in charge of The Costume Institute which coordinates the Met Gala, explained this year’s theme was based on Virginia Woolf. Bolton was inspired by Woolf’s idea that time involves “no beginning, middle or end”. 

The 2020 theme seems to be a move away from the 2019 concept of ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’, which saw incredibly contemporary styles exhibiting ideas of flamboyance and excess. 2020 was set for a more historical reflection on the highlights of fashion that have already graced the stage, but likely with reimagined twists. 

Katy Perry was quick to reveal her dusty pink Jean Paul Gaultier number

While there’s no way of truly knowing what each celebrity might have worn, we can take a few guesses. Katy Perry was quick to reveal her dusty pink Jean Paul Gaultier number which planned to show off her baby bump, complete with the signature conical bra made famous by none other than Madonna in the nineties. Bella Hadid was said to have been styled with a strawberry blonde wig and faux freckles to emulate the styles of the 1970s. Amanda Seyfried had intended to wear a ‘throwback’ Sasha O’Neill floral blue floor-length gown, while Julia Roberts shared a snap of her dressed in her Met Gala 2020 monochrome tutu dress at home in her bathroom. 

Despite these displays of intended ‘About Time: Fashion and Duration’ looks, the vast number of attendees have decided to withhold their planned Met Gala 2020 styles in hope that the event will be rescheduled in the foreseeable future. Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, noted that “this is a time of grief and of hardship for millions, and the postponement of a party is nothing in comparison”. 

Aside from sharing images revealing attendee outfits, many attendees and fans alike have been entertaining themselves in lockdown across the world by completing the #MetGalaChallenge, attempting to recreate previous Met Gala looks from over the years. Popular looks to recreate included Jared Leto’s 2019 outfit which saw him holding a prosthetic model of his own head, and Rihanna’s extravagant yellow Guo Pei gown from 2015.

With any luck, the high-end fundraiser will bounce back 

This challenge was successful in commemorating the absence of the 2020 benefit ball, while also allowing anyone who so desired to get involved with the Met Gala fun through the medium of social media. It seems that although the event has not been scheduled to go ahead on a virtual platform, many individuals who would otherwise not be able to attend the Met have been gifted an opportunity to participate in the challenge and even have their images shared on Vogue’s social media.

We were unable to witness the designs of luxury fashion houses prepped for this year’s Met Gala in full effect, but we haven’t been entirely short-changed. With any luck, the high-end fundraiser will bounce back before next May’s Met Gala 2021 and we will be able to challenge the existing industry paradigm, celebrating innovative fashion once more.


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