“America equals gay. You heard it here first,” actor Ben Platt said on the Met Gala red carpet on Monday night in New York.
Queer representation was in full force as the biggest stars hit the red carpet for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala, celebrating the opening of the “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibition.
Platt, for instance, tapped queer designer Christian Cowan for his “studio 54, gay cowboy dream” look that featured denim on denim and plenty of rhinestones.
Plus, more celebrities used the moment to use fashion as a device for LGBTQIA+ awareness.
There was “Schitt’s Creek” star and creator Dan Levy, who wore a custom look by Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson that celebrated queer love. The ensemble was inspired by works from artist and LGBTQ activist David Wojnarowicz, “crafted with the brief of imagining what a gay superhero might wear,” Anderson wrote on Instagram. Giving the outfit a closer look, you’ll see two men kissing amid background of world maps, indicating the arbitrary borders and divisions the queer community faced.
To honor the collaboration, Loewe made a donation to Visual AIDS — an organization Wojnarowicz supported — that continues to promote AIDS awareness and education.
Levy’s boots, meanwhile, were a nod to Anderson and his early collections in 2010.
Megan Rapinoe made a more obvious statement on the Met Gala red carpet. The outspoken U.S. soccer star — who continually fights for women and LGBTQ rights — wore a custom red suit by Sergio Hudson. She completed the look with a blue and white star shirt and platform red boots, as well as with an Edie Parker clutch that read “America” on one side and “In gay we trust” on the other.
When thinking of the night’s theme, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” YouTuber Nikkie de Jager — who identifies as transgendered woman — wanted to pay homage to Black gender non-conforming activist and New York’s very own Marsha P. Johnson.
Johnson was a key force behind the Stonewall Riots in 1969, which served as a catalyst to the gay rights movement in the United States.
“I hope I made my community proud,” Jager wrote on Instagram with a photo of her tulle gown by Edwin Oudshoorn embroidered with floral accents. The ensemble was inspired by Johnson’s signature flower crowns she’d make with discarded flowers from Manhattan’s Flower District. And Johnson’s famous saying, “Pay it no mind,” (the phrase she used when addressing her gender) was also written across a sash Jager wore on the Met Gala red carpet.
During a wildly divisive time in the United States, many Met Gala guests took the Met Gala’s theme and projected what their experience in the U.S. has been like and portrayed it through fashion. For example, Rihanna said, “I’m an immigrant and that’s my take on American fashion.”
For non-binary actress Amandla Stenberg, she used her experiences growing up in South L.A., and was inspired by Black and queer culture to conceive her Met Gala look.
Wearing a Thom Browne ensemble, Stenberg wowed in a tailored ticket-pocket tailcoat, silk satin duchess cupless corset and dropped waist shorts in a matching black wool coat with platform boots. She worked with a Black make-up artist, nail artist, and hair stylist — who created a braided look that emulated a do-rag.
Then there was Cara Delevingne, who may have had the most forthright Met Gala outfit of all. Wearing a white bulletproof vest, white pants and platform pumps, designed by Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri, Delevingne paraded the phrase “Peg the Patriarchy,” which was emblazoned across her chest.
“Peg the patriarchy. It’s about women empowerment, gender equality. It’s a bit like, stick it to the man,” she said on the red carpet.