While the theme of the Met Gala in any given year often causes some confusion in its interpretation, there is no doubt that this year’s “Gilded Age” theme guaranteed one thing: jewelry, and lots of it.
More specifically, celebs looked to the formal tiara to give an extra oomph of bling to all of the gilded, sequined, sparkly and feathered looks on the red carpet this year.
It all started with the queen bee herself, Anna Wintour. As the event’s organizer, the “Vogue” editor-in-chief is now infamous for her meticulous curation of the evening, with every guest and look reportedly vetted by her. This year, she declared her sartorial sovereignty with an actual tiara, which resembled the sort of diamond-encrusted headpiece that one might find in the royal jewel collection of, say, the Queen of England.
Wintour’s headpiece was a noticeable replacement for the editor’s usual accessory of choice — dark sunglasses — and she paired the diamond tiara with two of her other signature Met Gala details: her famous bob haircut and a Chanel couture gown, once again decked out with feathers.
That was just the start of an evening filled with sparkly scalps. Shortly thereafter, Blake Lively (one of the evening’s co-chairs) appeared on the carpet in an ornate, color-changing custom Atelier Versace gown, with gigantic Lorraine Schwartz earrings and a sparkly tiara to match.
Then, Emma Chamberlain appeared, in a suite of vintage Cartier jewels, including a platinum and diamond tiara from Cartier Paris, dated to 1911.
Next, Tommy Dorfman, in a custom Christopher Kane cutout gown paired with an antique tiara from Fred Leighton. Actress Danai Gurira also sported a tiara from the famed red carpet jeweler, choosing a vintage Chaumett piece Later, Teyana Taylor would show up first at the Mark Hotel, then on the red carpet in a purple chiffon gown with something resembling a metal face cage, covering her scalp and holding in her cheekbones.
One after another, celebs appeared with some sort of head accoutrement. Eventually, it wasn’t just a tiara, but also an elaborate headpiece. Janelle Monae’s custom Ralph Lauren gown featured a crystal-studded hooded head covering. Sarah Jessica Parker appeared in a feathered headdress (millinery has decidedly become both a Met Gala signature and a supporting role in the actress’s return to Carrie Bradshaw in “And Just Like That.”
But the headpieces weren’t solely about sparkle and frivolity. Some explored less obvious — and less Eurocentric — traditions. Cynthia Erivo paired a custom turban made of upcycled material to go with her mixed media white gown. The actress pointed to the traditional head ties of West Africa as an important message of her look, one also conveying a message of regality in that region of the world.
From the distinguished to the wacky, the red carpet’s proliferation of tiaras, headpieces, hoods and other hair accessories point to a more long-term message of the head wrap as a vintage trend made new — and here to stay, both on and off the red carpet (bridal season, we’re looking at you).
The 2022 Met Gala’s theme is “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” exploring the foundations of American fashion — specifically, identifiers of American style and individual designers. The exhibit includes 100 garments by independent designers and dressmakers from the 1800s to the mid-late 1900s in the Museum’s American Wing period rooms. There will also be “freeze frames” of film vignettes in each room, highlighting the aesthetics of eight different film directors: Janicza Bravo, Sofia Coppola, Julie Dash, Tom Ford, Regina King, Martin Scorsese, Autumn de Wilde and Chloé Zhao. Supported by Instagram and Condé Nast, the event raises funding for The Costume Institute’s exhibitions and future improvements. The exhibit will be open to the public starting on May 7, and — along with Part 1, which opened last September — close on Sept. 5, 2022.