It’s the morning after the Met Gala before, and the world is still unravelling, critiquing and refashioning each look with fervent enthusiasm. The biggest event in the fashion calendar is guaranteed to give us at least two things when the jet-set hits up the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s lengthy red carpet. The first is a slew of theme-confused fits that enrage fashion critics and the more scrupulous, celebrity-conscious users of Twitter for their sheer inadequacy. The second, when done correctly, is a total and unabashed admiration for the craft of design and the life of the artist’s muse, though let us tell you the line is pretty thin indeed.
As the first Met Gala back to regular programming post-Covid, this year’s celebration hinged on the Met’s forthcoming ‘In America: An Anthology of Fashion’ exhibition, with the Gala itself themed around the prosperous glamour of the Gilded Age (around 1870 to 1890). We’re talking cinched waists, bustles, maybe a pannier or two, and lots of OTT romance. This year, we have to tip our caps (or top hats) to the blokes who wrestled with the styles of America’s industrial age and came out on top: here are the most memorable menswear moments of the 2022 Met Gala.
Lenny Kravitz in Chrome Hearts
This is one bonafide style icon who we never have to worry about not taking it there. Donning cult American biker-label, Chrome Hearts, Kravitz blends lacy black sleeves and a ruffled-collar cape with a signature pair of leather trousers, fastened at the front with a bevvy of metallic buttons. And don’t get us started on the corsetry, complemented by a thick pearl choker and a pair of snakeskin biker boots. He’s cooler than cool, or as Outkast once said, ice-cold.
Are we seeing double? [cleans glasses lens] Oh no, that’s just Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and BFF Jared Leto in doppelganger suits, locks and facial hair. Cladi in identicial cream Gucci tuxedos adorned in floral embroidery with brown suede clutch bags and pink satin bowties. We guess Leto left his date from 2019’s Met Gala at home this year: a wax replica of his own head.
Let us start by giving props to Mendes for following the theme. The singer, his creative team and Tommy Hilfiger have clearly all been binging Netflix’s Bridgerton, because his fit, a structured navy suit with burgundy trimmed coach jacket, is a little bit Colin, and a lotta bit Prince Eric (The Little Mermaid, anyone?). Mutton chops would’ve given this an air of believability that strayed from costume, but hey, ‘Gilded Glamour’ doesn’t share that many threads with guitar-playing teen heartthrobs.
Another intriguing fit was donned by Kodi Smit-Mcphee, star of Jane Campion’s Oscar-snubbed Power of the Dog and HERO 20. Clad in head-to-toe Bottega Veneta, the buzzy Australian actor subverted our eyes with material detail that paid homage to the migrant workers of the era. That pinstriped shirt? Leather. Those stone-washed jeans? Also leather. The blood-red gloves – you can probably guess where we’re going with this. We couldn’t take our eyes off of the star, which surely means this is a job well done – right?
Fresh from playing Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll seems to have rubbed off on Austin Butler, who turned up to the Met Gala rocking a messy quiff and a Prada tuxedo worthy of a Vegas residency. And who’s that he’s with? Priscilla Presley in matching pitch-black Prada decorated with shimmering gold bands. Epic.
Evan Mock in Head Of State
Mock’s was the first men’s look that truly got the crowd going. Looking to America’s next generation of design prodigies to recontextualise the gilded era, he wore a custom pastel yellow creation devised by Head Of State, the NY-based brand helmed by Taofeek Abijako. The top half features beautiful boning details that float around the waist and a petal-like ruffle collar, while the structured detailing on his trousers, slashed to reveal a tactile slinky underlayer, is completed with a dainty crack-cut out of the outfit’s literal rear end. Mock completed the look with a glistening broach and some serious Cartier neck drip (rumoured to be worth $12 million) that was truly out of this world.
Thomas Doherty in Dior Men’s
Mock’s on-screen love and Gossip Girl co-star is another who pulled it out of the bag, in Kim Jones’ Dior no less. His smokey grey suit boasted huge lapels, tapered trouser legs and a creamy waistcoat, tied together with a grand pussy bow and a single emerald earring. It would appear Doherty took the “Money doesn’t scream – it whispers” approach, and to be honest, it paid off in spade loads.
Kid Cudi in Kenzo
Like Kravitz before him, Cudi is another style savant who we’ve come to expect the very best from, and this year was no exception. Cloaked in a swooping cape that would make Andre Leon Talley swoon with jealousy, the rapper brought Nigo’s new vision of Kenzo to life in a custom look comprised entirely of dusty Cerulean. Inspired by Kenzo Takada’s own 1984 archive collection, the look features Boke flower fastenings, trousers with slit-legs and a pair of jaw-dropping spazzolato Kenzosmile Chelsea boots. A familiarly audacious poppy print-lining abounds from the capes lining too, granting us that added sense of drama so integral to any show-stopping Met look.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 02: Kid Cudi 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. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Stormzy in Burberry
Riccardo Tisci’s Burberry crew brought a whole host of A-listers to the carpet, from Nicki Minaj and Naomi Campbell to Moss-modelling-duo Kate and Lilah. But it was UK rapper and Merky Books founder Stormzy who ended up stealing the show, resplendent in a white tux that could’ve only been made with fabric found through the pearly white gates. Its fastenings were smooth and silky, blending a matching tie with an imposing white cape that cascaded to the floor with ease – an angel among mere mortals, paparazzo and Anna Wintour.
Ashton Sanders in Casablanca
Finally, Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders proves exactly why he’s fashion’s favourite film star. Though the icy Twilight contacts and sharp fangs are personal choice, his decadent, Charaf Tajer designed get-up, speaks to the classic decadence of the gilded age with gold trims as far as the eye can see. We were also bowled over with Sanders’ choice of accessories. If there’s one place in the world where a pair of golden, fingerless gloves and a handheld monocle just make sense, it’s right here.
In America: An Anthology of Fashion is on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City from May 7th, 2022. Tickets available here