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Memorable Fashion Statements From Met Gala 2021

  • September 14, 2021

On the second Monday in September, upper Fifth Avenue lit up with a blitz of flashbulbs not seen in over two years.

The Met Gala — like Broadway, like New York Fashion Week, like the U.S. Open — had returned, and with it the extreme pageantry that it inspires as guests and the designers who dress them vie to see who can create the most viral look according to theme.

The dress code this year was “American Independence.” (It was linked to the Costume Institute exhibition it celebrated, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.”) What exactly that means is a question George and Martha Washington probably never had to contemplate (even Dolley Madison, the resident founding fashionista, likely didn’t ask), but the gala provided a variety of answers: some obvious, some more pointed, all plumbing the mythology of the country — historical, pop cultural, and just plain fantastical.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for example, wore her politics on her sleeve — or rather, her back — in a white mermaid dress by Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies and the 15 Percent Pledge, with the message “Tax the Rich,” scrawled in bright red letters, and a bag to match.

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