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Monday, May 20, 2024

High Infidelity: Do you really want to know where we were on May 1st?

Janelle Monae (left) and Camila Morrone (right) pose at the Met Gala Red Carpet on Monday May 1.
Janelle Monae (left) and Camila Morrone (right) pose at the Met Gala Red Carpet on Monday May 1.

For many, May 1, simply marks the first day of the month, but for us, May 1 represents a little annual dinner party that our friends like to throw. Some may call it the pinnacle of fashion, to others it’s another day in the Big Apple, and to a few, it’s the Met Gala. 

This year the theme was “in honor of Karl,” not in reference to the Middlebury nordic skier who spells it with a C, but to Karl Lagerfeld, the late icon of several fashion houses including Chloé, Balmain, Patou and most famously, Chanel. We would be remiss to ignore that Karl Lagerfeld is questionable in the realm of personality, but this article would be too long and boring if we talked about that, so we aren’t going to. Now onto the red, white and blue (?) carpet. 

Brace yourselves, as we (Maggie Bryan and Eliza King Freedman) go head-to-head publicly for the first and only time in The Campus, as we argue over our opinions on the various looks that we stayed up too late scrolling through on this past Monday night. Should we invigorate you enough to participate in our discourse, voting will take place on the Middlebury Campus Instagram.

Eliza’s Best Dressed: Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae’s dress was not one, not two, but three layers that unraveled to reveal a diamond-encrusted hoop dress that showcased the process of creating haute couture and the character that has been Chanel for decades. Dressed in Thom Browne, Monae’s get-up was reminiscent of the designer’s iconic suits. But the layers of the black and white coat, the long white shirt dress and the extravagant play on a pre-19th century hoop skirt all contributed to a look that was on-theme and original in its own right. Monae attended her first Met Gala wearing Chanel in 2011 with Karl Lagerfeld, so she called this a “full-circle moment.” 

Maggie’s Best Dressed: Camilla Morone

As Eliza’s commentary proves, many Met Gala observers amateurishly appreciate maximalist, over-the-top and overall chaotic looks. Yet as only the trained fashion critic’s eye knows, sometimes less is more. Morrone stunned in a sleek black Rodarte gown, topped with a simple lace white collar, reminiscent of the contrasting collars Lagerfeld himself famously loved. Morrone didn’t need three layers, an outfit change or 50,000 pearls to stand out. For this, and for her performance in “Daisy Jones and the Six,” Morrone has won my heart. 

Eliza’s Worst Dressed: Pedro Pascal

Why did this man wear shorts to the Met Gala? It was almost like it was his first time attending… oh wait, it was! Despite my personal efforts to get past this, I cannot get behind the Valentino look of black shorts with high black socks. And if only he had redeemed himself in the collar, or even the color, but the red trench-like coat stands out on the carpet and takes away from the beautiful outfits we spent the night staring at. To top it all off, despite my love for his character Javier Peña, I haven’t seen The Last of Us, so Pedro Pascal was less of an on-the-mind celebrity and more of a shocking leg-bearer that I wasn’t ready to witness last night.

Maggie’s Worst Dressed: Kylie Jenner

A far cry from a Karl Lagerfeld homage, Kylie Jenner’s bright red, Haider Ackermann for Jean Paul Gaultier gown looked like it was from Shein. Tacky cutouts and messy, distasteful side parts don’t belong at the Met Gala, and they certainly didn’t make Kylie’s divergence from theme worth it. Considering her dress last year was indisputably off-theme and that she faced the risk of un-invitation this year, she could have, she should have, I wish she had, done better. 

Eliza’s Most Missed: Timothee Chalamet

Supposedly too busy doing press for his upcoming film in the Dune series, Timothee Chalamet missed the Met for the second year in a row, despite having been a Chair of the Gala in 2021. Chalamet arrived on the film scene in “Lady Bird” in 2017, and since then he has proven not only to be a good actor but also to be fashionable. One cannot be so perfect and then slip out of the public eye like this. I hereby out myself as a Chalamet fan girl in hopes that you, dear reader, will join me in putting a spoon underneath my bed pillow each night for the next year, willing our dear boy to return to the Met steps this next May. 

Maggie’s Most Missed: Taylor Swift

Yes I’ve been impressed by her past Met Gala looks, yes I wanted red-carpet redemption from her underwhelming Grammy’s ensemble, and yes, I wanted a tiny break from all the Era’s tour talk. But as someone who listened to “High Infidelity,” one of Swift’s songs rumored to be about cheating on her boyfriends at the Met Gala, countless times over the weekend, I mostly wanted more messy, lyric-worthy moments. Be it at the expense of Swift’s personal relationships or the integrity of the Gala as a whole, I was ready for her to stir the pot. 

Eliza’s Most Confusing: Kim Kardashian 

Kim’s Schiaparelli dress simply confused me. I know that pearls were Lagerfeld’s whole shtick — but to just throw on layers upon layers of pearl necklaces does not feel very Met to me… Especially coming from Kim Kardashian, of the Kardashian Family that was notoriously almost not invited to the Met Gala this year. Additionally, her up-do and choker necklace was very much giving 2000’s, and not in a cool Y-2K way. And coupled with Pete’s struggle to perform on the carpet (“amateurishly” covered by Maggie above), it becomes clear that the recently broken-up duo needs each other more than we thought.

Maggie’s Most Confusing: Pete Davidson

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Pete Davidson has never, will never, been destined for the red carpet. He showed up Monday night wearing a curious ensemble that combined a trench coat, a Fendi bucket hat and a necklace straight from a child’s dress-up box. It’s one that I will proudly, but not negatively, compare to Middlebury wedding attire. And yet, I could have crowned Pete worst dressed, but I didn’t. If lacking red-carpet cohesion works for anyone, it’s Pete, and it’s actually endearing. Despite my existing bewilderment, I would be even more confused if he showed up wearing something presentable. It’s Pete!

Despite our differences of opinion on Met Gala fashion, we are still friends. We also have managed to agree on a few things. Namely, the imitations of Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette. There were three, and they all managed to be incredibly creepy (especially Doja Cat’s interview with Emma Chamberlain wherein she refused to do anything but meow). Lil Nas X looked more like a snake than a cat, Doja Cat looked like she wanted to be in the movie “Cats” and Jared Leto’s interpretation was a little on the nose.

So this is where we leave you. But If this article serves to do anything, we hope to have highlighted the Hunger Games Capitol-like world of fashion and drama that is the Met Gala. As Emma Chamberlain and Jack Harlow would say, “love ya, bye!”.

Maggie Bryan

Maggie Bryan '25 (she/her) is the Senior Arts and Culture Editor.

Maggie has previously served as Arts and Culture Editor and Staff Writer. She hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and is double majoring in French and Environmental Policy. This spring, she will be studying abroad in Paris. During her free time, she can be found running on the TAM or teaching spin classes in the FIC.