To many, the first Monday in May is just another Monday at the start of a new spring month. However, to the fashion world, the first Monday in May is a night of extravagance, elegance and one-of-a-kind looks. What makes this particular Monday night so special to the fashion world is it is the date of the Met Gala — commonly referred to as one of the “biggest nights in fashion” and one of the most photographed events in the world.
Last year, the Met Gala came under some criticism for their decision to honor the late Karl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld had been criticized for his comments about women’s bodies, specifically for being fatphobic. Additionally, the designer came under fire for comments about the #MeToo movement and his attitude towards migrants and LGBTQ+ rights. Not only was choosing to honor Lagerfeld an extremely controversial decision, but a majority of the outfits from the night were subpar and there seemed to be an overall lack of creativity. Due to attendees “honoring” Lagerfeld, there was an excessive amount of black and white outfits and camellia flowers.
After a very mediocre Met Gala, fashion enthusiasts held their breath for the announcement of the 2024 theme. Per tradition, on Nov. 8, Vogue officially announced the theme titled “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” Do not be fooled, this theme has nothing to do with fairytales despite the misleading title.
According to Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge of the Costume Institute whose exhibit opening accompanies the Met Gala, the exhibit and theme are meant to encourage a “sensorial appreciation of fashion.” The “Sleeping Beauties” aspect of the theme’s name comes from the decision to celebrate fashion pieces that are too fragile to ever be worn again. Bolton also stated that the exhibit will be constructed around three main “zones” with those being “Land, Sea, and Sky.” With all of these details about the theme, it is likely that two key categories of outfits will emerge from attendees of the gala — outfits inspired by very old pieces and outfits inspired by nature.
First things first, the latest Met Gala theme seems to be a shift in the right direction. When looking back on previous Met Galas, the ones that are the most memorable seem to be the ones that are more theme-based as opposed to designer-based. In just the past decade, “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” and “China: Through the Looking Glass,” have proven that designer-based galas have less relevance than thematic ones.
Simply put, take a simple stroll down memory lane. Countless people remember the infamous Karlie Kloss meme of her “looking camp right in the eye” and Rihanna’s “pizza” dress, while there were few moments like that from the 2017 and 2023 Met Galas centered around Rei Kawakubo and Lagerfield respectively — unless you count Doja Cat vaping on the carpet, which sparked fears she would be banned from the gala due to their strict non-smoking rules.
“Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” might just be the revving moment the Met Gala needs. Not only does the theme allow for creativity and will likely lead to memorable looks, but the sponsors and outfits already being considered for the exhibit prove that this might just be the most interesting gala the Met steps have seen in years.
Starting with the sponsors, according to the announcement article, the lead sponsor for the gala is TikTok, with “additional support” from Loewe. Loewe is the name to look out for here. In recent years, Loewe has quickly become one of fashion’s most recognizable brands for their quirky designs. For example, not only did Loewe’s pixel designs draw massive attention to the brand, but their iconic Puzzle bag has been spotted on celebrities from Jennifer Lawrence to Beyoncé.
Loewe designs also seem to have a distinct connection to nature, which is another reason why it would not be shocking to see multiple celebrities don Loewe looks on the Met carpet. In the latest Loewe collection alone, there are many items with animal or plant imagery, such as their panda bag and lemur cardholder. Considering the 2024 Met Gala theme has an emphasis on nature and the connection between fashion and nature, Loewe seems like the perfect brand to pair with for this theme.
Additionally, some of the looks that were included in the announcement article which will likely appear in the exhibit are looks that have already been replicated or referenced in pop culture. One of the gowns included in the announcement article is a Christian Dior gown that was most recently replicated for Natalie Portman for the 76th Cannes Film Festival this year.
In terms of pop culture relevance, one of the pieces included in the announcement article was worn by an actress in one of her most recognizable films. In “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013), Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is once again selected to participate in the Hunger Games. In the scene when Katniss is selected, or “reaped,” Effie Trinket played by Elizabeth Banks is wearing a stunning Alexander McQueen dress covered in monarch butterflies. While it is not clear whether the McQueen gown is a part of the “Sleeping Beauties” aspect of the gala or the more “nature” aspect of it, the dress is one look that should most certainly be replicated or used as inspiration by attendees.
Every year the Met Gala guest list changes, though based on the theme and the sponsors, there are already some attendee-designer combinations that seem obvious, and if they do not happen it would be a real shame. Starting off with Olivia Rodrigo and Alexander McQueen. McQueen made the butterfly dress that was worn in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and butterflies are a signature motif for Rodrigo. Make that dress purple, which is Rodrigo’s signature color, and it seems like a match made in heaven. On another obvious route, two former Loewe ambassadors should definitely be in attendance at this year’s gala: Josh O’Connor and Taylor Russell. It would be incredibly exciting to see both at the gala considering their recent successes in “The Crown” (2016–23) and “Bones and All” (2022), respectively.
There are also many other combinations that seem like they could happen at the gala, though this is to be determined. Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman could attend with Dior due to the fact they are both its long-term ambassadors and the brand is being featured in the exhibit. Bad Bunny and Kendall Jenner could attend with Gucci because they were both featured in a recent Gucci campaign, and the brand has a lot of bee imagery that would align with the nature theme. The combinations of designers and attendees are limitless considering no one — aside from probably Anna Wintour — knows who is attending the gala and in what look, so it will be interesting to see how the 2024 gala plays out considering the theme is the most interesting one in years.
Whether the 2024 Met Gala turns out to be a success or a failure, it is impossible to deny that the event is one fashion enthusiasts will be waiting to see. Though the focus of the gala is to raise money for the Costume Institute, the event has become one of the most important fashion events in the world. After a few bad years with more boring themes, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” might just be the theme that brings the Met Gala back by allowing for creativity as a theme no one would have thought of.