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Met Gala 2021: From Statue of Liberty to Barbie, stars come in their best ‘In America’ fashion

By Camille Santiago Published Sep 14, 2021 2:47 pm

Fashion's biggest night is back. The Met Gala, an annual fundraising benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, officially returned after being canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exclusive event kickstarts the two-part exhibition put on by the Costume Institute at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The first exhibit, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” honors the 75th anniversary of the Costume Institue, and attendees were asked to come in their best interpretation of the theme.

A lot of them went literal in their of star-spangled ensembles, cowboy hats, and the Statue of Liberty-inspired frocks. While others paid homage to America's well-known icons like Audrey Hepburn and Barbie.

Ahead, find out the inspirations behind these stars' outfits.

Billie Eilish: Barbie Doll

Billie Eilish in Oscar dela Renta

Billie Eilish's whole look gives us Marilyn Monroe vibes, but it was actually inspired by the iconic American doll, Barbie. 

"It was my favorite thing in the world," Eilish told Met Gala co-host Keke Palmer. "I would ask for them for Christmas every single year. The dresses, genuinely that was my inspiration."

Camila Cabello: Studio 54

Camila Cabello in Michael Kors

Met Gala first-timer Camila Cabello donned a sequined violet two-piece outfit by Michael Kors, which pays homage to the popular disco nightclub in New York, Studio 54.

Shortly after her arrival, Cabello told Palmer, “With Michael Kors, he’s one of the people who wasn’t just referencing Studio 54, he was living it. It’s that chic vibe.”

Dan Levy: American multimedia artist and LGBTQIA+ activist, David Wojnarovicz

Dan Levy in Loewe and Cartier

Schitt's Creek star Dan Levy took this opportunity to advocate for "queer love and visibility" by wearing a balloon-sleeved top with a picture of the world map and two men kissing.

He shared a background of his outfit on Instagram saying: "I was fortunate enough to also get to work with @jonathan.anderson and the incredible team of designers and craftspeople at @loewe on a look that meant something to all of us. With support from the estate of American multimedia artist and LGBTQIA+ activist, David Wojnarovicz (1954-1992), Jonathan and the design team built upon an image of two men kissing from Wojnarovicz’s work, F**k You F****t F**ker, named after a homophobic cartoon the artist had come across."

"But rather than feed on the message of hate, we wanted to celebrate queer love and visibility - acknowledging how hard artists like Wojnarovicz had to fight, while also presenting the imagery in a way that offered a hopeful message," Levy added.

"Tonight, we’re celebrating the resilience, the love, and the joy of the community while honoring a crucial American voice that was taken from us too soon."

Emily Blunt: Statue of Liberty and Hedy Lamarr in Ziegfeld Girl

Emily Blunt in Miu Miu

Devil Wears Prada star Emily Blunt graced the red carpet in her "most daring" outfit: an embellished sheer dress and white cape by Miu Miu. Her dress reportedly took inspiration from the Statue of Liberty, while her star-adorned headpiece is a subdued version of the one American actress Hedy Lamarr wore in her 1941 classic film, Ziegfeld Girl.

"The beautiful glass raindrop shape beaded dress and headpiece were like a modern twist on the Statue of Liberty," hairstylist Laini Reeves told InStyle. "I decided to make her hair intertwine with the headpiece — slicked back with a ponytail."

Gemma Chan: Anna May Wong

Gemma Chan in Prabal Gurung

Eternals star Gemma Chan paid tribute to Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American film star of Hollywood’s golden era who was known for fighting against the discrimination Asians faced in Hollywood, wearing a mini dress by Prabal Gurung.

“A trailblazer, fashion icon and woman ahead of her time – she paved the way for those who came after and continues to inspire,” Chan wrote on Instagram.

Jennifer Lopez: American West

Jennifer Lopez in Ralph Lauren

It's Jenny from the Wild Wild West!

Jennifer Lopez made her way to the Met Gala red carpet wearing a chocolate brown high slit gown with faux fur wrap by Ralph Lauren, accessorized with silver statement necklaces, chunkyleather belt, a hat, and silver platform heels.

Who knew cowgirl outfits can look so high fashion?

Kendall Jenner: Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady

Kendall Jenner in Givenchy

What's American fashion without giving an ode to classic Hollywood films? Kendall Jenner paid homage to Audrey Hepburn's iconic character, Eliza Doolittle in the 1963 film My Fair Lady. She wore a sheer crystal-embellished dress by Givenchy, which featured a bedazzled choker and shoulder pieces.

"We wanted to show classic aspects of Audrey but in a more contemporary fashion,” told makeup artist Mary Phillips to Vogue. "Once we knew the dress Kendall would be wearing, as a team, we collectively decided to take bits and pieces of Audrey's glam from iconic images over her career."

Photos by Mike Coppola/Getty Images via AFP (Lopez, Jenner, Levy, Blunt); Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images via AFP (Eilish, Chan); Angela Weiss/AFP (Cabello, Hudson)