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Hits and misses: Here’s what first-time attendees wore to the 2021 Met Gala

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Sep 14, 2021 4:46 pm

Met Gala season is well underway!

With icons such as Rhianna, Lady Gaga, and Zendaya already taking up the mantle as Met gala crowd favorites, there's always the talk on how first-timers fared for their first Met Gala red carpet looks. 

With the theme of “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” this year's Met Gala shines the spotlight on the celebration of American history and independence. The hype was palpable for the annual fundraising benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as it had been previously canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from the usual high-hitting celebrities and fashion personalities, this year's Met Gala also welcomed Gen Z stars that owe their rise to social media. Check out what the new crop of newcomers wore to their very first Met Gala Awards.

Addison Rae

The TikTok and Netflix starlet wore a corseted vintage-red 2003 Tom Ford for Gucci gown. She also ditched her signature brown locks for a blonde lob.

Addison's attendance didn't come without pushback, as she's been the talk of social media for being invited to the prestigious event. With her almost 85 million TikTok followers, however, some have said that it's the Gala's way of bringing in new fans.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC)

The New York City congresswoman chose to evoke a powerful message for the gala: "tax the rich." AOC worked with Canadian creative director Aurora James to complete the look.

In an Instagram post after the event, the government official explained that "before anybody starts wilding out—NYC elected officials are regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing our city’s cultural institutions that serve the public. I was one of several in attendance."

Barbie Ferreira

Actress and singer Barbie Ferreira was one of the Euphoria cast members, alongside Hunter Schafer, invited to the event. She rocked the carpet in an off-shoulder and pearl-encrusted Jonathan Simkhai gown.


Rapper and former 2NE1 leader CL made history that night as one of the first two K-Pop female idols who brought their A-game to the Met Gala. Undeniably understanding the American-themed assignment, CL rocked a denim dress tied together a traditional Korean Hanbok knot.

Emma Chamberlain

Though serving as her Met Gala debut, this isn't the first that the YouTube personality has dipped her toes in the world of fashion—as she's been tapped by luxury brand Louis Vuitton for their 2021 LV Squad and LV Sunset sneakers campaign.

Eugene Lee Yang

Try Guys try: stunning the Met Gala carpet. In an inspiring twist of fate, Eugene was actually dreaming of the day he would walk the Met Gala runway for years. In a 2020 video titled “The Try Guys Recreate Met Gala Fashion,” Eugene recreated Zendaya's iconic Cinderella look for 2019''s “Camp”-themed Gala.

In 2019, Eugene also praised Rihanna's bright yellow gown, saying, "I have legally changed my birthday to May 4 2015 because Rihanna in the yellow Guo Pei gown at the Met Gala literally gave me life."

Three years later, he's now at the same event!

Hunter Schafer

Zendaya's romantic interest in Euphoria donned a two-piece magnetic crop-top bustier and pencil skirt outfit to the event.

Kim Petras

Here's something you don't see every day—even at the Met Gala. German singer Kim Petras stole the show with a Collina Strada dress showcasing a 3D horse head on her bust.

“She just really wanted to make a statement, and I think we are making a statement for sure,” said Colla Strada's Hillary Taymour on the outfit choice. "We could be on the best-dressed list or the worst-dressed list, but hopefully it’s one of those moments people will reference."

Lil Nas X

If there's someone who has to make a statement, it's Lil Nas X with his three-layered regal looks. For his first piece, he wore a giant cape with royal embellishments on it. His second outfit transformation saw the 22-year-old artist in solid gold armor. Finally, he got to move freely in his third piece: a golden Versace jumpsuit.

Surprisingly, no blood-infused pieces this time.

Megan Thee Stallion

Megan Thee Stallion kept in simple in a Marilyn Monroe-inspired ruffled gown designed by Coach.

Madison Beer

The 22-year-old singer and online personality was a vision in deep green in her One/Of by Patricia Voto gown and Stuart Weitzman heels.

Naomi Osaka

The tennis star took inspiration from her many cultures to bring life to this custom Louis Vuitton piece.

The ensemble features a painstaking 22 ruffles, 18 meters of leather satin, and a 50-meter silk hem to complete the look, which was first a digital watercolor painting made by Naomi's sister, Mari. She then incorporated her Haitian and Japanese heritages to the final look.

Nikkie De Jager

Known for her YouTube makeup channel under the moniker NikkieTutorials, Nikkie chose to commemorate the late LGBT rights activist Marsha P. Johnson with the “Pay it no mind” sash—a nod to ignoring society's expectations of gender and identity. Nikkie herself came out as transgender in early 2020.

"When I got asked to join the Met Gala, I knew I wanted to pay homage to a trans icon who was at the forefront of the Stonewall Riot," she shared on Instagram. "Marsha P. Johnson paved the way for so many of us, and I hope I made my community proud tonight."

Olivia Rodrigo

The 18-year-old record-breaker channeled the punk rock era with a sheer lace bodysuit ensemble by Yves Saint Lauren.

In an interview with Vogue after the event, she shared that "I personally love American punk music, and I think Saint Laurent does a really good job of making punk rock feminine. So that's what I was going for tonight."


Make way for another K-Pop star! BLACKPINK's Rosé made her debut in a custom little black dress from Saint Laurent. She topped off her look with a radiant bow from the luxury brand's winter 2021 collection.


Fil-Am Rapper Saweetie gave love to her two roots for her first Met Gala ensemble. Her long gown featured one panel in red and black to represent the Black American Heritage flag and the other in red, white, blue, and yellow to represent the Philippine flag “because that’s what makes me, me,” the artist shared.

Photos from AFP