Glitz and Glamour Amidst Global Turmoil: The 2024 Met Gala

Last Updated: June 10, 2024By

Glitz and Glamour Amidst Global Turmoil: The 2024 Met Gala

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Picture this: just a few blocks away, people are rallying in the streets, voices rising in protest. At the same time, the skies over Rafah are lit up with airstrikes. Meanwhile, in the heart of New York City, the Met Gala is in full swing, with celebrities draped in extravagant outfits made of sand and crystals, seemingly untouched by the chaos outside.

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A Night of Glitter, Not Grit

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The red carpet was a spectacle of fashion fantasy. Think dresses with endless trains needing a small army to carry, and suits looking more like plush sofas than clothing. But here’s the kicker—there wasn’t a single nod to the tumultuous world events happening just outside. It was like being in a bubble where the chants of protestors didn’t even make a dent.

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Venetia La Manna, a fair fashion advocate, nailed it when she described the scene as “really dystopian.” She shared a video on Instagram highlighting the absurdity of it all: while stars were voluntarily suffocating in their tight gowns, Palestinians in Gaza were losing their ability to breathe and move, trapped by the conflict.

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Met Gala’s Political Past

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Believe it or not, the Met Gala hasn’t always been so detached from politics. Remember in 2021 when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines with her “Tax the Rich” dress? Or in 2018, when Lena Waithe wore a rainbow cape to align with the “Heavenly Bodies” theme? Even in 2022, Riz Ahmed made a statement about immigrant workers with his outfit.

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Fashion, as La Manna puts it, is inherently political. Clothes, fabrics, and styles all carry deeper meanings. And with the world’s eyes on them, red carpet events are perfect platforms for making bold statements. Look back to 2018, when actors at the Golden Globes wore black for #MeToo, or the Screen Actors Guild awards in 2022, where blue and yellow were donned in support of Ukraine.

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Silence on the Red Carpet

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So why the silence this year? La Manna speculates it’s all about avoiding backlash and potential financial losses. Orsola de Castro, another fashion industry activist, suggests that there’s a fear of speaking out, even on such glaring issues.

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High-profile figures might be shying away from public statements, perhaps scarred by previous industry-wide outrage. Just look at the reaction to Jonathan Glazer’s Oscars speech about Gaza—outcry followed even his reasonable political statement.

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A Missed Opportunity

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The Met Gala aims to raise funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. According to Amy Odell, a biographer of Anna Wintour, brands usually steer clear of controversy to avoid alienating consumers. But in today’s social media-driven world, it’s hard to keep events apolitical. Instagram and other platforms seamlessly mix images of the Met Gala with those of global crises, making it impossible to view the Gala in isolation.

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This year’s theme, “The Garden of Time,” was inspired by a JG Ballard short story about societal collapse. Yet, the irony of celebrities donning floral outfits while ignoring the story’s darker themes wasn’t lost on social media. Fashion writer Rosalind Jana aptly called it “deliciously ironic.”

Anna Wintour, known for courting controversy in the past, likely had a hand in the outfits paraded down the red carpet. She probably knew about Ocasio-Cortez’s 2021 dress, for example. Outsiders, yearning for solidarity from their idols, found the lack of political symbols—no ribbons, pins, or subtle nods—disheartening. For La Manna and De Castro, this silence signifies a lack of bravery.

Fashion’s Future: A Call for Courage

As the world watches and judges, the fashion industry faces a crossroads. Will it continue to turn a blind eye, or will it embrace its inherent political nature? The 2024 Met Gala’s disconnect highlights a need for change—a call for those in the spotlight to use their platform for more than just glitter and glamour. It’s time for the fashion world to show some guts and stand up for what truly matters.

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