A red carpet that turns the page for all the right reasons

Looking good is no longer enough to stand out on the Met Gala red carpet, for the right reasons. This year’s Best Outfits at the annual fundraiser that puts designer fashion in the spotlight had compelling stories that went beyond the traditional show of sparkle and sexy.

On the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Kim Kardashian’s dress, originally worn by Marilyn Monroe, made headlines, Sarah Jessica Parker’s dress opened a chapter in American history while the Blake Lively’s double set was an encyclopedia masterpiece.

The threads of a story at the Met Gala 2022. Kim Kardashian in vintage Jean Louis, Sarah Jessica Parker in Christopher John Rogers, Blake Lively in Versace and Billie Eilish in Gucci.Credit:PA

Kardashian, who arrived masked last year in a famous black Balenciaga catsuit, emerged from the shadows in a beaded dress sketched by Cher’s favorite Bob Mackie for Hollywood costume designer Jean Louis, worn by Marilyn Monroe when she exhaled “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to President Kennedy in 1962.

The reality star proudly claimed she went on an aggressive diet to replicate Monroe’s proportions in the fitted dress, which on the surface ignored the party’s theme. Golden glamor and white tie. Its reputation as the most expensive dress to sell at auction, selling for $4.8 million ($5.8 million) in 2016, made it an appropriate representation for an era of excess.

Parker’s voluminous dress is the result of a thoughtful collaboration with designer Christopher John Rogers, who dressed US Vice President Kamala Harris for her inauguration. The checkered strapless dress, with a flared skirt and buttoned bodice, was inspired by a dress designed by Elizabeth Keckly for Mary Todd Lincoln in 1862.

The outfit’s provenance may have missed The Gilded Age by eight years, but Keckly’s background as a slave who bought his freedom was a bigger story to tell. Milliner Philip Treacy’s veiled helmet with feathers and flowers helped the history lesson flow.

As co-chair and serial participant of the event, overseen by the United States vogue editor Anna Wintour, the pressure was on Gossip Girl Lively alumni to adopt the dress code. Lively pulled off a Versace dress that required a decoder, with multiple references to the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, including a quick change where a copper-colored train ripped off, revealing an aqua hue for symbolize the patina of age.

Sticking to a not-so-short, but sweet and waisted post was Billie Eilish in a mint and lemon Gucci dress with a Gibson Girl silhouette, which didn’t appear to come from the costume department of The importance of being serious championing a message of sustainability using recycled fabrics.