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Hummingbirds and hooves take over the red carpet at Met Gala

By AFP - May 09,2024 - Last updated at May 09,2024

US actress Zendaya arrives for the 2024 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, in New York (AFP photo)

NEW YORK — From Bad Bunny’s Tudor-inspired hat and shoes resembling cloven hooves to the hummingbird perched delicately on Zendaya’s neck, the hosts set the tone at fashion’s biggest night — the annual Met Gala in New York.

Florals, animals and vintage couture abounded at the so-called Oscars of the East Coast, a mammoth fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

The extravaganza’s dress code this year is “The Garden of Time” — which draws inspiration from the 1962 short story of the same name written by English writer J.G. Ballard.

In essence, it is about the ephemeral nature of beauty — perhaps a weighty theme to press on the luminaries attending this year’s gala.

For sheer drama, co-hosts Bad Bunny and Zendaya along with rapper Cardi B and singer Lana del Rey commanded the red carpet.

Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny evoked a kind of Tudor matador with a sweeping hat and a black bouquet, with the only pop of color his bright red inseam and the patent shine of his cloven shoes.

Zendaya’s look had been among the most highly anticipated.

For her first Met Gala since 2019 the 27-year-old star was wreathed in jewel-toned lame, organza and satin designed by John Galliano, with vines crawling up her duchess corset and arms and what appeared to be a hummingbird nestled into her neck.

Most attendees chose to evoke awakenings and life, and perhaps to defy the theme by demonstrating the immortality of fashion through the centuries, with many 17th and 18th century flourishes.

Some — such as singer Lana del Rey — emphasized decay, with stark sculptural twigs rising from her gown to hold a veil of tulle like a canopy over her head.

South African singer Tyla’s strapless Balmain gown evoking the sands of time — right down to the hourglass purse — was sculpted so tightly to her body that she had to be carried up the steps at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Cardi B was resplendent in funereal black, with a train so expansive it required nine tuxedoed men to lift it up the stairs. “It’s a black rose,” she told journalists.


‘Mysterious and unexpected’ 


Celebrity interpretation of Met Gala themes have been wide-ranging and often sparked social media debate — but attendees this year appeared to shrug off the pressure.

“I don’t even think there’s pressure at all, I think it’s more of an opportunity,” actor Colman Domingo, who also carried a bouquet in a lily-colored caped jacket and wide-leg trousers, told journalists.

The theme parallels the exhibit “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion”, which focuses on the most fragile pieces of the Costume Institute’s vast collection.

The show, which will be on view to the public from May 10 through September 2, features clothing so delicate it cannot be displayed on mannequins.

The Costume Institute relies on the blockbuster Met Gala to fund its work, including exhibitions and acquisitions.

The gala was first held in 1948 and for decades was reserved for New York high society. Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, the high priestess of fashion, took over the show in the 1990s, transforming the party into a catwalk for the rich and famous.

This year, a ticket costs a cool $75,000, with tables starting at $350,000. The 2023 gala — which celebrated the late Karl Lagerfeld — raised nearly $22 million, a record sum.

But what exactly goes on inside is an enduring mystery.

“Something mysterious, I’m sure, and unexpected,” actor Jeff Goldblum told journalists on the red carpet, dressed as a count swathed in Tiffany jewels.

Guests are likely to peruse the exhibit, and stars such as Rihanna — whose command of the red carpet is usually unparalleled — have performed in the past.


Social media frenzy 


The spectacle is social media catnip for celebrity watchers — and once again, both the gala and the exhibit are co-sponsored by TikTok.

The tech world joined luminaries of music, film, politics and sports on the carpet, with TikTok CEO Shou Chew, also an honourary co-chair, in attendance.


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