Met Gala 2017: A Celebration of the Avant-garde and Asymmetrical 

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On May 1st, the Metropolitan Museum of Art honored Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo and her fashion label in an exhibition appropriately titled Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between. Notorious for deconstructing the sexualized gaze that dominates the fashion industry, Kawakubo has built her career on destabilizing the notion that garments are designed specifically to compliment and flatter the stature of the wearer.

On this approach to design Kawakubo states, “I built my work from within instead of satisfying a demand for sexualized and ostentatious clothing”.

Anna Wintour, the editor of American Vogue, artistic director of Condé Nast and undisputed suzerain of the Met Gala transformed what was once simply the marriage of celebrating high fashion and philanthropy into the multi-industry juggernaut of a night-out that it is today. 

With an impressive mélange of elites from all realms of creative expression, up-and-coming designers, celebrities, directors, models, Instagram models, music artists and industry insiders the Met Gala is a night to see and be seen. (If you can afford the hefty $30,000 a seat price-tag and earn the final, personal approval of Ms. Wintour)

With the featured designer praised for her lack of adherence to industry and binary norms, it lends to reason that the Avant-garde theme of the night was a not-so-subtle nod to Kawakubo’s unique approach to the subversion of fashion as art/art as fashion. 

Some A-list guests embraced the freedom from conventional design that permeates standard red carpets, while others played it safe and stuck with flattering, subdued pieces.

Check out the top “wow!” looks of the night: 

Rihanna, queen of streetwear fashion traded her Manolo boots for a Comme des Garçons dress with conical layers of floral elements.

Co-host and co-chair Katy Perry ditched her usual bedazzled duds for a flowing John Galliano number with “eye witness” embroidered haphazardly across the upper section of her veil.

Jaden Smith kept fans and spectators alike asking “why?” with his characteristic meta exploration into the concept of the “self” by holding his own severed dreadlocks as an accent piece.

Katie Holmes, in direct confrontation with the theme of the night, arrived in a gorgeous if not extremely normative Zac Posen ruffled gown.

Nicki Minaj, true to form dazzled guests in a red and black piece by oft-mentioned (on the red carpet) H&M designers. Notice Kawakubo’s face on the belt?

Cara Delevigne sizzled in silver in this statement belted two-piece from Chanel.

Selena Gomez playing it safe and simple in a sheer Coach gown (and matching accessories, naturally.)

Overall, the 2017 Met Gala was a unique showcase of creative types and A-listers alike paying homage to Kawakubo’s dedication to the destruction of the barriers separating creative expression and wearable fashion- and while some embraced the deviation from the norm, others hid behind flattering A-lines and curve-hugging seams. 

Per Kawakubo herself, “For something to be beautiful, it doesn’t have to be pretty.”