More is More: Gilded Glamour at the Met Gala 2022

Fashion’s biggest night is getting bigger, with a Gilded Age-inspired dress code. Expect to see an abundance of lace, jewel toned silk and velvet, and maybe a few hats.

The first Monday in May (a.k.a The Met Gala) is less than three weeks away, and Anna Wintour has set the dress code: Gilded Glamour.  

The official theme for the gala, which will take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2 is In America: An Anthology of Fashion, expanding upon September’s gala theme, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, which focused on American independence. As usual, the event will see some of the world’s most famous people put their unique spins on the theme.  

The Gilded Age, from 1870 to around 1890, was a period of intense economic growth across America. Industrialization created cities as we know them, and the rise of monopolies meant that the wealth inequities between the upper and lower classes became more outwardly visible. It brought with it with it many extremes, from extreme wealth to extreme poverty, from corruption and greed to cities like New York and a rapidly growing economy.

In New York, the Gilded Age also brought opulent new architectural developments (think, the Brooklyn Bridge or the Metropolitan Opera House), as well as the rise of a new social hierarchy, the city’s first socialites (think Alva Vanderbilt and Caroline Schermerhorn Astor). It also spurred the creation of Vogue in 1893.  

Alva Vanderbilt at the Vanderbilt Ball, 1883. Image via the New-York Historical Society Library.

In order to remain at the very top echelon of society, New York’s glitterati held balls and galas where they could flaunt their wealth. The fashion of the time became all about excess, proving economic status via clothing.  

For the Met Gala, expect to see opulent gowns in an abundance of textiles, but most likely the focus will be on silk, velvet, and lace. The rich, jewel tone colors that marked the Gilded Age will unquestionably be accompanied by intricate beading and embroidery details. You might see ruching, ruffles, and long trains, and maybe even a bustle or a feather hat if someone goes all-out. Bows, corsets, and gloves are likely to be spotted as well. Some key Met Gala designers have always done this level of opulence well, like Oscar de La Renta and Versace.  

Image via Library of Congress.

Though the guest list is still under wraps, rumors have been swirling about a few potential attendees, including Kendall Jenner, Pete Davidson, Hugh Jackman, and Olivia Rodrigo. This year’s co-hosts are Regina King, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will be joined by honorary chairs Tom Ford, Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour.  

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