Zendaya Wins Met Gala, Sets Standard for Years to Come

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Unless you’ve been in a study room for the past week, you’ve experienced the surge of social media posts about the 2018 Met Gala, the Super Bowl for fashion fans wherein celebrities have designer clothes made for them to celebrate the industry and evoke a specific theme that changes every year. Much like the Super Bowl, people debate the merits of the best-dressed stars and pretend as if they actually care about fashion for a night.

The foundationless, uninformed opinion-forming is the best part of both events, letting us lay-people judge the talents of extremely talented people and explain how they could’ve done their jobs better, with one of the largest criticisms of this year’s Gala being that not many people actually adhered to the “Heavenly Bodies” theme.

While some stars came fully decked out in religious imagery and priest robes, there were a disappointingly large amount of seemingly regular clothes walking around the red carpet. A lot of dudes wore suits, most of which looked like the typical outfits — at least as typical as a Prada suit can get — that you would expect a celebrity to wear to an award show or movie premiere.

While these outfits were still stunning, the Met Gala has always seemed to passively request its attendees to go to the fringe with their clothes, choosing obscure and loosely defined themes for each designer to interpret in their own way. A great example of this taken into action this year is Chadwick Boseman’s Versace suit, a white suit embroidered with gold crosses covered with a regal papal robe. He, among a small selection of other properly dressed men, carried the cross for the tons of guys who came to the Gala wearing lackluster outfits.

Where the male attendees lagged, the female Gala population pulled through immensely. Zendaya’s Joan of Arc inspired dress was hands-down the best thing at the Gala, taking the armor and stoic confidence of the French woman and completely making it her own. It’s a truly breathtaking dress, one that I spent half an hour mindlessly staring at before realizing I was in the middle of a lecture.

Another similarly elegant dress was Lana Del Rey’s, which looked like it was pulled straight out of a classical painting. With daggers pointing at a golden heart in the middle of her chest and blue wings sprouting from a circle above her head, the whole outfit was jaw dropping and was perfectly evocative of the religious theme.

Outfits like Rey’s and Zendaya’s encapsulate the spirit of the Gala, suggesting a theme to people who aren’t aware of the festivities and overshadowing the efforts of people who were invited to them. Zendaya’s dress was a gorgeous recreation of Joan of Arc’s most famous portrayals and is much easier to recognize than the many black suits wandering around the venue.
Some people, however, took issue with celebrities using religious imagery to inspire their outfits. Piers Morgan, talk show host and world’s least funny person who thinks he is, wrote an opinion article about the Gala and how it appropriates his Catholic culture. Despite the Vatican signing off on this year’s theme, Morgan still felt that it disrespected his beliefs by allowing celebrities to wear religious imagery as clothing for a night.

However, he and those who agree with him missed the point of the Gala. It was in no way disrespecting Catholicism, but rather featuring it and celebrating its artistic impact through the many years it has been active. The clothes of the night were inspired by these images, but simply wearing them does nothing other than promote the culture and prove how it can be universally loved.

The Met Gala is a wonderful time of the year, and Zendaya’s dress will haunt me until next year’s surely blows me away again — and hopefully more dudes will come ready to do the same.

Isaac Espinosa is a third-year electrical engineering major. He can be reached at imespino@uci.edu.

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