For the past 72 years, Vogue magazine has drawn the who’s-who of New York – including top actors, musicians, athletes, and lately, TikTok royalty – to the stately steps of the Metropolitan Museum for the opening of an exhibit that raises millions of dollars for the Met. With a host and guest list carefully chosen by Anna Wintour herself, the Met Gala is perhaps the most anticipated fashion event of the year. Taking place on the first Monday in May – except for the 71st gala last year, which unfolded in September due to the pandemic – is such an ambitious effort that Wintour and the event committee typically start planning the following year’s event the day after one concludes.
This year’s theme, “Gilded Glamour and White Tie,” was a continuation of 2021’s exploration of American style, in keeping with the Costume institute’s accompanying two-part exhibition “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.”
Each spring, I look forward to seeing how designers interpret the theme with their own creativity, identity, and twist. This year was no exception. I always say the Met Gala is all about having an open mind and thinking outside the box, which will hopefully inspire the masses. With its combination of high fashion and mainstream appeal, the Met Gala has become a particularly unique red carpet occasion.
I do think there is a fine line between custom couture and an actual costume, which has been making headlines leading up to tonight’s gala. It’s become a bit fashionable in insider conversations to opine that the Met Gala may be losing its red carpet fashion appeal, to the point where Tom Ford, who has served as co-chair of the gala in the past, declared: “It’s turned into a costume party.”
Lamenting the current state of Met Gala looks, he went on to say: “It used to just be very chic people wearing beautiful clothing going to an exhibition about the 18th century. You didn’t have to look like the 18th century, you didn’t have to dress like a hamburger.”
All of the pre-show headlines about the state of The Met Gala’s red carpet definitely put heightened anticipation of the looks, and I’m sure stress on the designers, stylists and their muses who they are dressing. Of course, dressing well is the best revenge and Wintour’s esteemed guests did not disappoint.
So whose looks anointed them best dressed at this year’s gala? Here are some I think even Ford himself might approve of:
Met Gala 2022 best dressed
Blake Lively in Versace
Blake Lively, who is a co-chair for the star-studded gala, wore a custom gown from Versace. The dynamic duo of Lively and Versace have never failed, and tonight was proof – and as Lively was the first to arrive, she kicked off the excitement for the night. Lively’s princess-style Versace dress was adorned with a gigantic bow, which was “unwrapped” by assistants to transform the dress from rose gold to aqua blue before the press’s eyes.
Lively said that her inspiration came from New York City architecture and the classic buildings. About the train of her dress, Lively went on to say, “this is the constellation of Grand Central Station.” Her bodice, meanwhile, was a nod to the Empire State Building while the draping and crown recalled the Statue of Liberty – her crown’s had seven tiers, just like the Statue of Liberty has seven rays.
Sydney Sweeney in Tory Burch
Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney wore a white custom Tory Burch strapless gown, and transformed her look by removing the taffeta ball skirt to reveal a corseted mini skirt underneath. I was very excited to see this number on the red carpet, especially worn by a young Hollywood luminary. Sweeney’s ensemble married classic glamour with youth appeal. This look will definitely be a tear sheet for brides, especially brides who are adventurous enough to rock two looks in one.
Hailey Bieber in Saint Laurent
Hailey Bieber’s white halter-neck slip gown by Saint Laurent featured chic ethereal feather details on a dramatic, magical shawl. She paired the cream look with a sleek top knot, black pantyhose, and strappy peep-toe stilettos. To my guess Bieber told Vogue she was channelling her supermodel predecessor, the iconic Jerry Hall, and the era of more is more: disco and glamour-flowing dresses, and stellar embellishments.
I think Bieber’s look – classic American evening wear in the form of the halter-style dress paired with Gilded glamour in the form of the shawl – was perfect for the theme. Bieber’s style is one many women wish to emulate – she’s one of the top inspiration references that my clients show me. I think this look will also inspire the bridal market and hopefully the blacktie attendees – perhaps minus the feathers on the shawl, but I know we will be seeing more white satin halter dresses.
Kerry Washington in Tory Burch
Kerry Washington wore a custom Tory Burch black silk chiffon gown with sheer tulle corset and tulle draping at the shoulder – a sultry look, which isn’t typical for Tory Burch. Although many celebrities wore similar sheer black gowns, Washington’s was my favourite because it embodied glamour with its corset and tulle drape and kept it from being confused with high-end intimate apparel, unlike some others.
Engie Hassan is a royal and celebrity stylist, costume designer and Vogue Alum. For red carpets Engie has styled Priyanka Chopra, Jeremy Piven, Joshua Henry, Taryn Manning, Rizwan Manji (Schitt’s Creek), comedienne Maysoon Zayid, Antoinique Smith and many others.
Her Cannes styling for Indian actress and activist Fagun Thakar secured best dressed lists including Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, The CUT and more.
For personal styling and other events she has worked with Orlando Bloom, Kanye West, Miranda Kerr, Lady Gaga, Andre Holland, Amir Arison and more.
Hassan is a costume designer and wardrobe stylist for over a dozen film and television projects including three films premiering this year.