Gender-Bending Dressing Featured At ‘Party Of the Year’


Sarah Bruno, Staff Writer

The Met Gala, dubbed “the party of the year,” took place Sept. 13 in New York City. Created in 1948 by Eleanor Lambert, this event is a fundraiser for the Costume Institute, and the opening of its annual exhibit. This year the exhibition is, “America: A Lexicon of Fashion” and the theme for the gala was “American Independence.”

When thinking of the typical red-carpet event, what comes to mind is men dressed in suits, and women in a formal dress, and in the gala’s infancy, this was the standard. However, in recent years celebrities have used the event to showcase unique and outlandish outfitting while paying homage to the year’s theme.

This year, many women paid tribute to former actresses. Model Kaia Gerber took inspiration from Bianca Jagger’s 1981 Met Gala look. However, men’s fashion has always taken a back seat compared to the looks of their female counterparts. The standard attire for men is a suit, or an alteration to the classic, yet traditional look. This year, like in years past, some men broke free from this tradition.

Actor and comedian Pete Davidson appeared in a look curated by Thom Browne. Davidson made his Met Gala debut wearing a signature Thom Browne white jacket with black trim, and a black shift dress underneath. His stylist, Britt Theodora, explained the look in an interview for Vogue, “We felt the dress represented Thom Browne’s identity as an American designer who is constantly breaking boundaries and norms.” Theodora goes on to describe the fit of the dress Davidson was wearing as “the perfect ode to American tailoring.”

Removing the gender assigned to clothing has opened a much larger conversation. In an interview with NBC News, Nick Paget said, “The notion of clothing as an expression of our personality belongs to one gender or another is the social contrast that needs disassembling.”
The disassembling does not start at the Met Gala, but it has been a place for men to display a style not typically associated with their gender.

Men choosing to go to the Gala in more feminine attire has contributed to the breaking of gender norms, like Billy Porter, Jared Leto, and Jordan Roth from the 2019 Met Gala, themed, Camp: Notes on Fashion. This was not the first time men have chosen to abandon the expectation of tradition at the Gala and it won’t be the last. Since then, and even before, men have been choosing to wear dresses, skirts, and any clothing they want to, regardless of the perceived gender for the garment.

Troye Sivan, a singer, also chose to take a route similar to Pete Davidson, appearing in a dress. He donned a form fitting, floor length black dress with cutouts and black platform boots. He accessorized with a black leather armband. In an interview with host, Keke Palmer, Sivan stated, “When I think of America, especially New York, I think of chic, I think of black and white, I think of Robert Mapplethorpe, and I think of leather.”

The Met Gala almost always lives up to its nickname of the “biggest night in fashion,” and this year was no exception. From a classic tribute to American tailoring by Pete Davidson, to Troye Sivan’s tribute to famous photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe, who died during the AIDS epidemic. The night was not lacking in any interesting looks or styling that would start a conversation.