A lexicon of American fashion

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Images courtesy of Business Insider

By Katherine Plunkett

Flooded with dazzling and luminous colors, the Met Gala’s red carpet hosted a collective of very diverse ensembles inspired by this year’s theme: “In America: A Fashion Lexicon”. From star-studded stars to statements, the A-List celebrities have gone all out in their portrayals of the theme, with some hitting the mark and others appearing to fail.

While it took place on Monday, September 13 of this year due to COVID-19, the Met Gala typically takes place on the first Monday in May. This year’s theme is Part 1 of an American Fashion Show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for which the event is a fundraiser.

So how have celebrities interpreted the theme of American fashion? Common takes included recreating iconic looks of old Hollywood stars, such as Gemma Chan, who recreated the look of America’s first Asian Hollywood star Anna May Wong, all denim outfits, bright colors, patterns bold, glitter and, of course, stars and stripes. The most notable choices include Lili Reinhart’s dress with every state flower, Kim Kardashian’s all-black faceless look, Lil Nas X’s three-piece outfit, and Alexandria Ocasio’s controversial “Tax the Rich” dress. – Get out. If you’re looking to see more, check out Vogue’s catalog of each outfit.

Images courtesy of Getty Images

The general public’s reaction to the event appears to be one of confusion. It was definitely a broad theme, and while some celebrities had interesting and thought-provoking interpretations, others dressed as if it was another red carpet. The word “basic” has been used by many to describe a considerable amount of outfits. While not everyone wore a statement piece, they all wore something that is part of the American fashion lexicon. This is what a lexicon is: a collection of the parts of a whole.

Every piece of clothing worn at the Met Gala last week showed an aspect of American fashion, from the basic to the baffling to the controversial. These outfits, along with Quannah Chasinghorse’s portrayal of Native Americans, Rhianna in streetwear and all the “staple” dresses, are a perfect synopsis of American culture. Even Kim Kardashian, whose look meant that she is American fashion herself herself, represents a large part of modern American culture that is truly obsessed with her and her siblings.

Images courtesy of Getty Images

Not only did the Met Gala Attendee Collective represent the American Fashion and Culture Collective, it also represented a generational shift that is happening in our society as many attendees were younger than usual. In an interview with NPR, fashion critic for GQ Rachel Tashjian commented on this change.

“A lot of these young participants chose to wear newer American designers… A lot of these types of designers aren’t necessarily household names but are really exciting and essential voices in American fashion,” Tashjian said. “And I think, you know, these exciting young people are wearing these kind of lesser-known designers, it’s kind of a possibility for those designers to become known names like Ralph Lauren.”

This shift towards younger participants and younger designers adds another aspect of American culture represented in the lexicon: that of the future.


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