Lena Waithe made a powerful political statement. Katy Perry made a splash with her angel-inspired look. And Solange Knowles made everyone Google “Florida Water.”
Rihanna, one of the evening’s co-hosts, took style cues from the head of the Catholic Church.
Solange visits from the future (and it includes Florida Water)
Solange Knowles was late to the red carpet, but who cares? Ever the visionary, Ms. Knowles looked like she was visiting from the future to grace us with her presence. Her dress, if you could call it that, by Iris van Herpen, was an inorganic black material that was maybe rubber or maybe latex, and definitely unconventional.
She wore thigh-high black boots with chunky translucent heels by Brother Vellies. On her head, a black do-rag and a gold halo. In her hand, a bottle of Florida Water in a black macramé-like carrier. Florida Water, a cologne and cleanser that has been in the United States for more than 200 years, includes lemon, orange and lavender oils.
A stand-out look in a night of many
The Met Gala is intended to be the world’s greatest stage for avant-garde fashion moments, and Frances McDormand brought the weirdness in spades.
The Valentino creation combined aqua robes and a significant collar with a fitted chartreuse dress, topped off with headpiece of long needles holding up feathery bits of aqua fabric that obscured her face.
She was joined by Pierpaolo Piccioli, who oversees Valentino’s creative direction. She has the personality, talent and fierceness needed to wear this garment, he said.
Katy Perry is famous for her over-the-top costumes, and her look at the Met Gala did not disappoint. The star, who is still sporting a blonde pixie cut, was dressed as an angel, with giant white, feathery wings suited for a Victoria’s Secret catwalk. She also wore a long-sleeved gold mini dress and knee-high gold stiletto boots.
The weight of the wings did not stop her from kneeling on the red carpet. “I feel very angelic. Celestial. Ethereal,” she said. “I love dressing up. I love participating.”
As for Ms. Perry’s pre-party prep: “I ate some pasta Bolognese,” she said, patting her stomach.
True colors on the red carpet
Lena Waithe, the actress, producer and screenwriter who won a 2017 Emmy for her work the Netflix comedy “Master of None,” wore a suit designed by Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera and draped herself in a rainbow cape. Hers was one of the more political messages of the night.
“This is like my skin, I’m proud to be in it,” said Ms. Waithe, who is a lesbian. “I’ve got the community on my back to make sure they know I’ve got them all the time.”
Rihanna takes things literally
Rihanna, one of this year’s hosts, looked like she took a spin through the pope’s closet and took the most fabulous bits. A massive headpiece, a heavily beaded mini-dress topped with a skirt and cropped jacket, and a crucifix necklace comprised the look by Maison Margiela Artisanal.
The superstar caused a tizzy on the red carpet but seemed as chill as ever while snapping a selfie with the model Ashley Graham and Eva Chen, the director of fashion partnerships at Instagram. When the singer SZA noticed Rihanna, she was visibly star-struck and zipped up the stairs toward her.
“The things we do, darling.”
Bella Hadid, wearing Chrome Hearts, said the best part of her night was seeing Anna Wintour: “I always get really, really star-struck when I see her.” Her black headpiece was attached to her floor-length veil and train. “It’s sewn into my head,” she said. “The things we do, darling.”
A warrior look for Olivia Munn, and a little bloodshed
Olivia Munn, wearing a heavy gold H&M dress and chain mail headpiece, said the look was inspired by the Crusades. “They had to sew me in on the way here,” Ms. Munn said, adding that she had been getting ready since 10:30 a.m. The ride was not without a little bloodshed. Before arriving on the red carpet, one of the links of the dress split and sliced her leg. She pulled her dress aside to reveal blood. “It’s just a little nick,” she said. “It happens.”
About the theme, Ms. Munn said: “It’s interesting because the religious theme allows more people to pull from different places,” like the Virgin Mary and Madonna, she said.
Fancy pants and a bold floral on Amal Clooney
George and Amal Clooney, a co-host of this year’s Met Gala, were this year’s A-list early birds. Ms. Clooney wore a Richard Quinn creation: a silver strapless corset-like top with dark skinny pants and a silver-and-rose-patterned train that crinkled like foil. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail.
The couple welcomed twins Alexander and Ella in June. So where were the babies? “They’re under the dress,” joked Mr. Clooney, who turned 57 yesterday.
Called “the party of the year,” “the Oscars of the East Coast” and “an A.T.M. for the Met,” the annual party, always held the first Monday in May, is a chance for stars to push the limits of fashion — and credit lines. Tickets cost $30,000 each. A table goes for $275,000. All proceeds go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, the only curatorial department at the museum that funds itself.
What happens inside?
It’s a secret! For the last three years, posting on social media has been banned after the red carpet. As Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times’s chief fashion critic, writes: “There is a receiving line inside with the hosts, and guests have to file by and air kiss them. Then guests tour the exhibition (or at least, the part in the Met) on their way to the cocktail party, so they are theoretically forced to experience some culture. After cocktails, they are called in to dinner, and there is always some form of entertainment. (Last year, it was Katy Perry.)”
No invitation for Trump
And in case you were wondering, President Donald Trump will not be one of them. He has been a regular in the past — and proposed to Melania at the 2004 gala — but last fall, Ms. Wintour told the late-night host James Corden that President Trump was off the guest list for good.