In the words of the great André Leon Talley, the Met Gala is the Super Bowl of fashion. It is being hosted on the first Monday of May and everyone who is anyone attends it. It actually stands for much more than fashion. Hosted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the annual fundraising gala celebrates the Costume Institute’s new exhibition on a changing theme. The first ever Met Gala was hosted in 1946 and, decade after decade, it became the party of the year. I would say it is the fashion equivalent of the Oscars- the night when fashion designers, models and A-list stars gather to show off the greatest and most extravagant looks. Speaking of extravagant, the over-the-top Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons was the theme of this year’s gala. The exhibition included 150 of her most extraordinary designs, dating as far back as the early 1980’s. It was a showcase of fashion told through the lens of contemporary culture.
While mainstream media and fashion outlets focused on the Kardashian and Jenner clans, Rihanna and the Hadid’s, I wondered how fashion editors missed one of the most powerful female political figures and her stunning outfit. Caroline Kennedy attended the gala with her son Jack. Daughter of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis made quite the sartorial statement wearing a floral sphere-like design, outshining dozens of other fashionistas on the red carpet with her more than bold fashion choice. Designed by Rei Kawakubo herself, the dress was avant-garde and a rare delight in the world of copy-paste outfit ideas.
Aside from her stunning appearance and being honorary chair of the ball, the rumor is that she’s positioning herself for a political run. Former US ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy is said to be eyeing a New York House or Senate seat, following the legacy of her father. On Monday, she spoke in front of Anna Wintour and Met execs, saying, ‘Rei’s work is beautiful and transcends age and gender . . . it makes us look more carefully at the things we take for granted. “Whenever my kids would come to visit me, it was [Kawakubo’s] stores they would want to see in order to know what was going on, what was happening,”
What amazed me even more was the subtle political statement she made with the piece she opted for. If you look carefully, it speaks volumes about the American presidential history. Throughout history, the First Ladies were known for their exquisite taste in fashion, china patterns and art collections. Now, think of Mary Todd Lincoln. If you look at her portraits, you will surely notice magnificent floral teacups and serving platters, floral headbands and vivid gowns. Having in mind the incredible list of similarities and coincidences between former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy (note: Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln, Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy / Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, Kennedy was assassinated on November 19, 1963) it is no wonder Caroline decided to channel her inner Mary Todd and intrigue the most observant fashion minds.
It has been over 15 years since Caroline attended the annual Met Ball, and Kawakubo is what compelled her to come back to the party this year. ‘There is something about the uncompromising originality of her work, the commitment to excellence, the attention to detail, and the closeness of her team that embodies the sensibility of Japan,” said Kennedy in her introductory remarks at the press conference. ‘In today’s world, where we each need to figure out what we believe in, and how to stand for something, this exhibition has a lot to teach us.’
Photo Credit: The New York Times, W magazine