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The Winners and Losers of the 2019 Met Gala

Several people misunderstood the theme (“camp” does have multiple meanings) and several just ignored it, but then there was Lady Gaga, changing outfits four times on one red carpet

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

The Met Gala—“Fashion’s Biggest Night”—is responsible for some of the wildest, most memeable celebrity moments of the year. This year’s theme, “Camp: Notes on Fashion” was initially worrying: Would attendees understand it? Does anyone understand it? But it yielded an entertaining, impressive range of looks. From Barbie drag to Cinderella cosplay (yes, it was a weird night), here are the winners and losers of the 2019 Met Gala.


Loser: A Gala Without Rihanna

Cardi B
Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

The reigning queen of the Met Gala was nowhere to be seen on the pink carpet, despite countless social media pleas and even a poorly Photoshopped image of her “look” this year. Luckily, there was no shortage of on-theme and fully committed divas willing to temporarily fill Rihanna’s shoes. Cardi B showed out in a bedazzled headdress and quilted train; Janelle Monáe somehow managed to wear four Christian Siriano hats at once; and even Kacey Musgraves threw her hat in the ring by literally dressing like Barbie, hair-dryer purse and all.

But still: No Rihanna. Her absence was resounding.

Winner: Perfectly Campy Entrances

Lady Gaga
Getty Images

Anyone trying to keep up on social media when Lady Gaga arrived at the Met Gala had an unexpectedly hard time. She first appeared in this voluminous Brandon Maxwell gown, arm in arm with the designer, with various umbrella-toting men prancing around her. Then she took off the pink overcoat to reveal a structured black gown… then removed that to reveal another slinky hot-pink dress… then removed that to finally reveal a classic Gaga lingerie set and death-defying heels. The entrance was performance art that could be challenged mere moments later by only Pose’s Billy Porter, who casually entered on top of a dais carried by six shirtless, gilded men.

The Met Gala is not a contest, but also it is, and Billy Porter won it.

Loser: Disney’s Copyright Laws

Law Roach and Zendaya
Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

If Rihanna is the queen of the Met Gala, Zendaya is the princess, and lord knows she embraced that mantle this year with full Cinderella cosplay. Her gown lit up, her stylist acted as her fairy godmother—complete with smoke effects—and she left one slipper behind on the pink carpet.

Zendaya wasn’t the only one to go Disney: Katy Perry went full Lumiere in a light-up chandelier dress, which was both on-theme and a blatant fire hazard. Katie Holmes also showed up in a purple Zac Posen gown that was eerily similar to what Yzma wore in The Emperor’s New Groove—a camp icon if ever there was one!

Winner: Targaryen Chic

Getty Images

OK, so maybe dragon inspired fashion isn’t quite on theme, but when you look as incredible as Saoirse Ronan does, I can’t be mad about it. She wasn’t alone in taking her cues from Daenerys Targaryen, either: Natasha Lyonne opted for the Khaleesi shoulder-pads look, while Florence Welch went full dragon queen in this incredible sculpted cape.

As for Gemma Chan, she was neither strictly on theme nor particularly Targaryen inspired. But I’m just saying, if Dany rolled up to King’s Landing in a fit like this last week, they’d have opened the gates for her and handed over the keys.

Loser: The Same Boring Models

Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Every year, the same models get invited to the Met Gala, and every year, they ignore the theme and wear whatever slinky, classically pretty dress they want. Gisele and Gisele’s husband (whoever you are), I’m looking at you. Gaga is out here going through four different outfits in 10 minutes, and you can’t muster up anything better than this?

Winner: Creepy-Ass Optical Illusions

Ezra Miller
Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Ah yes … the boys who very much did not dial it in. Shoutout to Ezra Miller, who I knew I could count on to freak me out while also giving me life. As for Jared Leto, who has maybe never half-assed anything in his life, he did not break that streak tonight. Observe:

Campy? Yes. Nightmare fuel? Absolutely.

Winner: Funky ’70s Style

Elle Fanning
Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Apologies to Dakota, but Elle Fanning has always been the more fashionable Fanning, and she nailed the camp theme from high pony to the tips of her… keychain manicure? Elle wasn’t alone in interpreting camp via vibrant ’70s looks: Cara Delevingne wore a fruit headpiece and rainbow Dior jumpsuit; Dua Lipa went full psychedelic Lisa Frank; Lily Collins trotted out her specific brand of vintage costume styling; and of course, Lupita Nyong’o showed up with pastel wings and hair full of afro picks, as you do.

Loser: Low-Effort Men

Frank Ocean
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Boys will be boys, and by “boys” I mean “utterly uninspiring and incapabable of devoting the time, effort, and creativity that this event (and I, personally) deserves.” Yes, some men did show up on theme to the Met Gala—cochair Harry Styles wore a custom Gucci look, complete with a pussy bow, casual nip-slips, a pearl earring, and heeled boots. Harold, you can stay.

Beyond Harry and a few choice others, however, the men disappointed, as they always do. Frank Ocean apparently interpreted camp as the “pitching a tent” kind, wearing a hooded windbreaker that looked like one (that kumbaya shit). Max Minghella had the nerve to accompany Elle Fanning in the most boring navy suit I’ve ever seen. Taron Edgerton and Rami Malek just played two of the campiest rock stars ever—Elton John and Freddie Mercury, respectively—and yet both showed up in basic black suits like they were going to the SAG awards. Even Internet Boyfriend Richard Madden dialed it in (while still looking distressingly handsome, I’ll admit). Guys, we gotta do better. What would Rihanna say?