BETA
Close

The Hidden Messages Behind 10 Memorable Met Gala Looks

Culture

Being fashion-forward requires forward thinking. After all, they don’t say, ‘Every outfit has a story,’ for nothing. So, for this year’s Met Gala attendees, that is exactly what we looked for – the legend behind the look.


With the theme set to honor the asymmetrical, angular work of Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo, some fierce styles were expected, but the how and why that went into these choices represent a fashion statement in itself.

From cause, to message, to risk, these are the stories behind what we think are the 10 most meaningful looks of the Met Gala 2017:

Ashley Graham. Photo courtesy of Revelist.

Ashley Graham
Wearing: Rei Kawakubo's Comme des Garçons

The 29-year-old, plus-sized model wore a red, ruched gown, that cinched at the waist, drawing attention to her best assets and the daily message she stands for, which is: “Every woman becoming their own model, and their own role model.” This is strongly reflected in her upcoming, June-release book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, of which she elaborated to E News about its message of body positivity, saying, “I think if more young girls looked in the mirror and were happy with who they were, then we would have a different society.”

Lily Aldridge. Photo courtesy of Footwear News.

Lily Aldridge
Wearing: Ralph Lauren

Taking a party bus to ensure a wrinkle-free entrance redefines the lengths to which women will go for beauty. Yet, it was a necessary feat for Aldridge, who was draped in heavy silk (a wrinkle’s favorite material), as she stood the distance between The Carlyle Hotel and The Met, while her stylists supported the dress’s train.

Janelle Monae. Photo courtesy of Popsugar.

Janelle Monáe
Wearing: Ralph and Russo

The actress drew accessory inspiration from her hairstylist, Nikki Nelms, who previously told Cosmopolitan.com that she buys from Michael’s Arts and Crafts store as she “loves finding more than one purpose for things.”

Switching it up from her award season accessories of safety pins and stickers, Monáe flaunted feathers and jewels to accent an already ornate look, reflecting her loyalty in Nelms, while also persuading us to accessorize more.

Solange Knowles
Wearing: Thom Browne

As a regular asymmetrical gown-wearing gala attendee, Knowles was in her element. That is, until she showed up in a puffer jacket – or at least, that’s what it seemed. The parka was actually a dress, with a train included. Her inspiration? Knowles credited Missy Elliott sporting a garbage bag in her “The Rain [Supa Dupa Fly]” video.

Solange Knowles. Photo courtesy of Popsugar.

Chrissy Teigen
Wearing: Marchesa

As a fierce leader in the female community, it may be difficult to imagine Teigen being insecure. Yet this year’s gala presented a theme that induced these feelings, with the model explaining to PEOPLE, “I can’t wear things like that, I look goofy, I look kinda crazy.” So, instead of stepping out on a limb, Teigen chose to “play it safe” while still representing an understated style with classic elements, sharing that she would, “rather just keep it simple and keep it pretty.”

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. Photo courtesy of Vogue.

Rihanna
Wearing: Rei Kawakubo's Comme des Garçons.

The powerhouse artist wore a look straight from the 2016 Comme des Garçons runway, inspired by 18th-century punks. The sculptural design blends the ultimate visions of sculpture and fashion. For Rihanna’s personal brand, it was the ultimate choice of pairing edgy with girly – a look the singer is known for blending together.

Nicki Minaj
Wearing: H&M

Turning fashion into art is what the gala prides itself on – and Minaj seems to pride herself on this too. The rapper sported this H&M dress, gaining attention from many media outlets not only for the label design, but also for her badass attitude. The custom-made dress reflected Minaj’s eclectic style – with vinyl roses, leather, and a silk kimono coming together to present Minaj in all of her elements.

Nicki Minaj. Photo courtesy of Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

Katy Perry. Photo courtesy of Refinery29.

Katy Perry
Wearing: John Galliano

The daringly red statement gown seemed to reflect Perry’s position as co-chair of this year’s gala. With a headdress, veil, layered design and tailored train, she embraced the avant garde theme, with a focus on supporting the art exhibition’s dramatic costume style and visual-centric appeal. The dress itself could be recognized as a stand-alone piece in the impressionistic art show.

Gigi Hadid. Photo courtesy of Popsugar.

Gigi Hadid
Wearing: Tommy Hilfiger

Choosing to don an entirely caramel aesthetic, Hadid dyed her hair a warm bronze, pulling it aside to work with the angles of the dress. The only pops of "color" were her dark, bold cateye makeup and fishnet thigh-highs; a minimalist look that prominently contrasted with the rest of the bright designs.

Kim Kardashian. Photo courtesy of Elle.

Kim Kardashian
Wearing: Vivienne Westwood

The simplicity of her look, and symbolism of all white was speculated to represent the year this Kardashian had. No jewelry says more than wearing superfluous amounts of it. With her hotel room hoisted as headlines that rounded out 2016, stepping out in a minimal state shows Kim like we haven’t seen her in years – taking her style back to the basics among all the commotion.

6min read
Health

What Sexual Abuse Survivors Want You to Know

In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.


For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.

Believe it or not, I am happy about that.

The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.

It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).

These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.

So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.

Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.

The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."

In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.