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Solange Knowles, Courtesy of Popsugar

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.

6 Min Read
Politics

All My Life I've Had To Fight

I live the pain and stress of being black in America every day: I am a black woman, the mother of a black son, sister to black men, and aunt to my black nephews. I remember what it was like as a young girl to be afraid to go to Howard Beach for fear of being chased out. I know what it's like to walk on Liberty Avenue and be called "nigger" and being so young that I didn't understand what the word meant, I had to ask my mother. I know too well that feeling in the pit of your stomach when a police car pulls up behind you and even though you know you haven't done anything wrong you fear that your life may be in danger from what should be a simple encounter. Like all African Americans, I am tired of this burden.

African Americans have a long history of having to fight for our humanity in America. We have had to fight for freedom, we have had to fight for equality, and we have had to fight for our lives. The fight continues to go on. I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight." When I say this to my white counterparts it can sometimes be uncomfortable because it's clear that they just don't get it. They view it as melodramatic. But it's not. It's part of the black experience, and it is the part of the black experience that black people don't want.

I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight."

While I was out yesterday, passing out PPE and talking to people, a woman asked me, "What is it going to take for this to change?" I told her that I think peaceful protesting is a good start. But it's just the start. We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.

This injustice, inequality, and inequity will not spontaneously disappear. It will take bold, outspoken, and fearless leadership to eradicate the systemic racism in our country. We must address the violence at the hands of a police force paid to serve and protect us. We must address the recurring experience of black people being passed over for a promotion and then being asked to train the white person who was hired. We must address the inequities in contract opportunities available to black businesses who are repeatedly deemed to lack the capacity. We must address the disparity in the quality of education provided to black students. We must address the right to a living wage, health care, and sick pay.

While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system. One that works for all of us. I am running to become the mayor of New York City because I can't assume there's another person who has the courage to do the work that needs to be done to create a fair and just city.

We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.

There are some things we may not be able to change in people, but at this moment I think that whether you are black, white, purple, or yellow we all should be looking internally to see what is one thing that you can do to change this dynamic. Here's where we can start:

If we want change, we need a total reform of police departments throughout this country. That is going to require taking a hard look at our requirements to become a police officer, our disciplinary procedures when civilian complaints are filed, and a review of what and how we police. No one deserves to lose their life based upon the accusation of carrying counterfeit cash. We also need to hold police officers accountable for their actions. While it is their duty to protect and serve they should not be above the law. Even at this very moment, police officers are overstepping their boundaries.

If we want change, we have to build a sense of camaraderie between the police and community. A sense of working together and creating positive experiences. We have to be honest about the fact that we haven't allowed that to happen because we have utilized our police department as a revenue-generating entity. We are more concerned with cops writing tickets than protecting and serving. Even during these moments of protest we are witness to the differences made when the police supported the protesters and stood hand in hand with them or took a knee. It resulted in less violence and more peaceful protest. People felt heard; people felt respected; people felt like they mattered.

While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system.

If we want change, we have to be willing to clean house. And that means that some of you are going to have to step up to the plate and take roles of leadership. In my city alone, there are 35 city council seats that are term-limited in 2021. There are some that aren't termed but maybe their term should be up. Step up to the plate and run. If nothing else it will let our elected officials see that they need to stop being comfortable and do more. We don't need you out in the street taking selfies or reporting the problems to us. We need solutions. We need you in a room implementing policies that will ensure that these things don't continue to happen.

If we want change, we need to support grassroots candidates that are not in corporate pockets, who are not taking PAC money, and who really want to make a difference to their community. We need candidates that know first-hand and can relate to the experiences that many of us are going through.

We are at a pivotal moment. It is inspiring to see people from all races and backgrounds in the streets protesting, standing up for justice, and wanting to see change. We must seize this moment, but we must also be mindful that change requires more.

People often ask me why I decided to run for office? I am running for me. I am running for the little girl that was called nigger on Liberty Avenue. For the woman who has been pulled over for no reason. For my nephew who was consistently stopped during the era of stop and frisk. I am running for your son, your brother, and your nephew. I am running so that the next generation will never have to say, "All my life I had to fight." Because although we won't stop until we see justice and changes that address inequality and inequity effectively, this fight is exhausting.