Editors' Picks: See Our Favorite Looks from the 2021 Met Gala
This year's theme was "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" — and these were the looks we just couldn't stop talking about
After being canceled then indefinitely postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vogue's annual Met Gala returned on Monday night with a theme centered around celebrating American fashion.
Stars took the opportunity to spotlight American designers, pay homage to American icons and make a statement about what American fashion means in today's political and social climate. Here are the looks PEOPLE editors could not stop talking about (and click to see all 150+ looks to pick a favorite of your own!).
Iman in Dolce & Gabbana x Harris Reed
Colleen Kratofil, Style Editor: My prediction was that we'd see some Halston on the "In America" 2021 Met Gala red carpet, and that one of his first runway models, the legendary icon Iman, may sport the brand. While we did get a Halston look (courtesy of chef Sophia Roe), Iman took it up to a level only appropriate for a moment as major as the Met.
The supermodel arrived in a truly head-turning look by Dolce & Gabbana x Harris Reed, featuring a large feathery halo headpiece and an equally dramatic matching hoop skirt cage, also adorned with the gold-painted feathers. She teamed it with a jacquard bustier with matching flared pants and statement jewels.
Just like Iman reacted when she first saw the design, I too, "I fell over." She told Vogue on the red carpet that she felt Reed's design "was beautiful because it really felt hopeful, a ray of light after all the darkness we felt. So, I thought this was a perfect outfit for it."
Not only was a look so grand appropriate for fashion's biggest night (really, where else would one wear that?) I love that Iman's goal of spreading some light with this look really came through.
Yara Shahidi in Christian Dior
Hanna Flanagan, Style & Beauty Assistant: The actress and activist almost always gets it right on the red carpet, and last night was no exception. Her clever interpretation of the theme was an homage to American icon Josephine Baker — the custom look was inspired by Baker's luxurious style, characterized by jewels, sequins feathers and head pieces.
Shahidi's strapless beaded column dress featured a tiny belt and a sheer hooded train. She completed the Old Hollywood look with elbow-length gloves, a diamond choker, heavy berry-toned blush and matching lipstick.
"The vision took a village," the Dior ambassador wrote on Instagram. "My little seed of an idea, to pay homage to the incredible Josephine Baker, blossomed in the hands of my brilliant creative partner @jasonbolden and the magnificent @mariagraziachiuri x @dior what a beautiful piece of moving art that elevated what I thought was possible."
She continued: "A special thank you to @staceykubasak for being such a wonderful partner in our Dior adventures 💕 a toast to Ms. Josephine Baker."
Natalia Bryant in Connor Ives
Alex Apatoff, Executive Editor: Fashion is supposed to be fun. But for some reason, the massive return to the red carpet for Monday night's Met Gala felt like many of the attendees got the memo that "fashion is supposed to be naked" or "fashion is supposed to be exhausting." It all felt either very done before or overly try-hard.
It took Met Gala first-timer Natalia Bryant, 18, (daughter of the late Kobe), arriving in a Connor Ives piece hand-selected for her by Vogue editor Anna Wintour from the actual "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" exhibition, for me to finally feel like someone got the brief.
Would I wear it myself? Not a chance! But it was playful and whimsical, perfect for her statuesque frame and young age, and she nailed the finishing touches with her girlie, retro hair and accessories. It captured the joy and inventiveness of American fashion in a way I felt many others fell short on. And again, if you can't have fun with fashion at the Met Gala, where can you?
Billie Eilish in Oscar de la Renta
Lindsay Kimble, Senior News Editor: One day after walking the MTV VMAs carpet in a grungy black sweater and combat boots, Eilish emerged on the Met stairs a new woman. I mean literally: she showed up in some of the best Marilyn Monroe cosplay I've ever seen. This gorgeous, feminine light pink confection of a gown by Oscar de la Renta reminded us Eilish is all grown up and not afraid to dive into new fashion territory. And, we love someone who goes for the theme: who is a better representative of American fashion than Marilyn?!
Megan Fox in Dundas
Gabi Duncan, Associate Weekend/Evenings Editor: Megan Fox has been on a roll absolutely killing it with her looks lately (have you seen her completely sheer MTV VMAs dress?!). I love her confidence and how she's not afraid to own her sexuality with fashion.
She said on Vogue's red carpet livestream, that she's "not afraid to be sexy." Adding, "I feel like all women should embrace the fact that as the divine feminine we have a lot of power and, instead of rejecting it, I'm happy to embrace it and go for the sexy."
She did exactly that in her red Dundas lace-up gown, which was one of the most show-stopping moments of the night.
Be sure to check out all of PEOPLE's Met Gala coverage to get the latest news on fashion's biggest night.