Skip to main content

Whimsical expressions

BYUH community members share their perspectives on the 2024 Met Gala

A girl holds her hair back and smiles up towards the sun with graphics of flowers around her
Photo by Yichi Lu

Anna Wintour's spring exhibition at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was the inspiration for the 2024 Met Gala, whose theme was "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion." Members from BYU—Hawaii’s community shared their perspectives on the event.

Lights, camera, action!

Brent Cowley, an assistant professor specializing in Communication and Media Studies, highlighted the historical significance and technological innovations in the Met Gala. Cowley shared how fascinating it was when the event showcased the archives of iconic fashion houses, such as Christian Dior's New Look, Coco Chanel's Little Black Dress, and Balenciaga's Sculptural Masterpieces. He said each piece brought back parts of history and ignited conversations about the significance of preservation, reinterpretation and heritage in our ever-changing fashion landscape.

In addition, Cowley praised the organizers for incorporating technology to create captivating forms of sensory stimulation that highlighted delicate historical pieces, resulting in awe-inspiring moments during the Met Gala. He said, “Technological advancements, such as animation, light projection and AI, added an extra layer of excitement to the event."

According to Cowley, the Met Gala serves as more than just a gathering of the elite. It is a snapshot of culture, reflecting current trends and societal buzz. He also highlighted the increasing inclusivity and diversity of the attendees including movie producers, rappers, up-and-coming fashion designers and celebrities from Asia, Africa and South America. "There was a noticeable shift towards representing a broader spectrum of voices and perspectives," he said.

Fashion-raised awareness

Oliva Damanu, a BYUH alumni from Fiji, emphasized the Met Gala's global reach and influence. He said, “For many pop culture enthusiasts, the Met Gala is a dream event.” He added, “Before the internet, it was challenging to see live coverage of the event, but now, it's accessible worldwide.”

Damanu also shared how the theme was inspired by “The Garden of Time," a short story by a English novelist, J.G. Ballard published in 1962. He added, "It suggests a blend of natural beauty, nostalgia, and maybe a touch of surrealism." The inspiration from the short story allowed for a wide range of creative interpretations by designers and celebrities. He said rapper and singer Nicki Minaj "understood the assignment" wearing a yellow dress covered in multi-colored flowers.

As someone with a background in Human Resources, Damanu said he watched the Met Gala through a lens of organizational management and social responsibility. According to him, the Met Gala has expanded its influence over the years, becoming a platform not just for showcasing extravagant fashion but also for raising awareness and funds for important causes. Damanu expressed his appreciation for the Met Gala's ability to bring together celebrities, designers and philanthropists to support initiatives that extend beyond the world of fashion.

Many styles

McKenzie Alvarez, a BYUH alumni from New Jersey, highlighted a mix of whimsical and avant-garde themes she saw in the 2024 Met Gala.

“The theme of the Met Gala 2024 felt more like a modern take on fairy tales,” Alvarez said. She also said some celebrities embraced the dress code. In contrast, others, like Doja Cat, seemed to march to the beat of their own drum, with Alvarez describing it as “looking like she was running late for a night out.”

According to Alvarez, Zendaya, known for her daring fashion choices, stunned onlookers with two distinct looks, one of which embraced the essence of the garden theme. Similarly, she said Elle Fanning shimmered in a gown reminiscent of frozen water, exuding elegance and glamour. Alvarez also shared that one of her favorite designers, Betsy Johnson, who renowned for her bold style, which frequently combines eye-catching color combinations, clashing patterns, and unconventional designs. She explained how Johnson’s playful and vibrant personality is reflected in her extensive use of bows, frills and floral themes in her fashion aesthetic that perfectly complement Nicki Minaj's persona ."I love that Nicki is reverting to a former style of hers. Betsy Johnson had such a flare for color and texture," she said.