Who Made You the Fashion Police of the Met Gala?

Culture

Who Made You the Fashion Police of the Met Gala?

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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esterday was the 2018 Met Gala, held, as always, on the first Monday in May – a time when us plebs tend to be stuck at work, dressed in our weekday worst, sneaking onto Facebook to post “Is it Friday yet?” memes and finding the perfect cat videos that will get us through until lunchtime.

The scheduling, then, is the first sign that the Met Gala is not for our mediocre, sweatpants-clad, carbohydrate-padded asses. This is fashion’s big premiere, a glossy, star-studded event where basic behaviour like taking selfies to show off your outfit is anathema. Out here in the real world, it’s a personal victory when we upgrade from chappals to proper shoes, but that’s not how things work at the Met Gala.

Aside from squealing over Baby Taimur’s adorable dessert-themed playsuits, or asking our neighbourhood tailor to rip-off the latest Sabya design, it’s safe to assume that most of us don’t know anything about the fashion industry. We couldn’t tell when New York Fashion Week is, and the most daring sartorial decision we’ve ever made is making peace with our paunches just so we can sit down while wearing a crop top.

Meanwhile, far above the mortals’ realm, in the rarified environs of the Met Gala, leggy, barely-pubescent models glide around in heel-less “anti-gravity” platforms, draped in strictly decorative wisps of fabric. They sprawl on the red carpet like well-dressed giraffes, and they never, ever look fat. Alongside them are gorgeous actors, genetically blessed star kids, fashion designers in homeless chic, and more bizarre costumes than the set of Baahubali, each costing more than the EMI on your apartment.

Is it any wonder that the proletariat is all agog at the prospect of the Met Gala? Suddenly, everyone becomes collectively possessed with the spirit of Anna Wintour, making snarky digs at haute couture without any provocation. This morning, a colleague of mine, whose everyday uniform consists of a comic-book shirt (he conveniently rotates five of them so we always know the day of the week; Thursday is Thor’s Day) and a pair of cargo shorts, remarked on the unsatisfactory silhouette of Anne Hathaway’s gown. Certainly, The Devil Wears Prada’s Meryl Streep would not have approved.

Is it any wonder that the proletariat is all agog at the prospect of the Met Gala? Suddenly, everyone becomes collectively possessed with the spirit of Anna Wintour, making snarky digs at haute couture without any provocation.

Then, a friend, whose favourite joggers were purchased from Colaba Causeway in the early 2000s, saw fit to text me about Deepika’s “totally blah” red gown. This led to a lively debate around Piggy Chops’ chainmail hood, complete with reference images of historically accurate Arthurian armour and a philosophical discussion on the merits of wearing velvet.

Of course, there are plenty of things about the fashion world that remain a mystery for us fairweather fashionistas. What lipstick matches best with always being hydrated? Why are socks and sandals so bad, and do black jeans really need to be washed? Which Olsen sister is in The Avengers?

We’re not meant to have all the answers.

When it comes down to the Red Carpet, we’re forced to admit that our schlubby souls don’t have what it takes to walk a straight line in heels, let alone pose like an angel sent from heaven while balancing a 12-kilo headdress made from baby seals. But we’re allowed to show up once or twice a year to give our expert opinions. For a few special nights, we can click vicariously through the pap shots for a look at how the other half – I mean less than one per cent – lives. And then we can return to the status quo, where our socks are mismatched and we’ve forgotten who Prabal Gurung is, for a couple of weeks. How else will we muster up the energy to critique Meghan Markle’s wedding dress?

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