Who Made You the Fashion Police of the Met Gala?

Culture

Who Made You the Fashion Police of the Met Gala?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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esterday was the 2019 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 see 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 scrolling idly through well-dressed influencers on Instagram, or going to our neighbourhood darzi with a photo of Deepika’s Sabyasachi wedding lehenga in hand, it’s safe to assume that most of us don’t know a thing about the fashion industry. We couldn’t say 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 strut onto the red carpet like well-dressed giraffes, and miraculously avoid being slapped in the face by an errant umbrella from Lady Gaga’s high-fashion strip show. Alongside them are gorgeous actors — including Jared Leto carrying his own beautiful, decapitated head as a clutch — genetically blessed star kids, fashion designers in homeless chic, and more bizarre costumes than the set of Student of the Year 2, 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.

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, not unfairly, that national jeeja Nick Jonas-Chopra looked like a villainous waiter from an ‘80s Bollywood movie.

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” pink princess gown. This led to a lively debate around Piggy Chops’ creative take on the Red Queen from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, complete with reference images of afro wigs and an article entitled “How to Make A Dress Using Aluminium Foil.”

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 dehydrated? Why are socks and sandals so bad, and do black jeans really need to be washed? Which Olsen sister is in The Avengers, and which one dresses in repurposed rice sacks?

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 hat made of five other hats on our heads. 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 hate on Alia Bhatt and her Chanel double purse pack that costs six lakhs?

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