Riz Ahmed, Billie Eilish, Hillary Clinton and more who used their Met Gala 2022 couture to make a statement

From honouring former slaves to championing workers rights to highlighting climate change, the red carpet got political.
May 3, 2022 3:17 p.m. EST
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The Met Gala is no longer just a catwalk for celebs to flaunt their latest fashion finds (although we did love it when Lady Gaga had several wardrobe changes before even getting up the stairs).

These days, fashion can be a creative tool for awareness, change, and provoking thought, and last night’s event saw many famous faces draw attention to causes they care about.

The theme of the night may have been "Gilded Glamour," but that didn’t stop people like Riz Ahmed, Camila Cabello, Sarah Jessica Parker, and New York mayor Eric Adams from calling to attention all the unsung people who made the gilded age glitter.

Sound of Metal star and Oscar winner Riz Ahmed opted out of the standard tux for the lads, and instead wore a simple white undershirt, an open worker’s shirt, and labourer’s boots. He said he chose the outfit “to elevate and celebrate working-class immigrants . . .This is an homage to the immigrant workers who kept the Gilded Age going.” 

He also pointed out the necklace he was wearing is a tribute to his mom and culture: "This jewelery is a Cartier piece that takes a lot of inspiration from India and Islamic jewelery from South India. It's actually the kind of jewelery my mom used to have. It's trying to elevate and celebrate that workwear, that immigrant culture -- the stuff that makes this beautiful city run."  

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed up in a Bordeaux-colored gown designed by Joseph Altuzarra with the names of historic women sewn into the hem and neckline. They include Abigail Adams, Shirley Chisolm, the recently departed Madeleine Albright, Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt. Clinton called her dress an ode to “gutsy” women.

Coachella headliner and “Happier Than Ever” singer Billie Eilish wore a Gucci corseted gown made entirely from recycled materials in an effort to draw attention to climate change and the effects of the industrial revolution that are still being felt to this day.

Saying the dress was upcycled, “so we didn't have to waste a bunch of stuff,” Billie added, “I just wanted to be as eco-friendly as possible.”

On social media, many people noted that her look was almost identical to that of a famous 1885 portrait by John Singer Sargent of Madame Paul Poirson.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a night of fashion without And Just Like That star Sarah Jessica Parker who showed up in an elaborate monochrome Christopher John Rodgers gown to pay homage to Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, who made history as the first Black female fashion designer in the White House.

SJP’s dress was a recreation of a dress by Hobbs Keckley, who was a former slave and later dressed Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House. 

Camila Cabello showed up in a white two-piece which, like Billie Eilish's dress, was made entirely from recycled materials to draw attention to climate change.

“Gilded Age is irony,” she said. “The age of industrialism and materialism has got us into a climate crisis." The two-piece consisted of a lace-up crop top with matching skirt and a spectacular train made by Prabal Gurung.

New York mayor Eric Adams came to slay with partner Tracey Collins in a long jacket that had “end gun violence” emblazoned across the back. The jacket sleeves had decorative forearms and lapels that paid homage to the New York transit system. 

And then of course, there was the greatest upcycled dress of them all….okay maybe this isn’t a upcycled-for-climate-change-reasons dress *per se* but if ever there was a case for re-wearing a dress, Kim Kardashian definitely convinces our jury. 

Kardashian wore the same dress worn by Marilyn Monroe when the latter gave her famous rendition of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to JFK in 1962.

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