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The 2021 Met Gala was held Monday night in New York, and this year, the theme was Celebrating in America: A Lexicon of Fashion.
With attendees left to interpret the ambiguous theme for themselves, some ignored it altogether — but others, like Lupita Nyong'o, hit the proverbial nail on the head.
Still others sought to send a more overt message with their looks, emblazoning their gowns and handbags with political slogans. National Youth Poet Laureate and Met Gala cohost Amanda Gorman, for example, took inspiration from the Statue of Liberty, holding a handbag that said "Give Me Your Tired."
Soccer star Megan Rapinoe carried a clutch reading "In Gay We Trust."
Cara Delevingne's outfit said "Peg the Patriarchy."
Representative Carolyn Maloney took the occasion to call for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
And Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a gown that said, in big red letters on the back, "Tax the Rich," sending those who already love to hate her into a frenzy.
"The medium is the message," AOC wrote in an Instagram caption. "The time is now for childcare, healthcare, and climate action for all. Tax the Rich."
Knowing full well how some would react not only to her gown but to her mere presence at the event, she also added, "Before anybody starts wilding out — NYC elected officials are regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing our city’s cultural institutions that serve the public. I was one of several in attendance."
She also said she had borrowed — not bought — her dress from Brother Vellies. "Proud to work with @aurorajames as a sustainably focused, Black woman immigrant designer who went from starting her dream @brothervellies at a flea market in Brooklyn to winning the @cfda against all odds — and then work together to kick open the doors at the Met," she wrote on Instagram.
Nevertheless, her political opponents were out for blood.
"Immigrant designer." She's from Ontario."Kick the doors open at the Met." You walked around sipping cocktails and taking pictures. "Childcare for all." You support the direct murder of children.In conclusion, you're entirely full of shit https://t.co/m2N29L12GG
Some, particularly disingenuous conservatives, thought it ironic that a democratic socialist wearing a gown calling for taxing the rich would even attend the gala, where the cost of a ticket runs $30,000.
COST OF A TICKET TO THE MET GALA: $30,000COST OF A FULL TABLE AT THE MET GALA: $275,000COST OF A DESIGNER DRESS: $1,000AOC THINKING SHE “OWNED” ANYONE HERE BUT HERSELF: *PRICELESS*
But it wasn't just conservatives on Twitter. Even the New York Times chief fashion critic called the affair a "complicated proposition."
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attending the $35,000-a-ticket #MetGala in a Brother Vellies gown blaring "Tax the Rich" is a complicated proposition.
The fact is, though, it's really not that complicated at all.
For one, there's no indication that AOC paid anything to attend the event, and as she wrote on Instagram, her gown was borrowed.
Moreover, she wore a gown with "Tax the Rich" on it to an event full of rich people who she wants to tax more.
Like, it really is that simple.
Or maybe the word is "apt," as Phillip Picardi wrote on Twitter.
The subtext here—that people who take virtuous stances don’t belong at events populated by the elite despite these events’ consumption by AND RELIANCE OF the masses—feels misguided. Wearing a “Tax the Rich” dress in front of a bunch of rich people feels…apt to me. https://t.co/97277SajW7