NEW YORK: In an event that is often endearingly called "fashion's biggest night out" and boasts of hosting some of the richest and most influential people from the creative, sports, and tech industries around the world, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez's debut look was a cheeky and unconventional one. In this year's Met Gala- the Congresswoman's first- she donned a pristine white Brother Vellies couture gown with the words "Tax The Rich" emblazoned in bold red across the back- a provocative choice for an event where her fellow guests paid no less than thousands of dollars to be able to walk the red carpet and book a seat at the table.
The Met Gala is a high-profile event held on the first Monday of every May to raise funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art where the celebrity guests are put under the spotlight (and sometimes, the critic's microscope) for their sartorial choices. It has become one of the most highly-awaited events for fashion enthusiasts across the world, with designers both young and veteran drawing global attention for the celebrity showcase of their work. As such, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's choice of outfit drew polarizing opinions, with many lauding her for using her Met Gala invitation to make a statement, while others calling her move hypocritical.
"It's really about having a real conversation about fairness and equity in our system, and I think this conversation is particularly relevant as we debate the budget and reconciliation bill," the Congresswoman told Associated Press.
The theme of this year's Met Gala was "American Independence".
According to AOC's Instagram post, the designer of her gown, Aurora James is a sustainability-oriented, Black immigrant designer who started her label at a flea market in Brooklyn and had a meteoric rise to becoming one of the most noticed designers in the Gala this year.
"Fashion is changing, America is changing. And as far as this theme goes, I think Alexandria and I are a great embodiment of the language fashion needs to consider adding to the general lexicon as we work towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and empowered future," James was quoted saying to Vogue Magazine.
It was not just her dress. AOC's purse was also embellished with "Tax The Rich" text. "The time is now for childcare, healthcare, and climate action for all. Tax the Rich, " the Congresswoman said, signing off her Instagram post.
AOC was by no means the only guest making bold political statements with their Met Gala outfit. Model Cara Delevingne donned the words "Peg The Patriarchy" in the front of her vest, while American football star Megan Rapinoe's purse had "In Gay We Trust" embellished over it.
In a similar instance, this year's Met Gala also saw Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney sashaying in an outfit that had the slogan "Equal Rights For Women" and “ERA” (for the Equal Rights Amendment) spanning the length of her dress, while Emmy-winning actor and creator Dan Levy turned heads with an outfit that although, did not have words, but expressed plenty through the imagery in front.
This year the Met Gala was postponed to the second Monday of September in view of the pandemic and was made into a comparatively more compact event, hosting only a section of the usual number of guests in other years. Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky were some of the other iconic head turners on the red carpet this year.