All Of The Subtle Fashion Tributes You Might Have Missed At The Met Gala 2021

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Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

The Met Gala 2021 was truly a night of celebration and saw the likes of Billie Eilish, Gigi Hadid, Lil Nas X and Rihanna come together to pay tribute to the best in fashion and artistry.

This year, the stars explored the theme of ‘American Independence’, with the museum featuring the work of 70% young American designers and several A-listers choosing to examine American identity. For several celebs, it was the perfect opportunity to 'go big', whether it was with a flag-inspired stars and stripes look from Zac Posen, worn by Debbie Harry, or a political statement about inequality in the form of a ‘tax the rich’ slogan emblazoned dress, worn by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and designed by Aurora James.

Other stars opted for more subtle American-inspired outfits, looking into the back catalogues of ensembles worn by A-listers in the Golden Age of Hollywood, the Suffragettes and more. Whether it was Jennifer Hudson channelling her on-screen Respect character, the late Aretha Franklin, in AZ Factory, or Billie Eilish in Oscar de la Renta in an ode to Marilyn Monroe, we can’t get enough of the creativity we saw at this year’s fashion night of the year.

Here is a rundown of all of the subtle fashion tributes you might have missed from this year’s Met Gala 2021:

Kendall Jenner in Givenchy / Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady

The supermodel dressed in a nude-coloured embellished dress, designed by Givenchy, for this year’s Met appearance. The dress was inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s look in My Fair Lady (1964), with Jenner choosing to forgo the actor’s tiara for a sleek up do’ and ivory-hued gloves for sheer gloved sleeves.

Amanda Gorman in Vera Wang / Statue of Liberty

Gorman styled her bedazzled blue Vera Wang dress and coordinated make-up at the event with a high braided ponytail, accessorised with a crystal laurel headpiece. The poet later explained on the red carpet that her look was inspired by the Statue of Liberty.

The laurel – designed by Jennifer Behr – takes inspiration from the headpiece worn by the god Apollo, who is the patron of lyrical poetry.

The poet also carried a clutch bag designed in the shape of a book which was emblazoned with the words ‘Give Us Your Tired’ on the front. The words feature in the first line of the poem etched into the Statue of Liberty, written by Emma Lazarus.

Jennifer Hudson in AZ Factory / Aretha Franklin, 1969

The Respect actor – who recently joined ELLE UK for a game of Ask Me Anything – stunned in a volume-packed red AZ Factory with oversized bell sleeves, fishtail and train. The look seemed to take inspiration from Aretha Franklin’s red ensemble (sans pom pom sleeves) for The Andy Williams Show in 1969.

Congresswoman Carolyn B Maloney / Suffragettes, 1917

The Congresswoman wore a gown emblazoned with the phrase ‘equal rights for women’ and carried a matching clutch bag which had the letters ‘ERA’, which stands for Equal Rights Amendment’, and ‘yes’ on the front. The look was inspired by the Suffragette moment in USA, which at one stage saw thousands of women walk in a parade in NYC in 1917 wearing ribbons and carrying placards in their fight for equal voting rights.

Yara Shahidi in Dior / Josephine Baker, 1920s

The actor wore as stunning custom Dior dress with coordinated gloves - lined in beading - and a braided cap and weil for her Met Gala moment. Shahidi later explained her look was inspired by 1920s American-French singer Josephine Baker, and we couldn’t love it any more!

Kaia Geber in Oscar de la Renta / Bianca Jagger, 1981

Geber channelled her inner Jagger at the Met Gala 2021, dressed in a simple peplum-skirted black strapless gown with fine detailing at the bust, which was a near identical version of Jagger’s gown worn at the Met Gala 40 years ago.

Gemma Chan in Prabal Gurung / Anna May Wong in The Thief of Bagdad, 1924

Gurung took inspiration from Chinese-American star Anna May Wong’s look in The Thief of Bagdad for her Met Gala look, styling her mint-green cape and black sequinned mini dress with sleek hair loops and a straight fringe.

It's believed Gurung used archive photographs of Wong to help him create the dress, which also featured a dragon motif on the back.

Ahead of the night, Chan shared a series of photos of Wong on her Instagram account. 'Despite facing prejudice and stereotyping she fought back against the discrimination she faced in Hollywood,' she wrote.

'In her words: "It’s a pretty sad situation to be rejected by Chinese because I’m 'too American' and by American producers because they prefer other races to act Chinese parts".'

Billie Eilish in Oscar de la Renta / Marilyn Monroe, 1953

Eilish opted for an old Hollywood-inspired look for her Met Gala appearance this year, wearing a peach-hued, 1950s-style dress designed by Oscar de la Renta. The dress featured a full-length skirt, train, boned corset and tulle shawl. She accessorised the ensemble with silver bracelets and pearl earrings. Eilish even went as far as to style her blonde hair into a vintage-looking bob.

While the 19-year-old admitted at the Met that she was inspired by the Holiday Barbie she owned as a child, it’d be safe to say the look is almost identical to that worn by Monroe for the premiere of How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). For the night out Monroe, pictured above with Betty Grable, wore a strapless silk gown and matching long gloves with a fur shawl.

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