In the past week, legendary fashion figures gathered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the opening night of the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. This year’s theme was “In America,” and guests were required to wear attire according to that theme.
The Met Gala acts as a platform for showcasing boldness and uniqueness on the red carpet. The gala has always been featuring such fashion that becomes the talk of the town. As in the case of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wore one of the buzziest ensembles of the event. Her white off-the-shoulder gown with the phrase, “Tax the rich,” sewn onto the back in bright red satin caused a stir on social media and became a point of discussion all around the globe.
‘Tax the Rich’ was designed by a black woman immigrant
AOC wrote on her Instagram, “The medium is the message. 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. The time is now for childcare, healthcare, and climate action for all. Tax the Rich.” She also wrote, “Dress is borrowed via @brothervellies.”
She was not the only celebrity to get political on the world-famous fashion show. Many others also gave subtle yet clear political messages, including Poet Amanda Gorman. She wore a blue gown designed by Vera Wang. The gown – having a tulle train and sparkling detail – included 3,000 hand-sewn crystals.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”
Through her ensemble, which gave the impression of the Statue of Liberty, Gorman described, ‘In America’ as a welcoming place for immigrants. The idea to wear a dress depicting the Statue of Liberty was to show that Americans welcome immigrants ‘In America’ in the same way the Statue of Liberty welcomes them when they enter American waters.
Gorman told Vogue Magazine, “As soon as I was asked to be a co-host for the Met Gala, I immediately knew I wanted to reimagine the Statue of Liberty. “It was important to me to hold a book much like the statue’s, with a line from the poem at the base of Lady Liberty, as well as to wear a laurel crown to symbolize my experience as a laureate.”
The clutch she held at Met Gala looked like a book. On the clutch, the phrase “Give me your tired” was spelled out. Take a look at other phrases from this poem that clears the message Gorman wanted to give:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
For activists and humanitarians alike, this quote represents the essence of the American vision–one of inclusion, where immigrants, refugees, and needy people are welcomed and valued. She had also referred to this point during her inaugural address: “We lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.”