The Best Looks Of The 2021 Met Gala
The Met Gala is the Super Bowl of fashion. You've officially made it if you're invited to Anna Wintour's annual ball. The extravaganza was one of the many events that were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making the excitement for the 2021 pageant all the greater.
Several athletes are always included on the guest list, from veterans to rising stars. As fashion and sport continue to blend and move together, the Met Gala is an exploration of how those aspects of culture intersect.
The theme this year was "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" and was exhibited with red, white and blue, Western nods and statements of individualism. What's more American than that?
Here are the best sports-related appearances from the 2021 Met Gala:
In the wide world of sports, American football is distinctly American. Ciara channeled the sport in her look that incorporated the Color Rush jersey of her husband, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The neon green ensemble was designed by Norwegian designer Peter Dundas and was paired with Wilson's championship ring from XLVIII and a glitzy football clutch. The gown was a tribute to American designer Geoffrey Beene who included a bedazzled football jersey-inspired eveningwear gown in his 1967 collection that was featured on the cover of Harper's Bazaar. A head-turner indeed.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka took a night away from the stress of her career by serving as co-chair for the 2021 Met Gala. She impressed with a colorful Louis Vuitton gown that paid tribute to her Japanese heritage. The blue, pink and purple print was based on a watercolor painting done by her sister, Mari Osaka, that features koi fish. This is Osaka's first collaboration with Nicolas Ghesquière as an official Louis Vuitton brand ambassador.
"It’s a dream come true for me that our first design collaboration is something I will wear on the Met red carpet," the four-time Grand Slam winner said to Vogue. "The fact that Nicolas, Mari, and I could come together bringing this to life is something I am very honored to be a part of.”
Simone Biles signed with Athleta in April after being a Nike athlete since 2015. Upon the announcement of her new sponsorship, the decorated Olympian said that she was excited to work with Athleta in empowering women. That's exactly what the duo sought to do with her Met Gala look. New York-based label Area took the helm of the design, which featured a snowflake top and a bedazzled skirt that imitated feathers. The gown weighed 98 pounds and required six men to carry it along the beige carpet. But the best part is that Athleta donated $50,000 to The Power of She Fund, a partnership with the Women's Sports Foundation that provides child care, community groups and wellness tips for all women.
Russell Westbrook has been ahead of the fashion curve in the NBA for quite some time now and even days before the Met Gala, he had the internet buzzing when he posted a picture of himself in a Thom Browne sweater and skirt ensemble. For his first Met Gala, the NBA superstar opted for a navy blue suit by American designer Ralph Lauren and further tied into the theme by dying his hair blue with white stars.
Lewis Hamilton has impressed at several Met Galas in the past, proudly showcasing his support of Tommy Hilfiger. This year, he opted for a custom look styled by Law Roach and designed by Los Angeles-based creative Kenneth Nicholson. The lace shirt and skirt attachment challenge stereotypes about menswear.
"Within masculinity, there is an appreciation for men, an appreciation to emote how you dress, an appreciation for things that are beautiful and soft and might be described traditionally as more feminine," Nicholson said to the L.A. Times of his design approach. "To be a human and to be a fully expressed man is to embody those things. I don’t think I’m redefining [masculinity]. I think I’m trying to speak to the actual definition of it. I’m recalibrating what was already there."
Hamilton used the opportunity to invite Black designers, including Nicholson, Theophilio and Jason Rembert to share a table with him as he seeks to improve diversity in racing and fashion.
Editor's Note: These last two aren't exactly sports-related, but they're American designers who are reinventing the definition of luxury and are worthy of being acknowledged.
Kerby Jean-Raymond arrived at the Met Gala in a red ensemble from his own brand, Pyer Moss. The jacket was made of kevlar and his necklace featured bejeweled guns, making a statement on American militarism. After his work with Reebok and becoming the first Black American designer to showcase at Paris Couture Week, Jean-Raymond is a must-know name in fashion.
Jerry Lorenzo made a statement of American individuality at his first Met Gala appearance. The Fear of God designer wore a fit of his own brand, which yes, included $700 Fear of God sweatpants. Lorenzo wasn't the only one to rock the typically frowned upon item of clothing as actor Timothée Chalamet did don some sweats as well. But Lorenzo's statement of ownership and freedom is one that only he could make.