The Best Thing About This Year’s Met Gala Are the Memes

Kim Kardashian’s Balenciaga-designed body stocking reminded some of Harry Potter’s “Dementors.”

Two weeks after Texas basically banned abortion, the Met Gala moved forward last night with the laughably dystopian theme of “American Independence.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s iconic annual cash cow was slightly different this year, taking place in the fall with two thirds of its usual guest list, about 400 people. (Due to pandemic reshuffling, the 2020 and May 2021 festivities were canceled; the gala will resume its usual spring schedule next year.)

Brendan McCann’s faux-Met Gala look this year. (photo by Michael Hull)

In many other ways, it was exactly the same; namely, a parade of blinged-out interpretations of the theme that rolls out on social media as the red carpet photos start to trickle. And the easiest way to win this expensive contest is not to be the most glamorous (see: Indigenous model Quannah Chasinghorse‘s Navajo turquoise-studded look, Amanda Gorman’s accessories referencing poetry and liberty), but to be the most memeable.

In the latter category, there was Kim Kardashian in a black full-body stocking reminiscent of a Harry Potter dementor; Lil Nas X in a gold suit of armor; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” gown. (In her defense, the NY rep said “the medium is the message” — but that message raised eyebrows, because a single ticket to this bombastic celebration of unfettered capitalism costs $35,000.) For a reality check, LittleSis.org has created this handy flowchart of all the problematic multimillionaires on the Met museum’s board.

Below, we rounded up the best memes and snarkiest commentary on the evening’s most absurd getups. Bonus: check out Brendan McCann’s annotated Declaration of Independence ensemble, above; the artist is known for crafting faux Met Gala outfits entirely out of objects found around his home (no invitation required.)

Kim Kardashian: I now declare the Met Gala Memes ’21 Open! pic.twitter.com/4DJJ5IknKp

— Ramki (@ramkid) September 14, 2021

Predictably, the Internet had a rollicking good time with Kim K’s terrifying outfit selection. The fact that it was designed by Balenciaga got lost in a sea of memes drawing uncanny comparisons, from the titular character of the Alien franchise to the creepy Grim Reaper figure that appears when one of your Sims die.

Kim Kardashian arriving #MetGala pic.twitter.com/6iNU40vLpf

— RJ (@Dumbledore_BB) September 14, 2021

Kim K showing up in my Sims backyard after I took the ladder out of the pool pic.twitter.com/VnWOaTvm3X

— Jamesus (@Jimmycoco1) September 14, 2021

AOC, a member of the so-called “Squad” of progressive Congresswomen, received mixed reviews for wearing a dress that champions redistributive taxation at an elite museum event. But the best responses are the bizarre new meme she sparked, which consists of long rambling texts overlaid on the gown.

pic.twitter.com/xr6mClZZY5

— Maggie? Winters? (@saggiesplinters) September 14, 2021

Also, this:

Queen of meatpacking pic.twitter.com/5I0r600RA9

— tristan (@trjstn) September 14, 2021

As in previous editions, the gala’s theme is related to the Met’s concurrent Costume Institute exhibition; this year, it’s In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, an homage to US designers coinciding with the Institute’s 75th anniversary. Given this focus, some of us naturally wondered why the nation’s most recognizable contributions to fashion didn’t make an appearance on the red carpet:

if the theme is american fashion why isn’t anyone pulling up like this #MetGala2021 pic.twitter.com/JCCZhhrqbh

— karm¡n (@zaynsfuckbot) September 13, 2021

Goodbye https://t.co/Id9s62I3ti

— Nicole Polizzi (@snooki) September 14, 2021

And while the Met Gala is usually strictly about fashion, it does take place at one of the world’s largest encyclopedic art museums. A number of memes refreshingly honored some recurring themes among institutions: overworked museum workers, looted artifacts, and toxic philanthropy.

Favorite Met Gala memory: Hailing a cab at the end of a long day/night and overhearing one Met security guard say to another: “You know what’s famous to me? My bed.”

— Abby Aguirre (@abby_aguirre) September 14, 2021

NY’s @AOC caused a stir with the #TaxTheRich dress she wore to last night’s Met Gala.

Here are a few of the billionaire & multimillionaire elites whose seats on the @metmuseum board were bought with hoarded wealth extracted from our communities https://t.co/kLBq38Y2wX pic.twitter.com/jOC8Fkpx7V

— LittleSis.org (@twittlesis) September 14, 2021

In no particular category, here’s a few more memes that made the cut.

Looking forward to seeing you in the remake! pic.twitter.com/lvCn66kUPL

— Classical Studies Memes for Hellenistic Teens (@CSMFHT) September 14, 2021

I had to…. pic.twitter.com/ali3go2T3B

— Isaiah Paul (@IsaiahPaul) September 14, 2021

any leftist coming for AOC or Cara Delevingne clearly has not read Marx pic.twitter.com/e4YbUJ1wxp

— shatha #SaveSilwan #SaveSheikhJarrah (@notshathaa) September 14, 2021

And on a lighthearted ending note, we’ll just leave this here!

@lovesexandla

Looks like it was snowing at the Met Gala tonight (@peteyville) #metgala #lourdes #madonna #met #gala #gays #gaytiktok #memethemet #gaymemes

♬ original sound – LOVESEXANDLA

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