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  • Writer's pictureKaitlin Owens

What’s the Met Gala Theme Again?

Predicting the archival looks that will grace the red (or beige?) carpet this May.


First it was “Sleeping Beauties,” now it’s “The Garden of Time” — I can’t keep it straight. Trusted advisors of mine (the group chat) say that there’s always been a difference between the exhibit theme and the dress code, and to that, I say: Heavenly Bodies? Camp: Notes on Fashion? Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology? We’ll even do a deep cut — Charles James: Beyond Fashion? Sounds like revisionist history to me.

Whatever the theme may be, the “low-hanging fruit” here (pardon the pun) is going to be floral gowns. Floral patterns, floral appliques, and light, gauzy fabrics that give the illusion of flowers around the neckline or hemline or whatever-the-hell-line. It’s safe to assume we’re going to be seeing lots of celebrities in florals for spring.

But onto the pressing question — what would I wear if I were invited to the biggest night in fashion? Answer: Just about any look from Givenchy FW96 Couture.

Givenchy FW96

This Regency-style sheer nightgown with the delicate floral embroidery on the bust would be a showstopper — and, of course, I would style it faithfully to the runway look. I’d never leave behind a lacey panty, dripping crystal headpiece, or white fur stole! It’s against my nature!

This puff-sleeve white gown on Kate Moss sets my bridal heart ablaze. But, of course, you’d have to do it with the hair, or else it doesn’t work.

This red lace number with the giant rose epaulets? A clear winner. But yes, again, you would need to wear the giant feather bang. I don’t make the rules — I just follow them.

I also love this red 1940s-style dress with the full bouquet bust and little heart hat. Mostly because it reminds me of the costume Dita Von Teese wore for her “Lazy” number at the Crazy Horse in Paris. So maybe my bias is showing a little bit.

L-R: Jean Paul Gaultier SS14 Couture, Prada SS97 RTW

While we’re on the DVT subject, this Jean Paul Gaultier butterfly corset look from his Spring 2014 Couture collection would be perfect. Honestly, the entire collection is ripe for the picking. It’s chock-full of garden-inspired headwear. I especially love this black and white ostrich feather plume paired with that silky polka dot gown and little crochet bolero. Also, if someone wore this bridal butterfly showgirl look, I’d lose my mind.

I could see a more daring man in this black suit pants + nude mesh butterfly shirt combo. Conan Gray? I’m talking to you.

This look from Prada Spring 1997 RTW is the perfect balance between the two themes — very egalitarian. It’s covered in floral beading (check) and the cut of the gown combined with its sheerness is so deliciously reminiscent of a classic nightgown (double check).

Viktor and Rolf SS03

Lest we forget about Viktor and Rolf Spring 2003? It truly is a treasure trove for garden looks. This is a fun suiting look that I hope makes an appearance — and for once I will say, I hope they don’t do the hair from the runway. It would look so much better with big, bouncy, curly Keri Russell hair.

Emrata or Zoe Kravitz could make this Viktor and Rolf Spring 2003 printed silk skirt set look very hot. It’s very flirty — Mediterranean Siren, Mirror Palais vibes. I can also imagine Riley Keough in this '70s-inspired, high-neck sheer dress — but maybe that’s just because the model kind of looks like her. 

I’m so excited to see what the stylists and design houses put together this year for the gala. It seems every year there’s a major curveball we don’t expect. Whether it be Rihanna’s showstopping Yellow Guo Pei Gown or Karlie Kloss’ infamous “looking Camp right in the eye” — we’re sure to be shocked and delighted.

The only thing I ask is: please no more Marchesa. We’ve seen enough Marchesa. 🌀


Kaitlin Owens is a vintage fashion writer, movie buff, lover of good eats, and a women’s size 7.5 (if any shoe brands are reading). She is the Editor-in-Chief of Dilettante Magazine. You can find her on socials @magdilettante.


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