Messages weren’t just for handbags – New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a bespoke white gown by Brother Vellies with ‘Tax The Rich’ scrawled across the back in red paint. Perhaps anticipating sneers that anyone attending a $300,000 a table event might not want to bite the hand that donates to her reelection campaign, she wrote on Instagram that the gown was borrowed, and reminded everyone that elected officials regularly attend New York cultural events.
Representative Carolyn Maloney also got the sloganeering message, wearing a yellow, white and purple gown that shouted, ‘EQUAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN.’ That made sense. Why Cara Delevingne chose to write ‘Peg the Patriarchy’ on her Dior corset was less clear.
So yes, the red carpet was many things. It was campy, it was chaotic, it was crazy. “It’s just gone full-on fancy dress, hasn’t it?” a colleague said during the morning-after post-mortem.
But you know what? It was also more fun this way. The people we’re talking about the morning after aren’t the tasteful ones (though Justin and Hailey Bieber did look smashing). They’re the bonkers dressers, the people who dared to go there, to indulge their wildest impulses. Who said, “Can I have a bigger sleeve and extra sequins, please?”
I’m thinking of Schitt’s Creek creator and star Dan Levy, who wore a gay-rights-themed custom Loewe outfit and a great big smile. Of Lupito Nyong’o, whose panelled denim Versace gown nodded to Justin and Britney’s double denim moment (surely one for the American fashion history books).