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Winner Takes All: 2024 Met Gala attendees nail the ‘Garden of Time’ theme, stun in memorable looks

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is pictured. The 2024 Met Gala, which adopted the dress code “The Garden of Time” was held at the famous museum last Monday. (Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

By Reid Sperisen, Puja Anand, Katy Nicholas, Harbaksh Kaur, and Sydney Gaw

May 13, 2024 3:36 p.m.

This post was updated May 14 at 8:21 p.m.

The 2024 Met Gala allowed celebrities to embark on a journey once upon a dream.

Returning to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, fashion’s most glamorous fundraiser was in full bloom last Monday. This year’s theme “The Garden of Time” took inspiration from the Anna Wintour Costume Center exhibit “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.”

Read on as Daily Bruin Arts contributors deliberate which Met Gala look was truly timeless.

[Related: Winner Takes All: Met Gala 2023 best dressed star-studded attendees]

Alia Bhatt

Puja Anand

Alia Bhatt embodied Indian nobility on the green carpet.

The second-time attendee and Indian actress turned to her roots at the Gala, sweeping the crowd with a custom mint-green sari by couturier Sabyasachi. The sari boasted detailed floral hand embroidery, delicate beadwork, gemstones and a 23-foot-long trail. Her look multifariously invoked the Gala’s “The Garden of Time” theme, both literally and symbolically. While the color and styling reflected the sky, earth and sea, the attire was an ode to the endurance of Indian craftsmanship and the timeless elegance of saris. Bhatt took to Instagram to gush over her designer, noting that the outfit had a life of its own – a product of 163 individuals investing 1,965 hours to capture a slice of history.

Much in character for Bhatt, her makeup was minimalistic, as her dewy and radiant look allowed the sari to shine uncontested. A messy bun with delicate frills beckoned a bejeweled headpiece and dangling earrings by Sabyasachi, completing her silhouette as a fairy princess paying homage to her heritage. By staying authentic to her culture and donning a generational masterpiece, Bhatt stood out in the sea of looks as a spokesperson of her nation.

Bhatt’s bold choice brought honor and recognition to her ancestry – a moment of pride for Indians across the globe.

Cardi B

Katy Nicholas

It takes a village, and Cardi B’s Met Gala look proved it.

With two months of production and eight attendants specifically assigned to carry her dress, the popular rapper strutted across the Met steps in an all-black Windowsen gown. The other attendees of the Gala had no choice but to give Cardi B her moment, as she took over the entire carpet with her train made of 10,000 feet of striking black tulle and a bodice perfectly fit to her hourglass figure. Her dress was designed by Sensen Lii, and Windowsen later posted that the off-the-shoulder dress represented the soil and land associated with “The Garden of Time” theme, a creative take that was unique among the other celebrities.

Beyond her dress, Cardi B’s nails, neck, ears and fingers were adorned with stunning stones of jade, green and blue, among carats of diamonds. This contrasting color scheme from the plain black dress continued to her makeup, as her emerald eyes popped with bright blue eyeliner. The look would not have been complete without the towering black tulle turban atop her head or her 15-inch black heels, both of which made her far taller than she normally stands.

With the carpet all to herself, Cardi B once again proved that her alternative Met looks deserve to steal the spotlight.

Mona Patel

Sydney Gaw

Mona Patel combined technological innovation and couture to stun the Met Gala with a look that took flight.

The entrepreneur and philanthropist graced the green carpet in a custom Iris van Herpen dress styled by Law Roach. The nude-toned strapless gown featured an intricate butterfly-shaped corset with delicately crafted scallops and a train of overlapping scallops to convey the illusion of wings. Despite the sheer beauty of the gown, the pièce de résistance of the ensemble was the animated gold arm cuffs. Patel brought her fashion ingenuity to the look with mechanical butterflies that flapped their wings along her arms as she walked down the green carpet.

To complement the gown, Patel wore her hair in a sleek updo styled by Chris Martin and Edgar Martin, and Sidney Jamila did her nude makeup look. Patel stuck with minimal accessories, opting for a pair of statement diamond earrings. Regardless of it being Patel’s first appearance at the event, she was unafraid to make bold creative choices that exemplified this year’s theme and applied her business-minded ambition to the green carpet.

Even among the most dazzling celebrities, Patel’s ethereal Met Gala look fell nothing short of magical royalty.

Lana Del Rey

Harbaksh Kaur

Lana Del Rey solidified herself as the reigning queen of tragic glamor.

The musician was alluring in an Alexander McQueen design from 2006, reinterpreted by current creative director, Seán McGirr. The outfit was a beige corset gown that flared out at the bottom and featured a veil covering a natural hawthorn branch headpiece. Hand-hammered branches came up from the bottom of the dress to the top, accompanied by a rose Del Rey held in her hand and hoof heels that completed the look. Previously, the 2006 design had a deer headpiece and took its color scheme from the animal. The revamped look stayed true to its predecessor by following its color palette. Swapping the deer antlers for tree branches allowed the dress to keep the shape of the 2006 gown which Del Rey said was the most important aspect of recreating it.

This look seamlessly matched Lana Del Rey’s vibe as she has grown popular for her music’s dark aesthetic, which this gown embodies. McQueen’s designs have a history of being showstoppers and are praised for their distinctive style. Del Rey brought another unforgettable look to the Met Gala, rivaling her appearance at the 2018 ‘Heavenly Bodies’ Gala, another very fitting theme for the singer who often incorporates religion in her artistry.

Even though Del Rey never wanted to be a fashion icon, she fills the role in her own haunting way.

[Related: Winner Takes All: Which classic Halloween films will make viewers scream with joy?]


Writers’ consensus 

It could be beginner’s luck, but Tyla brought the heat in her timeless Met Gala debut.

The South African singer, best known for last year’s Grammy-winning Afrobeats smash hit “Water,” embodied this year’s theme of “Garden of Time” with more commitment and dedication than most of the celebrities who flooded last Monday’s dappled green carpet. Looking as though she had emerged from a sandstorm, Tyla wore a sculptural skin-tight strapless dress by Balmain. The custom garment flared out into a gently cascading mermaid train and featured three different kinds of sand – including grains from Seychelles and the Sahara – to represent “the sands of time.” The impeccable craftsmanship and flawless execution of the one-of-a-kind gown made it a bold, provocative and mind-bending masterpiece.

Although Tyla’s dress may have initially appeared to be a plain beige, the sandy fabric was richly textured, catching the light and glimmering with flecks of bright gold and amber. Not only did the look exude a futuristic combination of class and elegance, but it held a profound pensiveness often missing from avant-garde celebrity fashion that has typically focused on being eye-catching more than revealing a deeper meaning. Even the little details effortlessly accentuated Tyla’s understated natural beauty, from her simple gold necklace and aquamarine earrings to her softly sand-dusted shoulders. The clever hourglass-shaped clutch purse she carried was a creative way to elevate a potentially distracting accessory into a memorable statement-making guest star.

At an event centered around the fleeting nature of time, Tyla’s incomparably ambitious look was unforgettable.

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Reid Sperisen
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