A shorter version of this article ran in the New York Post, which you can read here.
When Hollywood It Girl Alicia Vikander stepped onto the Met Gala red carpet last Monday evening, Twitter went crazy --- and not in a good way. Catty parody account @ChoupetteLagerfeld --- named after Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld’s famous kitten --- commented, “I don't like mullets on hair or dresses..even if it's @LouisVuitton!”
Hers was not the only Vuitton look that caused major side-eye. From Michelle William’s plain-Jane mini, to Selena Gomez’s ‘90s-era-Express maxi, to the chunky hiking boots seen on indie singer Grimes and Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly, the stars who wore Vuitton looked underdressed for fashion’s biggest night. Especially compared with Claire Danes’ light-up Cinderella gown or Katy Perry’s show-stopping embroidered Prada.
“When you think of the Met Gala, you expect elaborate gowns,” says Lorenzo Marquez, co-founder of the style website Tom + Lorenzo. “The Vuitton looks were too short, too many cut-outs, too cutesy.”
Since former Balenciaga director Nicolas Ghesquiere took over 2.5 years ago, Vuitton has upped its red-carpet presence — and created some polarizing celebrity looks. These include spokeswoman Vikander's ruffled pinafore at 2015 Golden Globes, as well as a see-through black macrame fringe top worn by Selena Gomez to the most recent InStyle Awards.
“I don’t think anyone expected to see aggressive ’90s boots at the Met Gala,” says Jessica Morgan, of the celeb-style site Go Fug Yourself, who personally thought the boots were fresh. “But if you don’t go a little off the beaten path there, where else can you?”
“I think it’s fresh and modern,” says Aliza Licht, a fashion industry veteran and author of branding tome “Leave Your Mark,” saying that she liked the short Vuitton frocks worn at the Met Gala. “Part of being an artistic director, especially for a major luxury brand, is to rethink our relationship to fashion, rethink what’s considered evening or what’s appropriate to wear. People who love fashion, that’s what they love about fashion, that it’s always evolving.”
And by thumbing its nose at high-impact glamour — and rankling traditionalists — Vuitton may be making itself more relevant to the masses.
As it turns out, most women don’t have much use for outsize gowns requiring entourages for unfettered movement.
The same thing, however, can’t be said for Vuitton’s quirky, accessible looks. Case in point: The shopping site Polyvore had a 70 percent increase in searches for heeled combat boots after the Met Gala.
“People want to dress like Selena Gomez and Michelle Williams,” says Yahoo Style news editor Lauren Tuck. “This is one of the biggest fashion stages in the world, so if brands have the opportunity to dress the biggest influencers out there, they’d be crazy not to dress them in clothes consumers really want — and can get.”