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The Met Gala: Street Culture Meets Politics On The Red Carpet

May 9th 2017

The 2017 edition of the Met Gala, paying tribute to designer Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons at the Costume Institute, gathered more than 140 pieces celebrating “Art of The In-Between”. The celebrities in attendance even used their hair to send political messages in tune with their digital communities.

The Discipline Of “Celebrity Marketing” Becoming More Political

The Met Gala is one of the most important times of the year because the interest surrounding both fashion and beauty creations has increased exponentially for this event. We can see that in five years, interest has quintupled according to Google Trends.

Between celebrating pop culture (and consumer society) and serving as a tribune for some new struggles surrounding beauty, the Met Gala (like Coachella and the Cannes Film Festival) reflects the paradox that new celebrities need to resolve: a sphere of influence that has exploded over their social networks along with growing responsibilities, which are meticulously analyzed by their fans.

Media impact (online news ; social network around Met Gala
Media impact (online news & social networks) around Met Gala (source: Meltwater)

Futurism & Politics: A Silver Helmet To Challenge Beauty Standards

The evening was an opportunity for technical prowess to pay tribute to the avant-gardism of Comme des Garçons. These successful creations were noticed and praised by the public.

Thanks to César Ramirez, the global artistic director for the Mizani line of hair products, Rita Ora wore a futuristic hairstyle: a sort of helmet of stuck-on hair sections. Once they were varnished, the sections had to rest for three days on a plastic model head before being removed and cut at an angle.

The resulting pieces were then carefully placed on netting to create a sort of tomboy hairdo. The performance was praised on social media, proving once again the creative genius combining handcraftsmanship techniques and innovations in products from the biggest hair talents.

Rita Ora Met Gala 2017
Rita Ora shot by Erik Melvin (source: Instagram)

At the same time, the fashion world’s most famous “slasher”, Cara Delevingne, transformed her bald head (shaved for the current filming of the movie “Life In A Year”) into a silver-chrome helmet.

The premise was already quite clear: challenge beauty standards without straying too far from the Comme des Garçons spirit and the models of plastered-on hair.

Still, the look that was “liked” more than a million times on the Instagram accounts also came with a hail of online insults. Cara Delevingne reacted by posting a photo on Instagram (since deleted) with a very clear comment:

“The more we embrace who we are as people and rely less on our physical attributes, the more empowered we become. Beauty shouldn’t be so easily defined. It is limitless.” Cara Delevingne

Other influencers wasted no time forwarding this message, in particular Adriana Lima. It was a real meme that tried to prove that models aren’t merely “postergirls”, but also standard-bearer for their communities.

Zendaya: Natural Beauty Head-on

Although the rules of the game for Met Gala guests is to follow the theme of the evening, Zendaya let her natural hair show. She already caused a stir by choosing to wear “faux ‘locs” at the 2015 Oscars, not hesitating at all to snap back at certain commenters.

Zendaya Met Gala 2017
Zendaya during Met Gala 2017 (source: Instagram)

The impact was evident, not only after the “fashion circus” but especially with her 41-plus million fans on Instagram who meticulously analyze every fashion statement made by the pretty 20-something.

This is clear proof that hair is far from being merely a fashion accessory.