The Met Gala 2024

The annual fashion event, which is essentially a fancy dress competition for the wealthy that benefits the Costume Institute, included the most Indian designers to date.
The Met Gala 2024

The Met Gala 2024, formally known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Benefit, has the potential to be a historic event. While couturiers Rahul Mishra, Gaurav Gupta, and Tarun Tahiliani made their Met Gala debuts, Sabyasachi Mukherjee became the first Indian designer to walk the carpet. But did any of those works, exhibited on May 6 in New York City, make you stand up and take notice? Not really. Take starlet Alia Bhatt's Sabyasachi sari (or sari-lehenga?). The mint-green sari had a lengthy train embroidered with sequins and semi-precious stones, and it was fringed with glass beads.

Her blouse was accented with emeralds, Basra pearls, tourmalines, and sapphires. Some of these stones, as well as diamonds, adorned her hair, all of which were Sabyasachi designs. Was it pretty? Yes. Was it innovative, such as the gold sari he designed for the Met Gala in 2022? His personal appearance at the Gala was significantly more memorable. The embroidered cotton duster coat and heavy jewelry exuded the charm of royal India, while the cherry-colored sunglasses provided a touch of chic—a marriage he masters.Gupta, whose "melting flower of time" gown in beige (a color "reminiscent of a weathered flower," according to the press note) was worn by Mindy Kaling, is known for his sculptural gowns that are confounding masterpieces (remember his creation for the Paris Fashion Week debut last year that looked like it was frozen while dancing in the wind?). That similar blend of imagination and reality required a new viewpoint in his Met Gala outfit.

The same goes for Hyderabad-based millionaire Sudha Reddy's beautiful ivory silk gown made by Tarun Tahiliani. While the stunning 3D butterflies gave the outfit a featherlight feel, the overly generous use of embroidery on the corset (in the middle of which was a hand-embroidered image of what appeared to be a female royal holding a red flower), skirt, and cape made one yearn for more experimentation with silhouettes rather than going overboard on handwork. Among all of this, stylist Law Roach's AFEW Rahul Mishra ensemble—all-ivory white double-breasted jacket decorated with Rousseau-esque vegetal forms and glittering flared trousers—stood out. It was simple, sleek, and reinforced the notion that little may be more.

Yes, the Met Gala event is about fashion, but it is also about inspiring people to reconsider fashion by featuring ensembles that both shock and wow them. Tyla's Balmain sand dress and Mona Patel's butterfly gown by Iris Van Herpen are two examples. It becomes even more vital for Indian designers, who are still in the process of establishing their worldwide presence, to experiment more, think beyond literal motifs, and give the world what fashion stands for.