It’s as if this week’s run of New York Fashion Week were one elaborate dress rehearsal for the 2021 Met Gala—where the front-row crowd becomes an unmistakeable spectacle. The currency of the night is undoubtedly the clothes (the event benefits the Met’s Costume Institute, after all), but what brings these looks into the living, breathing moment is everything that happens on top.
On Monday, that translated to an ethereal 1920s-style updo on Yara Shahidi, crowned with a thin jeweled headband after Josephine Baker. Tracee Ellis Ross turned up with a blunt-cut bob—a nod to Grace Jones and her mother’s own 1975 film Mahogany. The exhibition’s theme, with its celebration of homegrown design, opened up an understandable portal to Hollywood: What could be more American than classic cinema, our collective history and greatest export? And so one could glimpse Rita Hayworth in Eiza González’s curl set, a Marilyn Monroe peroxide polish in Billie Eilish, and the namesake grace of Ms. Kelly in Kaia Gerber. “I just feel like hot girl culture needs to give Hollywood glamour,” Megan Thee Stallion rightfully said, with an asymmetrical cascade of waves over her strapless gown.
That’s not to say there weren’t moments of unexpected inspiration. Lupita N’yongo, working with her longtime stylist Vernon François, arrived with hair swirled into a cloud—a queenly choice that conveyed a kind of lightness of being. Ella Emhoff played it subtle, with diamantes rimming her eyes and a sleek mullet-takes-Manhattan finish. Hunter Schafer veered sci-fi, with alien contact lenses and biomorphic face jewelry. Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart tacked in an earthier direction, with a rockabilly faux bang in her recently dyed blonde hair. It was a sly homage to the American legend that is Bettie Page—a biopic we’d happily settle in for after Spencer comes our way.