At Monday night’s Met Gala, there was no shortage of creative takes on the "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" theme. From patriotic dresses (see Amanda Gorman's Statue of Liberty-inspired gown) to fresh creations from American designers, the stars that lined the red carpet didn’t disappoint. Our undisputed favorite looks, however, were the ones that drew inspiration from some America’s most cherished fashion icons.
Of course, Audrey Hepburn’s iconic My Fair Lady costume made an appearance on Kendall Jenner, while Yara Shahidi channeled Josephine Baker in custom Dior. Marilyn Monroe, Aretha Franklin, and Bianca Jagger’s influence was also seen in some of the night's best outfits. Here are the best Hollywood icon-inspired looks we spotted on the Met Gala red carpet.
For her first Met Gala, Model Kaia Gerber donned a stunning Oscar de la Renta gown that was a direct reference to Bianca Jagger’s own glamorous Met Gala look. In 1981, Jagger attended the event in a strapless black ball gown designed by Marc Bohan at Dior. The actress paired the look with a carefully curled bob—a style Gerber also recreated for this year’s red carpet.
Yara Shahidi’s custom Dior gown was one of the most talked about looks of the night. What you might not have heard, however, is that her outfit was designed to honor legendary entertainer Josephine Baker. “My little seed of an idea, to pay homage to the incredible Josephine Baker, blossomed in the hands of my brilliant creative partner @jasonbolden and the magnificent @mariagraziachiuri x @dior,” Shahidi shared on Instagram after the event. Stylist Jason Bolden told Vogue that the team combed through archival photos of Baker when researching for the look. The result? An awe-inspiring (and bridal-worthy!) embroidered gown reminiscent of Baker’s extravagant costumes.
From the moment Billie Eilish stepped on the red carpet, it was clear that her show-stopping look was inspired by one of America’s most iconic head-turners: Marilyn Monroe. The singer’s custom Oscar de la Renta gown was a nod to the tulle dress Monroe showed up to the 1951 Oscars in, which despite her film legacy, was the only Academy Awards ceremony she ever attended. Eilish’s coiffed platinum hair was also reminiscent of the Hollywood icon’s signature style.
Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion described her Met Gala look to Vogue as “Old Hollywood, with a hot girl twist,” and we couldn’t agree more. From her side-parted waves to her crystal-covered Coach gown, the entire look reminded us of something ‘40s Hollywood icon Ava Gardner might have worn. In fact, Coach’s creative director Stuart Vevers was inspired by vintage 1940's slip dresses when creating the custom dress, which was hand-dyed and washed for a soft nostalgic look.
For her ethereal Met Gala ensemble, Emily Blunt channeled Hedy Lamarr in Ziegfeld Girl from head to toe. The actress’s Miu Miu jeweled gown, cascading white cape, and celestial headpiece evoked Lamarr’s costume from the 1940’s film, though Blunt did add a modern touch with pearl accents in her headpiece and a glittery eye look.
Jennifer Hudson recently received critical acclaim for portraying Aretha Franklin in the legendary singer's biopic, so it only made sense that she once again channeled the icon for this year’s Met Gala. Hudson wore a red AZ Factory dress that paid tribute to some of the “Queen of Soul’s” memorable outfits.
Kendall Jenner’s modern take on Audrey Hepburn’s classic My Fair Lady look had everyone talking when she hit the carpet. Both Hepburn’s glittering white dress and Jenner’s sheer crystal-adorned gown were designed by Givenchy, and just like the iconic movie costume, Jenner’s take was also paired with a sparkling neckpiece. The model did however replace Hepburn’s tiara with a simple updo, and opted out of the original look’s elbow-length white gloves in favor of sheer, jewel-dotted ones that matched her dress.
Some of the event’s best dressed men also found their inspiration from Hollywood’s past. Model Alton Mason walked the carpet in a custom white Theophilio suit featuring a high collar, dazzling fringe cuffs, and elaborate beading down the sleeves and pant legs. Mason’s stylist Law Roach described the look as “if Grace [Jones] and Prince had a baby” on Instagram and we’d have to agree—the outfit was reminiscent of the androgynous ensembles worn by both style icons.
Not only was Gemma Chan’s Met look head-turning, but it also paid homage to Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American film star of Hollywood’s golden era. She walked the carpet in a bold sequin mini dress from Prabal Gurung that featured a crystal dragon design and a long, pastel green train. On Instagram, Chan shared that she and Gurung designed the dress to honor Wong, who fought back against the prejudice and stereotyping she faced in Hollywood. The look was a nod to some of the actress’s most notable gowns, including this one from her 1934 movie Limehouse Blues.
Eiza González’s scarlet Versace gown, Old Hollywood curls, and bold red lips were all reminiscent of actress Rita Hayworth’s signature aesthetic. Deemed "The Love Goddess" during the 1940s’, Hayworth was known for her glamorous, sultry looks, which González said inspired her own carpet attire. “I really wanted to channel Rita Hayworth, [with] old-school Hollywood glamour, but a Mexican twist to it,” the actress told E!.