Met Gala 2021: Carolyn Maloney honours women’s suffrage with political dress

‘I have long used fashion as a force [for] change,’ says American politician

Hollie Richardson
Tuesday 14 September 2021 11:48 BST
Best Red Carpet looks at the 2021 Met Gala

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney made a political statement at last night’s Met Gala with an outfit inspired by the suffrage movement.

Maloney, who represents New York’s 12th Congressional District, wore a purple, white, yellow, and green dress with sashes stating “equal rights for women”.

The 75-year-old also showed off a green purse that read "ERA YES” while walking the red carpet at the annual exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Maloney’s outfit was a reference to the Equal Rights Amendment, designed to provide the legal equality of the sexes and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.

The proposed constitutional amendment has been waiting on state ratification since Congress passed it in 1972.

In 2020, the House of Representatives voted to remove the 1982 deadline for state ratification and reopen the possibility for the amendment to pass.

Maloney explained the importance of the dress in a Tweet before attending the gala.

“Across the country, women’s rights are under attack,” she wrote.

“I have long used fashion as a force [for] change.

“As the Met Costume Institute reopens [with] their inaugural exhibit celebrating American designers, I am calling [for] the certification of the ERA so women can be equal once and for all.”

This year’s Met Gala theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” looking at how US fashion has changed in recent years and how it has been influenced by politics and social justice.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was another attendee who made a strong political statement with a white gown that bore the words “Tax The Rich” in red lettering.

According to Aurora James, founder and creative director of Brother Vellies and the founder of the 15 Percent Pledge, the outfit was about pushing forward.

She told Vogue: “Fashion is changing, America is changing. And as far as this theme goes, I think Alexandria and I are a great embodiment of the language fashion needs to consider adding to the general lexicon as we work towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and empowered future.”

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