Met Gala 2024: Menswear designer predicts the styles of the year’s biggest fashion event

The 2024 Met Gala will take place on 6 May

Kaleigh Werner
New York
Saturday 04 May 2024 21:03 BST
MET GALA 2024 countdown begins: Secret guest list, theme of the year and special exhibits; all details in this video

Menswear on the red carpet can often be a dull affair: Pants, button-down, tie or bowtie, and jacket. But for an event as prestigious and playful as the annual Met Gala, that is not the case.

Here, at what many deem the biggest event in fashion, the arrangement tends to extend past the primitive structure to rifle the feathers of conservative dress with flirtatious, frisky offerings. Male risk-takers are seen in renditions of the classic tuxedo, adding nuance with accessories, fabrics, and dramatised additives. A suit jacket can be lengthened and split to include a coat tail. Pants are chopped to chubbies or fashioned underneath a kilt. And shirts are either rendered useless and reimagined in paint or dipped in a pool of pearls.

The Met Gala, held on the first Monday in May, always promises star-studded elegance in the most extravagant, yet absurd way. Unlike any other red carpet, it forces A-listers and designers to defy manners with fine art garments that look like they should be behind glass casing rather than on the body. The night is an excuse for attendees to wear pieces they’d never don anywhere else while keeping to the concepts of the Costume Institute’s new spring exhibition. Fierce bravado is expected among a handful of men who will undoubtedly take a refined, safe approach.

Steven Dann, co-founder and creative director of the New York-based brand MONFRÈRE, sees the Met Gala as a pageant of quirky costumes with limitless exaggeration. “You know with the Met Gala, obviously, the more avant-garde, the crazier, the corkier it is, people really gravitate toward and love because it’s really a costume party rather than a red carpet,” he told The Independent.

This year, a multi-faceted concept is to be considered. The 2024 spring affair, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” and its subsequent dress code, “The Garden of Time,” should inspire creations based around organic elements that relate to either the land, sea, or sky while taking inspiration from garment silhouettes commandeered by past periods like the Elizabethan age.

“I do think that there’s going to be a lot of florals an opportunity for some fresh florals,” Dann said. “I’d love to see some really fantastic black tie floral prints I think that there is going to be definitely some reference to the ocean like ocean blue silk tuxedos.”

Ask Dann what he’d wear if he were going, and he’ll tell you a “shell-encrusted back” or “green top hat”. But a good broach, pocket watch, tie pin, or cane could be incorporated too because a collection of little accessories can add the right amount of zest without being overbearing.

Lil Nas X showed up the 2023 Met Gala in nothing but silver underwear and metallic paint
Lil Nas X showed up the 2023 Met Gala in nothing but silver underwear and metallic paint (Getty Images)

Last year, for the 2023 Met celebration, the dress code was unofficially black-and-white. Honouring the legendary designer, Karl Lagerfeld, and his notable work as creative director for Chanel, the gala was an achromatic spectacle. Celebrities picked through Lagerfeld’s archive and collaborated with designers to create odes to the artist within a limited colour palette.

Out of reverence for the theme, many male attendees played on the obvious black-and-white choice but splashes of red poured over the carpet with A$AP Rocky’s plaid Gucci kilt and Pedro Pascal’s Valentino fiery overcoat. Soft fabrics were thrown out for copious amounts of tweed and laced veils (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Thom Brown and Alton Mason in Karl Lagerfeld). In Lil Nas X’s case, the only material that seemed necessary was a skimpy silver speedo, relying on metallic paint and crystal prosthetics for coverage.

Jared Leto wore a costume designed to look like Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette, to the 2023 Met Gala
Jared Leto wore a costume designed to look like Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette, to the 2023 Met Gala (Getty Images)

Of the many menswear looks, Dann thought of one person who particularly stood out. “I mean, Ryan Murphy’s (by Christian Siriano) was kind of funky,” he admitted.

To the designer, the worst is when men focus on making their look attention-grabbing. He noted: “It’s like you’re trying too hard. There, that’s what doesn’t do it for me.

“Genuinely, my personal opinion, I think whether you’re on the Met Gala red carpet or whether you’re on the Oscar red carpet, I do believe in a more conservative yet trendy, if that makes any sense, conservative with an edge,” Dann added. “Maluma in 2022, I think he did it right. He came in with some crazy hair, but he had a great tuxedo on. It was respectful of the gala. What you need to really worry about is making sure that you are being respectful of the institution itself.”

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