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Avant-garde fashion at this year’s Met Gala

From Priyanka Chopra to Rihanna and Katy Perry, why some of the fashion statements were so unconventional at this year's Met Gala

Actress Priyanka Chopra arrives at the Met Gala event in New York City. Photo: Reuters
Actress Priyanka Chopra arrives at the Met Gala event in New York City. Photo: Reuters

If you’re wondering about Priyanka Chopra’s oversized trench coat at the Met Gala on Monday night, you should know that avant-garde outfits were all the rage at this year’s fundraising event, which honoured Rei Kawakubo, founder of Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons.

Officially known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit, this extravagant black tie affair is held on the first Monday of May, raising money for the museum’s Costume Institute—a collection of over 35,000 costumes and accessories which represent several cultures dating from the 15th-21st centuries.

74-year-old Kawakubo—only the second living person to be honoured at the Met Gala, after Yves Saint Laurent—is a fashion trailblazer whose unconventional couture designs blur the lines between fashion and art. She challenges conventions of beauty, the female form, and gender. While Kawakubo’s collections have raised eyebrows at almost every turn, they have also made her one of the most impactful designers of recent times. “Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years," says Andrew Bolton, the curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute. “I think she’s completely changed the course of fashion history," he added, noting that Kawakubo’s work “occupies a space between entities or boundaries, whether it’s male-female, east-west, child-adult, object-subject".

Known as “the party of the year" since its inception in the 1950s, the gala has been bringing in the biggest names from film, fashion and business. The chairperson of the institute, the iconic editor-in-chief of Vogue USA, Anna Wintour, has been at the helm of the Met Ball since 1999, transforming the charity event into an exclusive celebrity red carpet event. Though it has a formal dinner that follows its cocktail hour, the latter has come to popularly define the modern Met Gala. Hawk-eyed observers of celebrity fashion come together to throw a spotlight on the select, invited crowd of 600.

The 2017 Met Ball, co-chaired by Anna Wintour, Kawakubo herself, and singers Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams, did not disappoint. Sponsored by Apple, Condé Nast, Farfetch, H&M and Maison Valentino, the event was an extravagant display of fashion and art. Tickets sales this year, priced at $30,000 a pop, are expected to raise millions of dollars for the institute.

Here are some of the most interesting and off-kilter fashion tributes to the legendary Rei Kawakubo from Monday night.

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