The Met Gala was this week, and only like, one person proved to be slightly racist with the China theme.
We were nervous about this year’s Met Gala theme. Nervous because the theme was China: Through The Looking Glass, which seemed like an open invite for questionable or racist or racistly questionable outfits. Fortunately, most attendees stayed on the right side of homage versus appropriation. That’s why our best dressed list contains only attendees who followed our handy guide for how not to be a racist idiot at the Met Gala. Now on to the fashions – with not a single geisha costume or hair chopstick in the mix!
American audiences might only be familiar with Fan Bingbing from the X-Men series, but she’s been performing in China for close to two decades, and with a recent deal with 20th Century Fox we may be about to see a lot more of her. This gold gown with elaborate emerald-green cape is my top look of the night – a modern, formal, lavish take on Chinese design. I want that cape framed and hung on my wall, because it is absolute art.
The best way to avoid offending anyone at a gala with a theme that’s practically asking you to make it racial: wear something that has little, if anything, to do with the theme. Also, be Beyonce. It always helps to be Beyonce. Bey wore a Givenchy gown… or, I guess, some Givenchy clusters of strategically placed sequins. Daily Mail said that the jewels were “protecting her modesty,” because the Daily Mail is the fussy English grandmother I never had. Beyonce followed our rule of “interpret the exhibit” by choosing a broad, flat shoulder and fitted cut (um, very fitted?) that is slightly reminiscent of some modern takes on the cheongsam. Which means she also followed our rule “know your Chinese influences” by not showing up in some sort of weird kimono.
Oh my goodness, yes. The Met Gala dress code not only requires attendees to wear full evening dress but, as a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum Of Art’s Costume Institute, it allows the guests to play dress up. Stars can wear more creative ensembles than at major awards shows, but their creativity has to be tempered by better taste than at, say, the MTV awards. In other words, if you cannot wear a fur-trimmed yellow cape and bejeweled headpiece at the Met, there is simply nowhere you can wear it. Rihanna followed our suggestion of celebrating a Chinese designer Guo Pei. You can read more about her here. And yes, this dress has already spawned 1,000 memes. Good job, internet.
Speaking of Beyonce, both she, her boo Jay, and Solange ALL came back to the Met Gala one year after the infamous elevator fight. They’ve all kissed and made up since then and Bey’s even referenced it in a song, but did going back to the event where it all went down stir up some bad memz? Was it all just a ploy for publicity? IS JULIUS THEIR BODYGUARD OKAY???
I don’t know how to do this.
Before The Fight
Beyonce is separating Solange and Jay-Z, as if to say “if there is not something the size of an adult human person between these two, this situation will devolve quickly.”
Or possibly, “It makes the most sense for me to sit next to both my sister and my husband.” Whatever. Who cares.
But let us apply the Cher Horowitz Body Language Analysis to this, shall we? Remember how Cher knew Miss Geist and Mr. Hall were into each other? Of course you do: “Legs crossed towards each other.” Bey is angled towards Jay-Z, showing where her loyalty lies, whereas Solange is curling away from Bey and Jay like a Fortune Teller Fish from the Oriental Trading Company.
Solalnge’s hand is raised upwards towards her face, saying “who, me, start a fight?” or possibly “look at my hair! I straightened it.” Probably, like, one of those, right?
In this undated image, Jay-Z drapes a proprietorial arm over Solange’s shoulder. This is a gesture that says “I totally COULD have you in a headlock, but you know what, I’m not going to do that.” Solange’s crossed arms show that she is “closing herself off to social influence” (I Googled it), which makes sense, because who is more influential than Jay-Z? (Answer: Beyonce)
But the real question is why is Solange’s outside arm raised up so high? Try it, it’s not a natural position. Some theories:
(1) She’s making a triangle between her arm and Jay-Z’s hand. Coincidence? No. Triangles: the official shape of the Illuminati. Spooooky.
(2) She’s trying to avoid that thing where your bicep squishes against your side, splaying out your arm fat.
(3) There’s some sort of an armrest that we can’t really see.
Solange has a heavy object and a sharp-looking ring in her right hand (colloquially known as your “fighting hand”). She is applauding, but also ready for a fracas.
Jay-Z is relieved that everyone’s applauding really loud because he has had to fart for the past 10 minutes.
When Beyonce drops her ring, Jay-Z jokingly places it on her finger. The super-legit body language analysis take-away? “Our wedding vows are a joke.” Note Bey’s hand on her finger, as if to say “this is very cute, but just so we’re all clear, I’m perfectly capable of putting my own ring on (it), thanks.” Her head is tilted back in laughter, as she thinks in song:
The shoes on my feet
I’ve bought it
The clothes I’m wearing
I’ve bought it
The rock I’m rockin’
‘Cause I depend on me
As the blue-blooded half of a royal couple always walks several paces ahead of their spouse (Will before Kate, Elizabeth before Phillip, etc), so does Jay-Z trail Queen Bey. Jay Z walks with both hands in his pockets, like someone who is not so much feeling casual as trying to look casual. Can’t you imagine him whistling Camptown Races like Bugs Bunny in a cartoon? Doo-doo-doo, nothing to see here.
You just KNOW he knows a melee’s a-brewin’.
I’m going to do what I just did yesterday with the ultrasound images of my new niece, and pretend I can tell what’s going on. At least the baby didn’t have the letters TMZ superimposed over her blurry little face, though.
Jay-Z – white jacket, left hand side – has an arm outstretched, the international gesture for “please, stay at least an arm’s length away from me.” Meanwhile, Solange’s right foot (is that a foot?) is positioned forward and her arm is pushing against Jay’s. This is body language for “I’d prefer to get closer than an arm’s length, in order to fight you.” Her free arm is swung backwards, which in Body Language-to-English, translates to “I’m trying to punch you. Hard.”
Solange’s face is downcast, so you’d think she was ashamed, but that’s not the whole story. Look at her arms, pulled to waist height with her hands hanging freely from her wrists. These are the loose arms of someone who looks like she’s practically about to tap dance. Not a care in the world.
I think part of this is her Charleston-y drop waist dress. When did they wear drop-waist dresses? The 1920s. What book was written in the 1920s? Among others? The Great Gatsby. Who helped score the 2013 film adaptation of Gatsby? That’s right – Jay-Z himself. It’s all coming together.
This is a tricky one, but that’s why I get paid the big bucks. See Jay-Z’s hand, pulled to his cheek? That is his body’s way of saying “OW. My face.” Solange still has swingy tap arms.
NOW. Now Jay-Z’s hand is on his abdomen. When a lady rests her hand on her abdomen, it often means “I am pregnant” or possibly “I ate too much.” In this context, though, it probably means “OW. I also got hit in the stomach.” It also may mean “I ate too much,” but is the Met more of a finger foods event?
Solange’s tap dance hands are now pointed outward, a subtle shrug that says “yeah. I did it. What?”
New dance form. Beyonce’s hitched up skirt says “flamenco” and flamenco says “in-your-face triumph.” She has the placid smile of a 16th century Madonna. She continues to walk a few paces ahead of Jay-Z, as is her right.
Jay-Z’s hands are on his hips, body language for “how rude!” However, most of his energy is pulled into his face, with every muscle tensed towards the center. His eyes are not on Beyonce, but rather cast into middle distance, as if thinking to himself “WHAT THE HELL I just got beat up by my wife’s little sister.” This, truly, is the hour of lead that Emily Dickinson wrote about – first chill, then stupor, then the letting go. Based on his face, Hova is still trapped in the “stupor” stage.
In the alternative, Jay-Z is feeling his back pockets and has a face of dismay and realization. This is body language shorthand for “dammit, I left my wallet in there!”
After The Fight
In a total turnaround, Beyonce’s legs are now crossed AWAY from Jay Z, and the arm closest to him is pulled to her opposite side. Jay Z’s leg position says “I am the guy who you don’t want to sit next to you on a subway or bus.” [Really, gents. You do not need to sit with your legs three feet apart.] His shoulders are slumped – defeat! – and his hands are triangled – illuminati! His face is still a bit shell-shocked, like he can’t believe it’s really real. Bey remains impassive. Whatever this situation is, like all situations, Beyonce is in control of it. Or possibly behind it. All hail.