I went to a fancy dress competition in school dressed as a newspaper. Not a great idea in a boy’s school, where people thought the newspaper should be used for bathroom reading. However, now, we have the MET Gala, which has been a source of more trending memes than trending fashion over the years — like Priyanka Chopra with a dress longer than the gap between CTC and and the take-home amount.
Priyanka Chopra in her black Valentino gown for the MET Gala 2023Instagram
The Met Gala is a charity event, a promotion of fashion and art and a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. In India, we call a colourful spectacle like that Holi. They say a cat has nine lives, but apparently Karl Lagerfeld — the Chanel designer who was honoured at the 2023 gala — has as many lives as the celebrities at the gala have Instagram followers. The famous designer’s cat “inspired” “original thinking” by many celebrities who chose to dress up as the cat. They were a lot like the final semester of college where people copying your assignment don’t even bother changing the name on the title page.
The thought experiment Schrödinger’s Cat posits that the only way to check if a cat is dead or alive inside a sealed box is to open the box, which may also kill the cat. So, was the cat dead or alive before you opened the box? This is a question many Indian parents who push their kids to the edge with performance pressure should ask themselves.
If it’s Jared Leto in a cat costume, then he becomes Schrödinger and you become the cat. The only way to know if the “Joker” is the one who kills you is to check if he is the one inside the costume. Doja Cat also dressed as Karl’s cat and responded to every single paparazzi query with a musical “Meow”. Probably the lyrics of her next song dedicated to her cat, “Let me be your hooman”.
A meme on the internet shows a dog completely puzzled by the humans in a cat costume, in this instance the reaction was for Leto. I have the same reaction when I see people taking financial advice from a Tiktok influencer. On the India front, at this year’s MET, Alia Bhatt was confused for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan by the international paparazzi. But Salman wasn’t around, so it was merely a clerical error rather than a tragic one.
As a shy, socially awkward introvert in college who only attended the prom vicariously through Hollywood movies, the Met Gala is just a reminder of the parties I was never invited to. It has all the cool, happening, famous people who are famous for being famous and cool because everyone thinks everyone thinks they are cool. Most people may not remember the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize who may change the very trajectory of our lives. But we remember every outrageous outfit, gossip and scandal at the Met over the years. Which only changes the trajectory of our boredom.
Personally I would love to see an honest version of the MET Gala. Where politicians respond with a meow every time a voter asks about their promises. And everyone claims to be “inspired” by the original idea they copied — like a fashion conscious Anu Malik. The MET Gala is just a representation of the whimsically twisted priorities of the human race. But I hope, as a reader, you have your priorities in place. And when I ask if you hit like, share, subscribe you won’t just respond with a meow.
The author is a Marwari investment banker turned corporate comedian. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.