Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Best dressed at the Met Gala: Garden of Time

Unveiling the Met Gala’s best dressed
Image courtesy of the official Met Gala Facebook page.

On Monday, May 7, the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted the 2024 Met Gala. The event’s theme, “The Garden of Time,” draws inspiration from J.G. Ballard’s 1962 short story of the same name. Within the story, Count Axel and his wife find themselves in a world of opulence, surrounded by a magnificent villa adorned with crystalline flowers. As they revel in their lavish life, an angry mob army advances, threatening their idyllic sanctuary.

In a desperate bid to hold back the encroaching chaos, Count Axel is compelled to pluck the delicate flowers one by one, each petal a fleeting grasp at reversing time’s relentless march. The flowers possess the extraordinary ability to manipulate time.

When there are no more flowers, the mob storms the villa, which they find is in a crumbling dilapidated state, a stark contrast to its former grandeur. It’s a poignant allegory of the eternal struggle against the inevitability of fate and the fleeting nature of existence.

While numerous guests gravitated towards obvious floral themes, some ventured further into the thematic depths, embracing the profound symbolism of aristocratic decline and the futile struggle against the relentless march of time and mortality. The following best-dressed list celebrates individuals who adorned themselves in distinctive and thought-provoking ensembles, captivating the eye with their visual allure.

Met Gala’s Best Dressed


After making waves with her pop hit “Water,” Tyla conjured sand as the next earthly element to embody. For her debut on the Met Gala stage, she donned a form-fitting strapless Balmain sand dress; she captivated attention akin to a mythical creature emerging from the depths of the ocean.

According to Vogue, the Balmain team’s ingenuity truly shone as they embraced the challenge of crafting Tyla’s gown entirely from “three colors of sand and mixed with micro crystal studs.”


The sand dress and the hourglass clutch is homage to the ephemerality of human existence, where moments are fleeting like grains of sand slipping through an hourglass. Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain told Vogue, “The idea of sculpting a garment from something as ephemeral as sand ignited my imagination and I could not be happier with the end result.”


Mona Patel

The enigmatic figure who set the internet abuzz has been revealed as Mona Patel, an Indian entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of groundbreaking health tech startup radXai. Patel also started Couture for a Cause, a non-profit organization that “aims to positively impact and transform millions of lives around the world by galvanizing the power and influence of the haute fashion industry,” according to their website.

In a stunning butterfly ensemble that paid tribute to the gala’s naturalistic theme, Patel graced the Met Gala in a floor-length Iris Van Herpen sculpted gown. The nude hue was complemented by a butterfly-shaped corset and a trailing scalloped train. It was a debut that left an indelible mark, earning her a well-deserved spot on many esteemed best-dressed lists.

The captivating detail of her 3D kinetic butterflies cascading up her arms like animated opera gloves truly stole the show. With a hidden motor seamlessly integrated into her gown, these whimsical creatures danced open and closed throughout the evening, casting an enchanting aura wherever Mona roamed.


In a spellbinding fashion narrative, Zendaya emerged as a modern-day enchantress, draped in a John Galliano creation that whispered of mythological fantasies. With every ethereal movement, her sculptural tulle gown turned her into a Tim Burton-esque bride.

Accompanied by a daring feather fascinator and Gothic-inspired makeup, the mesmerizing play of emerald green and electric blue hues in her custom-designed gown evoked visions of mythical forests and celestial seas. Her gown boasted intricate layers of iridescent organza, sage metallic details and a drapery back bow. Topping off this ethereal saga was a headpiece adorned with a black veil.

The gown’s voluminous silhouette and rich gemstone colors evoke images of once-majestic palaces now cloaked in shadows, their former splendor fading into oblivion. With every billow of fabric, there lingers a sense of solemn beauty tinged with the melancholy of a fading empire.

Emma Chamberlain

As Chamberlain slipped into her black floral dress, she transformed into a gothic Sleeping Beauty, ensconced in the timeless embrace of the Garden of Time. Here, amidst the spooky beauty of the garden’s decay, she became a haunting vision.

Every intricate detail, meticulously crafted from the hauntingly beautiful lace corset to the subtle intentional ripples, spoke of a profound unraveling — a symbolic representation of society’s inherent vulnerability and the inevitable shedding of façades.

The resulting masterpiece of the Jean Paul Gaultier gown tiptoed on the fringes of reality, embracing the delicate balance between fragility and decay. Swathed in layers of fabric that swirled with an otherworldly grace, the dress exuded an aura of eerie elegance — a  homage to the decaying mood of the dress affectionately dubbed by Chamberlain as her “swampy mode,” according to Vogue.



Mindy Kaling

As she stepped onto the red carpet, Kaling dazzled in a voluminous nude-colored strapless gown by Gaurav Gupta. The gown was a marvel of sculptural design, with elements that soared over her head and cascaded down her back in a mesmerizing dance of loops and swirls. The gown was so grand, Kaling required a team of handlers to assist her with its monumental train.

Adorned with delicate, sheer layers and a gracefully draped bodice adorned with subtle silver accents reminiscent of stardust, it exuded an otherworldly allure that captivated the audience. Few gowns possess the same allure from the back as they do from the front, but this gown was a rare exception. It was from behind that the gown truly commanded attention, flowing like Rapunzel’s enchanting tresses, with each curve and swirl adding to its mystique.

In a nod to Tyla’s sandy creation, this gown resembled a glamorous, glittering sandstorm — dramatic and utterly captivating.

The fluid motion of the dress was simply breathtaking, a testament to the designer’s unmatched talent in infusing a single color with remarkable depth and dimension through masterful layering and intricate crystal embellishments.

Images throughout article are courtesy of each individual’s Instagram page. 

Samourra Rene can be reached at [email protected].

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