There’s already been plenty of backlash about this year’s theme at the Met Gala 2015, which was supposed to be “China: Through The Looking Glass.” It would’ve been a great opportunity to showcase Chinese designs interpreted by Western designers along with Chinese artifacts, but no.
All over the world, people watched as celebrity after celebrity emerged on the red carpet wearing the finest of gowns and suits. Only, hardly any were by Chinese designers, unless you counted Chinese-American designers like Alexander Wang and Jason Wu, who had designed a simple red gown for Reese Witherspoon.
Even leading Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi was in a qipao-inspired dress by Carolina Herrera, when she could’ve donned a Chinese designer instead (like Fan Bingbing did).
What’s worse is that Western designers usually interpret Chinese culture in the most stereotypical way — we’re talking dragons, silk, blossoms, tassels and the colours red and gold. This is cultural appropriation at its best (SJP’s hat, anyone?).
The only person who got it right was Rihanna, who showed up in a beautifully embroidered gown by Guo Pei, which has since become its own internet meme. A bonafide style icon, it’s no surprise that she chose to wear a designer that no one in the West has heard of.
China’s culture is one of the oldest in the world and there are more than enough Chinese designers to choose from. Here are five that we think should have been on the Met Gala red carpet: