MA Luxury Brand Management Students Reflect on the 2024 Met Gala

Met gala illustration collage

Following the highly anticipated 2024 Met Gala, themed ‘The Garden of Time’, MA Luxury Brand Management student, Iman Zahid Hafeez finds out what her classmates thought were the winning looks. 


The first Monday in May is famously associated with the Met Gala, an annual celebration of fashion that captivates enthusiasts worldwide. Each year, stars, creatives, and leading figures from various industries including film, music, business, sports, politics, and social media gather on the iconic steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This year, the theme was ‘The Garden of Time’, inspiring attendees to pull out all the stops for the most high-profile fundraising benefit. The lavish evening was organised by Dame Anna Wintour, Condé Nast’s global chief content officer and editor-in-chief of Vogue. She was joined by co-chairs actress Zendaya, singer Jennifer Lopez, actor Chris Hemsworth and rapper Bad Bunny. Additionally, Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson and TikTok’s chief executive officer Shou Zi Chew were recognised as honorary chairs.



The Dress Code


This year’s dress code, ‘The Garden of Time’, is based on the same-titled story by JG Ballard written in 1962. The plot focuses on an elegant couple, a count and his wife, who live in a picturesque villa overlooking a garden filled with crystal time flowers. The dystopian story can be interpreted as a commentary on the social, technological, and environmental challenges faced by our society. This choice of theme continues the Gala’s tradition of using literature and art to push and reshape the boundaries and perceptions of the fashion industry. Moreover, the juxtaposition of high fashion and a story centred on societal conflicts encourages deep reflection on our impact within the realm of fashion. The dress code also references the archival and natural elements featured in the exhibition.


Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion

During fashion’s biggest night out, the Met Gala welcomed its guests to the Spring 2024 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, titled ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’. The exhibit showcases a collection of 50 historically significant and fragile fashion items. According to Vogue, these pieces range from 17th-century Elizabethan-era English bodice to contemporary designs by Stella McCartney and Connor Ives, spanning 400 years of fashion history. The exhibit utilises innovative technologies such as X-rays, artificial intelligence, video animation, and immersive soundscapes to bring these delicate garments to life. This innovative exhibition not only breathes life into the pieces, but also offers visitors a unique lens on the progression and preservation of fashion.


Red Carpet Highlights


The Met Gala has consistently showcased unforgettable fashion moments that resonate throughout pop culture. This year was no exception, with several celebrities capturing the public’s imagination with their innovative styles.


This year, all eyes were on Zendaya as she showcased not one, but two magnificent looks. She first appeared in a custom, ocean-blue gown by John Galliano for Maison Margiela, and later changed into a black vintage Givenchy haute couture gown from the Spring 1996 collection, both expertly styled by image architect Law Roach. Student, Jenna Martin, praised the transformation, noting, “Her first look definitely captured the essence of a garden, from the colours to the design. The transition to a simpler black look, complete with a makeup change, was equally beautiful”.



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A post shared by Tyla (@tyla)

Making her Met Gala debut, singer-songwriter Tyla collaborated with Balmain to create a spectacular ensemble that embodied the evening’s theme, ‘The Garden of Time’. Olivier Rousteing, Balmain’s creative director, crafted a dress symbolising the sands of time. Ifesinachi Mamah, another student, was impressed: “Tyla really embraced the theme with her sand dress and hourglass purse—it was a showstopper”.


Additionally, the gala’s “mystery guest”, entrepreneur and philanthropist Mona Patel, turned heads in a unique Iris Van Herpen butterfly gown with detached sleeves designed by Casey Curran, also styled by Law Roach. Student, Jasmine Farace, commented on the unique design, “The moving butterflies on her arms were a fascinating detail that really stood out”.


The event also showcased several notable menswear looks. Formula 1 champion Sir Lewis Hamilton wore a custom Burberry look featuring floral embellishments and a tribute: a poem titled ‘The Gardener’ by Alex Wharton, dedicated to John Ystumllyn, one of the UK’s first Black gardeners, stitched inside his black jacket. Student, Martina Lauriola, reflected on his look noting, “His outfit was not only stylish but also carried deep meaning”.


Co-chair Bad Bunny made a memorable entrance in a bespoke Maison Margiela outfit by John Galliano, which included a black satin corset and a thematic floral bouquet. Ifesinachi Mamah commented on his style, “He embodied the whimsical essence of a count from a fairy tale. The black bouquet added a poignant touch, symbolising the temporary beauty of roses that eventually wither away, much like the fleeting moments in the story ‘The Garden of Time’”.


Fashion influencer Wisdom Kaye turned heads with his dramatic entrance in a vivid red coat and matching hat designed by Robert Wun. Jenna Martin was particularly impressed, stating, “Wisdom Kaye was the best dressed man there. His decision to avoid a typical suit for something more original really stood out. The rose red colour with burnt ends beautifully symbolised the ends of time”.


Every year, the Met Gala provides a stage for celebrities to explore the limits of fashion, and this year’s attendees certainly maintained that tradition with their inventive and theme-driven interpretations.


By Iman Zahid Hafeez – MA Luxury Brand Management student