Met Gala showcases darkness and light as Zendaya leads the way at stunning event

New York, New York - From a hummingbird perched delicately on Zendaya's neck to Bad Bunny's Tudor-inspired hat and shoes resembling cloven hooves, the hosts set the tone at the 2024 Met Gala in New York!

Zendaya led the way at the 2024 Met Gala, with a stunning black dress that showcased the event's theme: The Garden of Time.
Zendaya led the way at the 2024 Met Gala, with a stunning black dress that showcased the event's theme: The Garden of Time.  © ANGELA WEISS / AFP

Florals, animals, and vintage couture abounded at this year's extravaganza, which had The Garden of Time as a dress code – drawing inspiration from the 1962 short story of the same name written by J.G. Ballard.

In essence, it is about the ephemeral nature of beauty – perhaps a weighty theme to press on the luminaries attending this year's gala.

For sheer drama, co-host Zendaya dominated the green and cream carpet in her first appearance at the Met Gala since 2019.

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The 27-year-old star made a highly-anticipated appearance early on wreathed in jewel-toned lame, organza and satin designed by John Galliano, with vines crawling up her duchess corset and arms – and what appeared to be a hummingbird nestled into her neck.

Hours later she made a surprise second appearance, this time in dramatic, Mexican Gothic-inspired black, her two outfits bookending the fashion parade and underscoring the transience of beauty.

Stars showcase life and decay at Met Gala

Lana del Rey's interpretation of the 2024 Met Gala theme included a veil-like element that emphasized decay and death.
Lana del Rey's interpretation of the 2024 Met Gala theme included a veil-like element that emphasized decay and death.  © ANGELA WEISS / AFP

Most attendees chose to evoke awakenings and life and perhaps defied the theme by demonstrating the immortality of fashion through the centuries, with many 17th and 18th century flourishes.

Some – such as Lana del Rey – emphasized decay, with stark sculptural twigs rising from her gown to hold a veil of tulle like a canopy over her head.

South African singer Tyla's strapless Balmain gown evoking the sands of time was sculpted so tightly to her body that she had to be carried up the steps at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny evoked a kind of Tudor matador with a sweeping hat and a black bouquet, with the only pop of color his bright red inseam and the patent shine of his cloven shoes.

Cardi B was resplendent in funereal black, with a train so expansive it required nine tuxedoed men to lift it up the stairs.

Costume Institute celebrates Sleeping Beauties

Bad Bunny sported a Tudor-inspired outfit featuring a sweeping hat and black bouquet.
Bad Bunny sported a Tudor-inspired outfit featuring a sweeping hat and black bouquet.  © JAMIE MCCARTHY / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Celebrity interpretation of Met Gala themes have been wide-ranging and often sparked social media debate – but attendees this year appeared to shrug off the pressure.

"I don't even think there's pressure at all, I think it's more of an opportunity," actor Colman Domingo, who carried a bouquet in a lily-colored caped jacket and wide-leg trousers, told journalists.

The theme parallels the exhibit Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, which focuses on the most fragile pieces of the Costume Institute's vast collection at the Met.

The show, which will be on view for the public from May 10 through September 2, features clothing so delicate it cannot be displayed on mannequins.

Guests are likely to peruse the exhibit, and stars such as Rihanna – whose command of the red carpet is usually unparalleled, but who did not appear at this year's gala – have performed in the past.

Cover photo: ANGELA WEISS / AFP

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