Daily Drip

Did China “Get” Camp at this Year’s Met Gala?


Last year’s Met Gala left a cloud of embarrassment in its wake. Chinese netizens were disappointed with the gala’s Chinese guests Ming Xi and Sun Feifei’s subtle attempts to engage with the theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. Some thought Liu Wen’s golden embroiled red gown and the buddhist symbols on Wendy Yu’s dress were headed in the right direction. But overall, it seemed the concept of Catholicism truly “stumped” their beloved Chinese nationals.

Liu Wen’s 2018 dress was criticized for missing the mark with the event’s Catholic theme

Luckily, the 71st Met Gala, sponsored by GUCCI, took a more ambiguous theme. The theme — “Camp: Notes on Fashion” — left much to be expected from celebrities taking the red carpet this year. Many assumed Rihanna and Lady Gaga would shine bright like so many diamonds, given their extravagant past performances. And indeed, Lady Gaga didn’t let her role as a host get in the way of her four-costume carpet performance. Her co-hosts included GUCCI creative director Alessandro Michele, Wimbledon champion Serena Williams, and Harry Styles. Rihanna, however, was surprisingly not in attendance.

Nevertheless, this year’s Chinese invitees Li Yuchen, Zhang Yixing, and Liu Wen definitely stepped into to the Gala spotlight. Let’s see what netizens had to say about what their celebrities brought to the red carpet this year!

1. Liu WEN

Starting with red carpet veteran Liu Wen. 2019 marks Liu’s 10th appearance on the carpet. And this bonafide Chinese supermodel looked absolutely suave in a Thom Browne plaid Tassal suit skirt of bright yellow with a neat hairstyle and shocking red lip.

There is no doubt Liu is a veteran of beauty, but this look was praised as the utmost representation of handsome. One netizen had to remind us that “cousin Liu” would even look good in a sack. But then again, a sack would have missed the chance to show off this sharp tasseled suit, and truly hit the mark with this year’s theme. 

2. Lay Zhang

Lay Zhang looked absolutely dashing in Valentino creative director Pierpaolo’s ‘Time Traveller’ black suit, featuring printed white UFO motifs. Handsome as usual, he paired the black and white printed hem with a pair of black dress pants and what can only be called a bold choice in sneakers? On any other red carpet, pairing this fit with those shoes might be considered a grave offense, but with this year’s theme, Zhang’s look is just ridiculous enough.

3. Wendi Deng

Seasoned entrepreneur Wendi Deng also made an appearance at the Gala, in a colorful dress from Mary Katrantzou’s 2019 autumn and winter series. However, the piece and her interesting choice of feathery headgear in particular, received mostly ridicule from netizens. Nevertheless, her eye-catching gown definitely captures an essence of camp that China’s internet might not quite understand.

4. Wendy yu

Who is this unrecognizable beauty? Billionaire entrepreneur, Wendy Yu, daughter of Chairman Yu of the Mengtianmumen Group, and third time Met Gala attendee looked absolutely stunning in a flowing reverse Balayage dress. In pictures, Yu seems to be sitting comfortably among crashing white rapids flowing out into calm blue waves. A member of the Gala Organization Committee, Yu posted the photo below on her Weibo page, and shared photos detailing the entire preparation from sketches to accessories with Vogue.

5. Li Yuchun

And last but definitely not least, best dressed goes to Li Yuchun (as voted by the entire internet of course). The Chinese supermodel wore a peacock embroidered dress by GUCCI creative director Alessandro Michele with a look of impenetrable elegance. Mixes of red and black velvet gave the long gown a look of ‘Oriental Opera’ meets ‘Western Court Style’. Her deeply smoky makeup and 1920s flapper-esque finger waves were like the razor edge on a sharp point aimed at the Gala Theme dartboard: her looks could kill! Netizens had nothing but praise for her “tall and slender figure” and “cool and gentle temperament”. There is no doubt, Li did justice to the design as a brand ambassador, as well as reinstated a sense of pride in faraway Chinese fashion-watchers.

Ah, the Met Gala. Walking the red carpet is to love fashion, and this year’s Chinese nationals showed a combination of creativity and poise in their appearances. Having been rebirthed from last year’s uninspired Catholic misfires, China has unexpectedly come to slay this year’s campy theme.

Shalena Adams
    Shalena is an obsessive learner of all things related to East Asian Languages, with a special love for Chinese. When not catching up on the latest Korean or Taiwanese Dramas, she is fiddling with her natural hair or dancing to the rhythms of afrobeat and Caribbean music. You can check out her wild journey on Instagram at @ai_lenaak