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How stars and politicians used fashion to make a statement at the Met Gala

Two congresswomen women used formal gowns to call for change.
Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Celebrities aren't the only ones putting their best foot forward at the 2021 Met Gala.

Monday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) arrived to her first Met Gala wearing a white gown. The front of the dress looked conservative enough, with an off-the-shoulder neckline and even pockets — but when she turned, the dress bore a dramatic message: "TAX THE RICH."

Her purse had the same message. Ocasio-Cortez attended with Aurora James, founder and creative director of Brother Vellies, whose brand designed the congresswoman's gown.

The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion - Arrivals
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Aurora James attend the Met Gala. Mike Coppola / Getty Images

"We can never get too comfortable in our seats at the table once they’ve been given," James told Vogue of her design inspiration. "We must always continue to push ourselves, push our colleagues, push the culture and push the country forward. Fashion is changing, America is changing. And as far as this theme goes, I think Alexandria and I are a great embodiment of the language fashion needs to consider adding to the general lexicon as we work towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and empowered future."

Monday night, Ocasio-Cortez became a trending topic on Twitter for her gown.

"'tax the rich!' while i attend an event that costs $30K a seat," @audilouwhoo critiqued.

Another Twitter user, @mattxiv, pointed out the congresswoman's dress appeared to be very similar to singer Joy Villa's pro-Trump gown from the 2019 Grammy's. Villa's dress had similar red letters down the back but read "build the wall."

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) also made a splash on the red carpet when she arrived wearing a bold dress calling for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, a controversial Constitutional amendment that would guarantee legal gender equality for women and men. The amendment has been on the table since 1979.

Maloney's colorful gown included several sashes reading "Equal rights for women," and she carried a bright green purse that read "ERA YES." The bold white, green and purple shades are inspired by suffragette colors,

The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion - Arrivals
Carolyn Maloney's colorful dress called for political change. Mike Coppola / Getty Images

On Twitter, Maloney shared a photo of herself wearing the dress and posing in front of the Women's Rights Pioneers Monument in New York City's Central Park.

"Across the country, women’s rights are under attack," Maloney wrote. "I have long used fashion as a force 4 change. As the Met Costume Institute reopens w/ their inaugural exhibit celebrating American designers, I am calling (for) the certification of the ERA so women can be equal once and for all."

It's not the first time Maloney has used her Met Gala outfit to make a statement. In 2019, she wore an official New York City Fire Department jacket to the gala with a matching neon dress so that she could raise awareness for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.

"I'm LIVING for the message," wrote one Twitter user of Maloney's outfit.

Another summed up Maloney's look by calling her "an icon, she’s a legend and she is the moment."

Model Cara Delevingne also made a statement with her top which said "peg the patriarchy."

The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion - Arrivals
Delevingne poses for a photo at the 2021 Met Gala.Theo Wargo / Getty Images

"It's a bit like 'stick it to the man' if anyone wants to look up the word," she explained to Vogue.