Hereford designer John Oliver on what Met Gala looks got him double-tapping

The Met Gala held Instagram feeds hostage for a solid six-to-eight hours Tuesday morning, depending how early or late you were up.

The red pink carpet to end all red carpets is an annual institution for the fashion and design industry, a heady, gaudy mix of celebrity culture, visionary textiles and performance art.

The event itself – The Costume Gala at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – was created in the ‘40s as a way of opening the wallets of New York society, but is now famously-underwhelming afterthought with the likes of Lady Gaga and Serena Williams frequently unable to even down sit in their elabourately-crafted couture following their entrances.

It's a rare event where the clothes and the design (and the Kardashians) take centre-stage in a way that captures the imagination of those far beyond textile industry. So we got Hereford designer John Oliver to pick out the things he liked and the things he learned from this years’ event.

John is an exciting young designer, specialising in knitted textiles. Last year his Merino wool-cress collar piece (yep, that kind of cress) set out to challenge ideas about fashion and sustainability, catching the eyes of the Nationwide Framework Knitters Competition judges.

Like designers like Christopher Raeburn, he’s developing work that talks to the world around it – fashion that looks at how fashion affects the planet, and its climate. You can catch him at New Designers in London this July, or follow his work on Instagram here.  


The first Monday in May is a date for the diaries when it comes to fashion and textiles, for those not in the know the first Monday in May is the day of the Met Gala, a night where fashion’s elite come to play and display some of the most beautiful fashions designers have to offer.

Each year there is a theme placed upon the Met Gala and this year’s theme was one I was very excited to see “CAMP: notes on fashion”. The theme was inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay ‘Notes on ‘Camp’, which has been credited to introducing the notion of ‘Camp’ to the mainstream. - John Oliver

#1 - Harry Styles in Gucci


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Part of my excitement of this year’s theme was to see the men’s fashion. Sadly, this year there were far too many men who phoned it in with plain and drab and not camp in the slightest (see Kanye) - so it was really refreshing to see Harry Styles play with this floating and sheer number from Gucci, all while finishing the look with Cuban heels and a pearl earring.

Whilst not an in your face look, the overall effect was stunning. The shape and volume of the Blouse worked beautifully with the clean lines of the trousers. This wasn’t the look I was expecting Harry Styles to pull out of the bag but it was no less exciting for his monochromatic colour palette.


#2 - Cardi B in Thom Browne


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This look was everything I needed for the evening. It had drama (5 people to carry it in with her), humour and so much texture.

The saturated colour was beautiful, whilst the use of varying textures left the eyes bouncing around taking it all in. I loved the padded quality to the dress. It looked so comfy whilst invoking a space age feel to it. Especially with the head piece.

For me Cardi B was the best dressed for this year’s Met Gala, it could have been so easy for someone in her position to take a more muted and sedate fashion route for this event. I’m so glad she went weird and non-conventional. She took that theme and turned it on its head.


#3 – Violet Chachki in Moschino


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“When the dress fits like a glove”.

This dress had so much humour and I was living for it. Jeremy Scott certainly plays humour well within his designs, and this dress did not disappoint. Whilst very slick and beautiful in all black, the splayed hand of the tail of this dress gave me the camp factor I had been craving!

I really liked the small attention to details along the front of the dress. Whilst it would have been easy for the theme ‘camp’ to be kicked into overdrive this dress was a perfect nod to the humour and slapstick humour we come to associate with ‘camp’.


#4 – Hailee Steinfield in Viktor and Rolf


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This dress came from the SS19 show entitled ‘fashion statements’. I really loved the ridiculously oversized nature of this collection and was not surprised to see it pop up on the pink carpet.

I love how slogans have become a real statement now in fashion, and this slogan was just perfect for one of the most photographed fashion events of the year. This sense of humour perfectly nods back to the theme of Camp. I really love the colour palette; not really colours many would wear together but here it looks fantastic. I love the small attention to details of the overall look especially with the oversized bow on her head.

Very cute and playful. Just what the Met Gala ordered.


#5 - Caroline Trentini in Thom Browne 


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This is my second look by Thom Browne that I loved from the second I saw it. I love the playful use of embroidery. I have always loved skeletons and they were always my go to for Halloween.

I thought the use of a black sheer fabric background to add to the illusion of this dress was very clever and intensified the look pulling the eye to take in small details. I think the textures of the embroidery are beautiful and would have been pain staking to create.

This whole look is beautifully put together and works as whole package. I really love the oversized shoulders which adds a layer of dynasty drama to this look. Overall a very fun and playful look.