The Most Dystopian Memes of the 2024 Met Gala

The Met Gala came and went last night. The dress code for the annual fundraiser, held on the first Monday in May for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was themed the “Garden of Time” in line with the institute’s forthcoming exhibition Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion. And while some celebrities kept us wide awake, others left us dozing off or dreaming of better times — which seem distant, as hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters marching across the Upper East Side last night reminded us. A total of 27 people were arrested during the demonstrations, which used the slogan “no Met Gala while bombs fall on Gaza.”

Online, many are comparing the Met Gala’s display of wealth and opulence with the Hunger Games saga, in which the lavishly dressed residents of the Capitol enjoy the annual sport of watching representatives from its colonies (“districts,” in the series’s parlance) fight each other to the death. In keeping with tradition, we’ve scoured the post-gala feeds and rounded up the most noteworthy memes for you, from eerie dystopian parallels to an art history throwback.

crumbling empire
Fitting commentary from @missladysalad (screenshot Valentina Di Liscia/Hyperallergic via X)

First, allow me to set the scene for you. A staircase made from some stacks of moldy Polly-O string cheese and some hedges … Off to a great start from the “red carpet”:

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Realistically, moldy cheese is technically a garden of time in the truest sense … (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

I’m not usually one to throw in my two cents as my sense of style is so comatose that I’m still unironically wearing a Pikachu t-shirt I bought from Delia’s in seventh grade, but it looked like all invitees saw the word “garden” and went straight to florals … yawn.

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On the first Monday of May, we are all her … (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

And what’s a Met Gala without Rita Ora somehow still in attendance and saying something mind-numbingly stupid but in an iconic way? The look was giving door beads circa mid-2000s despite Ora’s claims that the beads “age back to the first and second century BC … older, I think, than anyone on this planet.” But at least she paid attention to the “time” element of the dress code?

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“Which does seem likely” … because this certainly couldn’t be fact-checked 🥲 (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

And to that point, what’s a Met Gala without some annual Anna Wintour hate to get the party started? I just know that the girl who asked for Wintour’s ID in 2022 is smirking right now, as she should.

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Miranda Priestly would be disgusted … (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

… Or the ninth consecutive year of the Jason Derulo falling down the stairs meme?

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He’s Ridin’ Solo … (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

But as usual, the claws were out on X as people in their pajamas couldn’t wait to tear into the worst red carpet looks of the year …

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Devastating levels of accuracy here … (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

And even though the men of the Met Gala actually shut us up last year while paying tribute to the controversial Karl Lagerfeld, they’ve gone right back to disappointing us right on schedule …

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Olivia Wilde’s dress from last year could have saved the day here … (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

Additional figures for this research paper available here:

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AND YET NONE OF THEM LEARNED HOW TO SERVE 😭 (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

And speaking of serving … Only few brought Hunger Games‘s Effie Trinket-levels of ~cuntitude~ to the Met Gala this year. I mean flower after flower after flower, and you’re telling me nobody could think of the bees and butterflies? The planet really is doomed at this rate. (Before anyone says it, I know that Mona Patel wore an Iris van Herpen dress with moving butterfly wing-elements on it, okay!)

But speaking of Effie Trinket, we at least had Zendaya …

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She was about to say “Primrose Everdeen” so mf loud … (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

And she had to do it to ’em twice!!!

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Like a good co-chair, Zendaya is there … (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

And speaking of Zendaya …

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This was a BYOC (Bring Your Own Churro) event! (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

Nightmare Blunt Rotation: UK Edition

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Group project core (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

I forgot to mention … A Met Gala is not a Met Gala without some Lea Michele slander!

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Someone else said that it it would sound like a gong if you hit her head with a spoon (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

And, because this is Hyperallergic, an art history reference!

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No, we don’t want a movie. (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

And from the “Time Tunnel” of Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow to the “Garden of Time” at the Met Gala, Kirsty the Oompa Loompa has touched down in New York City …

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Her Oompa Loompa outfit absolutely needs to be conserved at the Costume Institute for future generations. (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

This year’s Met Gala leaves us with a lot to think about, but there’s one final question that should be on everyone’s mind:

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There’s a time and place for everything, and the time for this is May 2025 or else. (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via X)

Actually, I lied. The only question that should be on your mind is to ask where people’s priorities lie right now, because the $75,000 spent on an individual ticket to the Met Gala could have been used for literally anything else, and ideally some good, in our world in crisis.

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