The Met Gala is one of the few red carpets of the year where celebrities are encouraged to fully embrace the fantasy of high fashion. You're supposed to look like you've just stepped out of an editorial, not dressing to look dignified while hoisting up a golden trophy. Of course, the internet masses, not particularly known for having a strong suit for taking things into context, has a history of turning Met Gala looks into memes. Take Rihanna's jaw dropping yellow robe outfit from 2015's China-themed gala. Yes, the one with a train that had more square footage than many people's bedrooms. Even though most agreed it was beautiful, it was quickly turned into a meme and a topic for discussion and parsing on late night talk shows.
Of course this year's exhibit theme—the work of Rei Kawakubo at Comme Des Garçons—and the resulting dress code with a polite suggestion to wear an ensemble with at least a nod to the avant-garde could have resulted in some strong and daring looks that would have then become internet punchlines.
Somewhat amazingly, much of that didn't happen. In fact the biggest meme that seemed to take off last night on Twitter was not clever photoshops of dresses, but rather impassioned defenses and exaltations of Rihanna's on-point Comme Des Garçons outfit.
Indeed, Rihanna even got props for not just wearing a CDG look, but one that was actually on display inside the Met exhibit itself.
Even Lady Gaga got into it (while, of course, reminding people of the times she's worn Comme).
Yes, it seems like social media's general reaction to Met Gala looks has shifted from "LOL that dress funny tho" to "There was a theme. There was expectations. There was work to be honored. And we are judging the looks by it."
Of course, while, yes, a suggested theme is part of Met Gala tradition, so is the fact that many celebrity guests are invited as guests of designers and fashion labels and are expected to wear the looks of their hosts. So it is a bit harsh to shade everyone who didn't show up in Comme, and the fact that Kawakubo's work is so far out of the regular frame of reference of many designers is part of the reason she was only the second-ever living fashion designer to be honored with a solo Met Museum exhibit in the first place.
Still, it's a paradigm shift in Twitter's usual photo-shop happy post-Met Gala meme-making.
Though, at least one photo manipulation of Rihanna's look did seem to gain traction.
But being considered pretty enough for Beyoncé to wear you on her head is considered a compliment from most parts of the internet.
Watch Rihanna During a W Photoshoot: