Color naming

5 color designers who ruled the Met Gala red carpet

  • From Rihanna’s yellow Guo Pei cape to AOC’s “Tax the Rich” dress, designers of color have used the Met Gala as a way to celebrate their cultures and make statements.
  • The Met Gala returns to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute on Monday, May 2.
  • Here are five color designers who popped some stunning looks on the Met Gala red carpet.

From Rihanna’s eye-catching canary-yellow Guo Pei gown to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s statement gown, celebrities and designers used the Met Gala red carpet to celebrate their cultures, push the boundaries of fashion and send messages. In the past, color designers have used their talents and the Met Gala platform to create conversation-provoking clothing.

The Met Gala returns Monday, May 2, to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Here are five color designers who popped stunning looks on the Met Gala red carpet:

Two women in white dresses pose on an off-white carpet.  One of the dresses has "TAXING THE RICH" in big red letters on the back

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (L) and Aurora James attend the 2021 Met Gala on September 13, 2021 in New York City.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images


Aurora James

The dress that US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore to the 2021 Met Gala has drawn attention for making a political statement. It was an all-white mermaid dress with the words “TAX THE RICH” in bold red letters.

The designer behind the dress was Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies, a New York-based footwear and accessories company.

It wasn’t the first time the Canadian-born designer’s work had been showcased at the Met Gala. In 2019, the designer herself wore a personal woven pattern, and in 2018 she was a guest of Solange. Both James and Solange wore custom accessories and shoes from Brother Vellies.

Two men posing next to each other on an off-white rug.

Lewis Hamilton and designer Kenneth Nicholson attend the 2021 Met Gala on September 13, 2021 in New York City.

John Shearer/WireImage


Kenneth Nicholson

Alabama-born Kenneth Nicholson made his Met Gala debut in 2021 when he designed the suit that NASCAR driver Lewis Hamilton wore. He has been a rising star in the fashion world, earning a nomination for the CFDA American Emerging Designer of the Year 2021 award.

Nicholson’s business centers on luxury menswear where he draws inspiration from his southern roots and 1990s fashion.

La La Anthony attends the "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: the art of the in-between" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 designed by Thai Nguyen

La La Anthony attends the Costume Institute gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in a dress designed by Thai Nguyen

Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty Images



Thai Nguyen

Vietnamese American fashion designer Thai Nguyen of Thai Nguyen Atelier made his Met Gala debut in 2017 with a dress for LaLa Anthony. She dazzled the red carpet with a sheer black dress.

Nguyen got her start in fashion at her parents’ sewing school when she was 9 years old. He first made clothes for dolls, but in high school he was designing costumes for the drama club. Her clothes have been worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Jeannie Mai Jenkins and Anika Noni Rose.

Nguyen is a co-host of the Netflix show, “Say I Do,” where he helps contestants plan their weddings. He also designs wedding dresses.

A man in a suit and a woman in a red and white dress posing on an off-white carpet.

Edvin Thompson and Sha’Carri Richardson attend the 2021 Met Gala Benefit ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York City.

Taylor Hill/WireImage


Edvin Thompson

Jamaican-born designer Edvin Thompson made his Met Gala debut in 2021.

Her Brooklyn-based brand Theophilio designed the red and black dress worn by runway star Sha’Carri Richardson. He won the CFDA Award for Emerging Designer of the Year in 2021. Theophilio pays homage to designs hailing from his home country of Jamaica.

Thompson was among half a dozen young black designers that Lewis Hamilton brought to the gala in 2021, with the aim of promoting their work.

A woman standing on the red carpet with a mustard colored dress and gold design.

Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala celebrating “China: Through the Looking Glass” on Monday, May 4, 2015 in New York City.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP


Guo Pei

Chinese-born designer Guo Pei was the creative force behind Rihanna’s trailing yellow cape in 2015. According to Pei in an interview with Forbes, Rihanna contacted the designer after seeing a photo of the dress online. Pei said she didn’t know much about Rihanna at the time, but the dress became one of the most talked about clothes of the night.

In 1982, Pei was among the first class of students in China’s first fashion design major at the Beijing Second Light Industry School. Since then, over the decades, Pei has made a name for herself designing extravagant dresses with intricate detailing for some of the biggest celebrities and politicians.