NCT’s Johnny Makes Anticipated Debut At Met Gala 2022


NCT’s Johnny made a stunning debut at this year’s Met Gala, catching the attention of fans, photographers and the internet.


History of the Met Gala and K-Pop Attendees

The Met Gala is an annual event typically held on every first Monday in the month of May at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Founded in 1948, the event was originally created with the purpose of raising funds for the museum’s Costume Institute and that goal is still held today. At the time, only those wealthy and of high social status could attend the event. Soon, however, the event changed when Vogue editor-in-chief Diane Vreeland made the decision to relocate the event to the Met, began inviting celebrities and notable figures and introduced gala themes for each year.

As of now, current Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour overlooks the event and helms every aspect from the guest list to the theme and even controls what every attendee wears. While the COVID-19 pandemic did affect the Met Gala for 2020, it came back in full force last year and this year. As one of the most anticipated and lavish fashion and pop culture events in the New York scene, the Met Gala is a spectacle for both viewers watching at home and the press. Majorly in part thanks to the internet and anybody now being able to watch the event unfold on social media platforms. What also attracts people to tune in to every Met Gala is the thrill of seeing their favourite actors, activists, musicians and other stars walk the Met Gala stairs in exuberant garments. In the past few years, we’ve seen more K-Pop idols receive a coveted invitation to the event.

Going back in time all the way to 2013, PSY’s songs and music videos went viral all across the globe so it was no shocker he attended the Met. Alongside Super Junior member Choi Siwon, both of their appearances made them the first two K-Pop musicians to be guests at the Met Gala. Two years later, Korean actor and musician Rain would make an appearance at the 2015 event in a dapper suit.

For the 2019 event that had the theme “Camp: Notes on Fashion”, EXO’s Lay Zhang wore an ensemble created by Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli. The outfit is a playful take on a typical suit, with the UFO and space-themed adding a playfulness to the whole look.

For a while, the only idols being invited were men but that all changed at the 2021 Met Gala, which happened in September 2021 due to the pandemic. Under the theme In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”, CL and BLACKPINK’s Rosé became the first two female K-Pop stars to walk the Met Gala steps. BLINKs were extremely excited to see Rosé as she walked alongside Yves Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello while wearing a head-to-toe YSL dress. As the brand’s global ambassador, she really embodied the sophisticated nature of the brand. Former 2NE1 member and soloist CL on the other hand decided to rock a denim-based look inspired by the Korean hanbok and she looks gorgeous representing her heritage. As shown in her Instagram post, the always bold and confident CL made sure to let people know she was proud to be born in Korea. Both of these idols looked like ethereal goddesses and their appearance garnered praise from American and Korean publications.

It is evident Anna Wintour and the general public are starting to pay more attention to K-Pop stars and see the significance of inviting them to these coveted fashion events. When it was announced the 2022 Met Gala would be on May 2, 2022, K-Pop listeners were curious as to which idols would be attending this year.


2022 Dress Code: Gilded Glamour

The theme for this year’s Met Gala was announced to be a continuation of the previous year’s theme, coined “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”. Both last and this year’s themes were celebrating American fashion and designers throughout different areas and America creating their own independent fashion scene. The major difference for this year would be the dress code be “Gilded glamour, white-tie”, as stated on the Vogue website. A lot of people were not quite sure what the dress code exactly meant but media outlets began to explain in detail what the dress code meant.

“Gilded Glamour” stems from the Gilded Age in American history, referring to the period stretching from 1870 to 1890. This era was pivotal as it sparked a lot of discourse around the class divide and the struggles working-class citizens faced. During this period, the richest individuals needed to maintain their reputation and status and would then dress in lavish and opulent clothes to show off their wealth. When looking at images from this era, the clothing trends become easily noticeable. Corsets, frills, embroidery, bustles, and satin were the pinnacle of Gilded-era fashion during the time. As the era is distinct for its historical impact and fashion, it was chosen as the dress code for the Met’s two-part American-inspired theme.

With such a specific and niche dress code, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the looks and how celebrities would put their own spin on the “Gilded era” fashion.


Johnny Turns Heads in a Peter Do Look

The looks at this year’s event garnered mixed reactions, with half of the looks really fitting the dress code while others were in outfits that did not meet the prompt of “Gilded Glamour.” Regardless of whether everyone lived up to the expectations surrounding the theme, there were certainly a lot of well-dressed people at the Metropolitan Museum on Monday.

One of those people was Johnny, a Korean-American member of SM Entertainment’s K-Pop boy group NCT. The dancer and rapper of the group flew from Korea to New York to attend the gala, making him the fifth male K-Pop figure to be an attendee after the previously mentioned stars.

For the red carpet, Johnny looked incredibly stylish while sporting monochromatic formal attire. The look is an all-black suit, with the blazer, vest, and pants all made from the same satin fabric. The silhouette and fabric choice are sleek and really drive home the elegance of the ensemble. The styling is also top-tier, pairing the suit with black boots and Cartier gold jewelry. On top of that, Johnny is an idol known for his hairstyles and his wet hair for this look allures watchers.

Vietnamese-American designer Peter Do is the one who designed and envisioned the whole look. Do is a fashion designer who established his self-titled company in 2018. Born in Vietnam, Do immigrated to the states and studied Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, soon going on to work for brands like Celine before starting his brand. He soon became renowned in the New York fashion scene for his intricate womenswear pieces and has done shows for New York Fashion Week.

While Do specialized in womenswear, he wanted to create a look for Johnny that defied gender conventions in fashion and is a refreshing take on menswear. Johnny’s look is Do’s first-ever garment he created for the Met Gala and also his first attending the event, walking and photographed alongside the K-Pop star.

NCT's Johnny Makes Anticipated Debut At Met Gala 2022

NCT’s Twitter

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Johnny talked about his excitement about collaborating with Peter Do and attending the event.  On working with Do, Johnny stated “I feel like, for a long time, our teams were trying to get us together, but we were looking for the right occasion, and I guess the Met Gala was the soonest and the best place to showcase Peter Do and me.

Johnny later described his experience walking the carpet. “It was actually great. It was less stressful than I thought it would be. There were a lot of people there to help me. I had wonderful people standing with me in line and everybody was really sweet. It wasn’t really hard to have a conversation with anybody.” That night, Johnny had a chance to interact with American stars like model Gigi Hadid and Kris Jenner.

The night as a whole seemed like a blast for Johnny and the team who curated his look. Johnny ended the night by posting on his social media his experience being in New York City and attending the after-party in a more loose-fitting and casual suit.

Johnny’s appearance at the Gala sparked a massive amount of attention online and in press coverage. Johnny was one of the most talked-about celebrities who attended that night and was showered in compliments from NCTZENs for his outfit. In the same Teen Vogue interview, Johnny says “I think it’s actually extraordinary, to say the least. I never knew this would ever happen. And now that it did, it’s still kind of unbelievable. I’m sure that I’ll look back on this day like years from now and just still remember every single moment of it. That’s how impactful it was to me, and it was also the first Met Gala of my life.”

Safe to say, this will certainly be a moment in time Johnny and K-Pop fans will cherish forever.


Celebrating Asian Creatives

While Johnny was the only K-Pop idol to attend this year’s gala, there were a good amount of Asian stars that walked the carpet. Icons like Gemma Chan, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh and Squid Game” breakout star Jung HoYeonHaving all these stars, especially HoYeon who worked hard in the modelling industry, receive an invitation to the event speaks volumes about the importance of Asian entertainers in the media. It is also important to recognize Asian designers like Peter Do and Prabal Gurung who brought their visions to fruition. The fashion world has been predominantly lacking in diversity for centuries but thankfully, more BIPOC representation is emerging. Fashion cannot be relegated to something only centred around those privileged and that fit the Euro-centric norms. Asian representation is imperative and Johnny making his debut is one step closer to seeing equity in fashion spaces.

What did you think of NCT’s Johnny look? Which idols do you want to see make an appearance at next year’s Met Gala? Let Kpopmap know down in the comments section.


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