Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hit Monday night’s Met Gala red carpet with a not-so-subtle message.
The New York Democrat wore a floor-length white gown with “Tax the Rich” emblazoned in red on the back of the dress, which was designed by Aurora James.
“When Aurora and I were first kind of partnered, we really started having a conversation about what it means to be working-class women of color at the Met, and we said, ‘We can’t just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall and challenge some of the institutions,’” Ocasio-Cortez said during a red carpet interview with James.
“While the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it.”
The annual over-the-top gala is hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The theme of Monday’s event was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.”
Ocasio-Cortez, however, was sharply criticized by some on social media for attending the high-society event with a luxury designer. The event boasts rich celebrities and fashion designers every year, and tickets for the event are reportedly $35,000, while tables, which are typically sponsored by companies, range between $200,000 and $300,000.
The money is used to support the Met’s Costume Institute. In 2019, the gala raised $15 million, according to the New York Times.
James, a Canadian, founded the high-end clothing company Brother Vellies, which is based in Brooklyn, and she has championed a pledge for major retailers to dedicate 15 percent of shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
“We can never get too comfortable in our seats at the table once they’ve been given,” James told Vogue in an interview about the design and her intention.
Another New York congresswoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, arrived at fashion’s biggest night in a conspicuous dress bearing a political statement. The message “Equal Rights for Women” was written on her dress, and she carried a handbag advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment.