A flaming Q-tip. An emoji. A cartoon character — maybe Sideshow Bob of “The Simpsons,” maybe Aku of the Cartoon Network’s “Samurai Jack.”
The comparisons evoked by Sarah Jessica Parker’s less-than-nuanced headdress at the 2015 Met Gala were not all complimentary. As People put it: “It’s like a pop culture Rorschach test.”
— طز (@elizah_tomatoes) May 4, 2015
Morever, SJP wore said headdress to a gala with the theme “China: Through the Looking Glass.” The event’s previous title was “Chinese Whispers” — a name perhaps more reminiscient of a massage parlor than a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit. Was SJP’s eye-catching choice, designed with very un-Chinese couturier Philip Treacy, a tribute to Chinese fashion, or was it offensive?
“There are many excellent and eye-catching Chinese designers to choose from for red carpet attire,” Styleite wrote before Monday night’s event, “but there’s also the undeniable and highly likely potential for yellowface, Geisha costumes, and things that aren’t even Chinese.”
— David Yi (@seoulcialite) May 4, 2015
Though Twitter swarmed with SJP headdress memes, early reviews indicated that the actress had pulled it off.
“There were approximately a million and a half ways to do it wrong,” Connie Wang of Refinery 29 wrote. “However, Sarah Jessica Parker might have found the most clever way to pay homage to Chinese culture and its Western interpretations — all while still looking like a top-notch queen.”
The headdress, it turns out, paid tribute to both the “phoenix crowns” worn by traditional Chinese brides and the mascots of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
— Joe Jin (@joejindesign) May 5, 2015
“Since the headdress isn’t a sacred object (like a war bonnet at Coachella),” Wang wrote, “nor is it a trend that’s been used as exotic, uneducated ‘decoration’ (like a bindi at Coachella), this reads as appreciative — not appropriative.”
For SJP to one-up her previous flashy Met headgear was quite the feat. This is the woman who wore a faux-hawk to the “punk”-themed Gala in 2013.
— Who What Wear (@WhoWhatWear) March 26, 2015
“OK, here’s the thing,” EOnline wrote, “if it was anyone else we’d be giving some serious side eye but SJP knows how to rock some elaborate headwear, as she’s proved at many a red carpet before.”
Still, there were jokes.
Though some may have felt left out.