Elon Musk Channels ‘Downton Abbey,’ Talks Twitter at Met Gala | Tech News

Elon Musk Channels ‘Downton Abbey,’ Talks Twitter at Met Gala

For some wearing 1880s robber baron attire at the Met Gala, the outfit was a part of a fantasy carrying out the “Gilded Glamour” dress code.

| Updated on: May 04 2022, 20:51 IST
elon musk
Elon Musk and his mother, Maye, attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, May 2, 2022, in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

For some wearing 1880s robber baron attire at the Met Gala, the outfit was a part of a fantasy carrying out the “Gilded Glamour” dress code.

For Steve Schwarzman, it fit. Blackstone Inc.'s chief executive officer donned a top hat, white tie and cane next to his wife, Christine, in a gold gown with her hair up.

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The couple teased they were Mr. and Mrs. Russell from the Julian Fellowes series “The Gilded Age” -- characters perhaps they understand more than most, having ascended to wealth and stature themselves. There they were, at a party for 400 guests -- the same number that fit, or were allowed in, to Caroline Astor's ballroom in the late 1800s.

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On Monday night, it was Anna Wintour's list and ball, at a benefit for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, featuring a new exhibition about America's fashion legacy. 

Whether or not the number of guests was a symbolic reference to Astor's list, the event couldn't help but be a 21st century statement on privilege and power, carefully curated for broad public consumption.

The screams from people lined up on sidewalks on Fifth Avenue came for the Kardashians, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Cardi B, Janelle Monae and Kieran Culkin. The Schwarzmans went barely noticed, and their names weren't on the list of expected guests handed to press.  

Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire founder of crypto exchange FTX, had his name on the list. But it was FTX's new head of fashion and luxury partnerships, Lauren Remington Platt, who took the role of brand ambassador on the red carpet, wearing a custom-made necklace inspired by the FTX logo.

“The fashion world is one I know well, and one that needs to learn more about crypto,” Remington Platt said in explaining their presence.

Also, she added, Bankman-Fried wants to use his wealth to improve the world, and he's interested in spreading his philosophy. He recently teamed up with Met Gala veteran model Gisele Bundchen on a campaign rooted in that message. 

Even though he's known for wearing cargo shirts and T-shirts. 

“Sam has a very strong fashion sense,” Remington Platt said. “Most importantly, he's authentic to himself.”

Elon Musk, meanwhile, seemed comfortable in an outfit that reminded him of that other Fellowes hit about a British aristocratic family.

“I basically dressed like I'm from Downton Abbey or something,” Musk said. But he was wearing an American designer: Tom Ford, according to his mother, Maye Musk, a model and his date for the night. “He bought it, he doesn't borrow, he's not a model,” she said. (She wore Dior couture and Chopard jewelry.)

As for the trend of putting messages on clothing, Musk said “it's hard not to get behind” what New York City Mayor Eric Adams had on the back of his jacket: “End Gun Violence.” 

He had more to say about the “Tax the Rich” message that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore at September's edition of the event.

“Oh, is that what it said? I had trouble actually reading it,” he said, laughing. “It was sort of wrapped around -- something ich?” (He would later tweet a similar joke.)

As for the actual message: “I've paid the most taxes that any human being has ever paid, on earth last year, so it's like ‘OK,'” Musk said. “It's not like I'm not paying taxes.”

“The government is not awesome at spending money, generally speaking, but I'm not someone who thinks the government shouldn't be around,” he added. He only wishes it functioned more like the private sector, with “companies competing to do the best job for the consumer.”

Which brings us to Twitter, the company he's agreed to buy for $44 billion and take private. 

“I want to make it as inclusive and interesting and entertaining as possible, and broaden the audience,” he said. As far as his views on free speech, “someone could certainly go and say anything they want in Times Square right now, but that doesn't mean that you give them a giant megaphone and access to 100 million people.” 

The Met Gala, of course, is itself a megaphone. The message this year was crowd-pleasing.

“It's quite a good time. It's a very positive vibe,” Musk said. “It's a celebration of style, and I think especially after the pandemic people want something exciting and glamorous -- and that's this.”

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First Published Date: 04 May, 20:51 IST