Forget the Met Gala, real New Yorkers go to the People's Ball

The Met Gala, the uber-exclusive event for celebrities, fashionistas, and other status-loving elites, is set to take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Monday night. But real New Yorkers celebrated fashion and community at the way more inclusive People's Ball Sunday night. The annual event held at the Brooklyn Public Library's central branch is even free to attend.

Gothamist (who covered the event live on Instagram):

Dapper Dan, who gained attention in the fashion world by designing clothing that incorporated the monograms of luxury fashion houses, emphasized how much he preferred the night's event to the Met Gala. As someone whose creativity is inspired by everyday people, Dan says that for him, the People's Ball is like Christmas.

"Tomorrow night at the Met Gala is a whole parade of branding," Dan said before the event. "Tonight, I'm expecting to see people being a brand within themselves."

Some attendees used fashion to make political statements, wearing shirts that read "Rent Is Too High" and "Fund BPL." Caroline Fitzgerald came adorned in a handmade red-and-white dress emblazoned with the words "Read Banned Books," paying homage to the famous "Tax the Rich" gown New York City Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore at the 2021 Met Gala.