Joe Pisani (opinion): Hey Met Gala people, why is Kim Kardashian the only one wearing a mask?

I did some soul-searching last week and concluded I’m not fashionable enough. I want to put a little pizzazz in my life so that when I teach class, my college students will take notice rather than fall asleep during a life-altering lecture. I decided to get a brand new “look.”

And what better place to find inspiration than the Met Gala, that phantasmagoria of fashion that rivals “Game of Thrones” for sheer adventure and terror. The gala occupies a place of honor in the pantheon of American events, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Awards, the Video Music Awards and Heidi Klum’s annual Halloween party.

Even if by some miracle I made the guest list, I could never afford the $30,000 price of admission, largely because my family requires that I put all my spare change in a piggy bank for my grandkids’ college education, so the closest I could get to the gala was to gawk at photos in the New York Post. I even put on a mask so I couldn’t infect the elite.

For the average American, $30,000 can buy seven years of groceries ... or maybe four, considering the rising rate of inflation.

There was a lot for me to learn because fashion has never been my strong suit. You see, newsrooms aren’t known for their sartorial standards. (Some journalists I knew wore the same clothes for days, and they were usually jeans.)

Even though I spent way too much money on bow ties, I now prefer to dress in a T-shirt and khakis, so the only way I could get into the New York social event of the year would be by trying to pass as a busboy on Medicare.

Only the top .5 percenters get invited to the gala, which is the creation of Anna Wintour and has a more exclusive guest list than Barack Obama’s birthday party.

This year’s gala had the fingerprints of the Zoomers all over it, but I don’t want to be critical of Gen Z. They’re tired of listening to us Baby Boomer naysayers. Let the youngsters do their thing.

I tried to keep an open mind when I looked at the celebrity photos, even though I kept gasping, “Can this be real? What happened to the elegance of yesteryear?”

The red carpet had a parade of well-known glitterati, including Kim Kardashian, who was robed entirely in black by Balenciaga with a flowing train and a sort of ski mask over her head that covered her face. She could have pulled off a midtown bank heist and nobody would have known. Some internet trolls said she looked like those creepy Dementors who chased Harry Potter.

Rapper Lil Nas X wore an opulent, long robe suitable for a coronation at Reims Cathedral, and when he took it off, he was dressed in a metallic ensemble that made me think he just flew in on the Millennium Falcon with Han Solo.

Irina Shayk was elegant in a floral-patterned dress designed by Moschino in collaboration with FTD.

This year’s gala had an American theme, and the outfits were created by Atelier Versace, Prada, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Thom Browne and other names you’ll never find at T.J.Maxx or Bob’s Stores. I know because I looked.

J.Lo looked like she rode in off the Great Plains in her cowgirl get-up, and Kim Petras wore a Collina Strada dress that came with a horse head they probably stole from the set of “The Godfather.” Fortunately, the gala took place in New York City because most of those costumes would be illegal in red states.

I turn to celebrities for inspiration, but sometimes I have to recalibrate my common sense compass and ask, “Do they realize how preposterous they look?”

Sad to say, the only ones wearing COVID masks were the working class on the fringes of the red carpet. Being a firm believer in the power of masks to protect everyone from Zorro to the Lone Ranger and Joe Biden, I was a bit perturbed that the celebrity class got to break the rules yet again, but the little people couldn’t.

One of the most celebrated outfits was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s white dress, emblazoned with red letters that said, “Tax the rich.” She and Mayor Bill De Blasio probably went from table to table during dessert, trying to collect tax dollars from the celebrities, but I bet they didn’t get much. They should have brought squeegees.

Former Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time Editor Joe Pisani can be reached at joefpisani@yahoo.com.