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Singer Selena Gomez arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - HP1EE5808F3PN
Reuters/Carlo Allegri
Selena Gomez looking heavenly.
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The most buzzed about brand at the Met Gala was…Coach?

By Marc Bain

The red carpet of the Met Gala isn’t covered on TV like Hollywood red carpets are. Instead, fashion’s biggest party, which each year celebrates the opening of the new exhibit by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, plays out on social media—particularly on Instagram, where fashion labels compete for attention and buzz.

According to Instagram itself, the brand that won the night at yesterday’s Catholicism-themed event in New York was an unexpected upstart: Coach.

The American label best known for expensive—but not too expensive—handbags has long been a staple of shopping malls and discount stores. But yesterday it bested red carpet power players such as Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton, which came in second and third respectively. Of its methodology, Instagram said: “The data rankings are based on the total global number of IG mentions by either tagging or including the name/title in captions or comments on photos or videos posted to Instagram.” The rankings were calculated as of midnight US eastern time last night (May 7).

A large share of the credit for this coup belongs to Selena Gomez, the singer and Instagram star (with 137 million followers) who is the face of Coach and has her own line with the brand. Gomez was the second most-buzzed-about celebrity of the evening, Instagram said, behind only the superhuman Rihanna, and ahead of the reality star and model Kylie Jenner.

Coach signed Gomez in 2016—a deal reportedly worth $10 million—as part of its efforts to restore its cool among young shoppers and position itself as a full-fledged fashion house. That rebranding appears to be working. On a call to discuss its recent earnings, which saw another strong quarter from Coach (if less so for subsidiaries Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman) CEO Victor Luis said they were “particularly pleased with the continued recruitment gains in both our North America and global customer databases and across channels, in part reflecting our strategy to showcase Selena to cut through to a broader audience.”

Last night, Gomez evidently did just that, wearing a custom gown by Stuart Vevers, the designer behind Coach’s thriving runway line. At midnight, Coach’s post of her in the ornate ivory look was Instagram’s most-liked designer photo from the gala. Gomez also had two of the top five behind-the-scenes photos showing celebrities getting ready, alongside Zendaya and Gisele Bündchen.

Also opting for Coach was actress Letitia Wright, who was one of the highlights of Black Panther as Shuri. For her first Met Gala, Vevers and Coach created an “Ethiopian-inspired Christian dress with hand embroidered crosses and symbols,” Wright wrote on Instagram. Dressing the young star was another win for Coach.

This story has been updated to include Letitia Wright’s Coach look.