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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sends political message in first Met Gala appearance

Another New York congresswoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, also arrived at fashion's biggest night in a decadent dress bearing a political statement.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hit Monday night's Met Gala red carpet with a not-so-subtle message.

The New York Democrat wore a floor-length white gown with "Tax the Rich" emblazoned in red on the back of the dress, which was designed by Aurora James.

“When Aurora and I were first kind of partnered, we really started having a conversation about what it means to be working-class women of color at the Met, and we said, 'We can’t just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall and challenge some of the institutions,'” Ocasio-Cortez said during a red carpet interview with James.

From left, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Aurora James attend the Met Gala on Monday. Mike Coppola / Getty Images

“While the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it."

The annual over-the-top gala is hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The theme of Monday’s event was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion."

Ocasio-Cortez, however, was sharply criticized by some on social media for attending the high-society event with a luxury designer. The event boasts rich celebrities and fashion designers every year, and tickets for the event are reportedly $35,000, while tables, which are typically sponsored by companies, range between $200,000 and $300,000.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., departs the gala.Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images for The Met Museum

The money is used to support the Met's Costume Institute. In 2019, the gala raised $15 million, according to the New York Times.

James, a Canadian, founded the high-end clothing company Brother Vellies, which is based in Brooklyn, and she has championed a pledge for major retailers to dedicate 15 percent of shelf space to Black-owned businesses.

“We can never get too comfortable in our seats at the table once they’ve been given,” James told Vogue in an interview about the design and her intention.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., attends the Met Gala on Monday.Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Another New York congresswoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, arrived at fashion's biggest night in a conspicuous dress bearing a political statement. The message “Equal Rights for Women” was written on her dress, and she carried a handbag advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Versha Sharma also wore an ensemble with a statement. Her custom clutch purse including the message, “Protect Roe. Kill the filibuster." In an essay for the magazine, she said she was inspired after the recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld a strict Texas abortion law.