Monday night’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit, or the Met Gala, was Vogue elitism at its finest, with a near complete absence of TikTok stars, Instagram personalities and podcasters. There were, however, plenty of A-list actresses and supermodels in Chanel or Chanel-inspired getups with uncharacteristically tame hair and makeup (i.e. smokey eyes and red lipstick).Save for the few cats who walked the beige carpet, the beauty at this year’s Gala was pretty safe, compared to what we usually see at fashion’s “Super Bowl.”Rihanna, in the most dramatic look of the night — a white Valentino wedding gown, a hooded cape made of enormous camellias and cat eye sunglasses with comically large false lashes attached — went with understated makeup. A classic red lip, pearlescent eye and “soft-matte, chiselled complexion” all “celebrated the same classic yet modern beauty of Karl Lagerfeld’s designs,” read a press release from Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s line.Even Kim Kardashian’s makeup was subdued, despite her Schiaparelli dress being a reminder of less fashionable times (a Playboy shoot from 2007). Mario Dedivanovic, Kardashian’s longtime makeup artist and founder of Makeup By Mario, did a smokey eye and nude lip.Beauty’s “quiet luxury” moment finally arrived, a Met Gala first.Most people watching E!, Vogue’s live stream or just manically scrolling Instagram or TikTok (all four if you were me) tuned in to see what the evening’s 400 guests were wearing, but my eyes were peeled on beauty, or everything above the neck plus nails.Hair and makeup fell into two opposite categories: super opulent and extreme like Lil Nas X and Doja Cat, and then classic but understated like Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz. Maximalism showed up in nails: Rita Ora had foot-long chains dangling from black nails, courtesy of Naomi Yasuda, Madonna’s longtime nail artist who’s been a backstage fixture for years.Beauty was feminine and glam, and faces were dewy. There was some big hair (Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried), almost no hair at all (Florence Pugh), and high blush placement, but overall, beauty was subtle — and fitting when paired with all of the Chanel. All of the beautiful people just looked beautiful.I asked Katie Jane Hughes, a celebrity makeup artist who didn’t paint the faces of any guests last night, for an unbiased take.“It was either super sexy pulled-out eyes or bold lips. There weren’t very many people doing both … that’s what kept it looking elegant and to the theme,” Hughes said.She called the beauty a hybrid of red carpet and editorial, thanks to creative eye details like Paloma Elsesser’s liner, which makeup artist Fara Homidi fashioned from black crystals, red lips and undone skin.“Skin doesn’t look cakey and thick and full of coverage,” said Hughes. “It’s cooler when the skin is kept fresh. It makes it easier to achieve and makes it weirdly look more expensive.”Quiet luxury, a term I never planned to include in a newsletter, finally ensconced its way into beauty.Dramatic before and afters typically found on Instagram and TikTok get-ready with me (GRWM) videos and dupe swaps all had the night off. Beauty brands and artists didn’t try to go viral, including Chanel Beauty, which didn’t post on Instagram during the event. The sister account, We Love Coco, only shared limited scenes with stars like Gisele Bündchen and Kristen Stewart.In the end though, we got the meme-worthy content we deserved; this was a Met Gala, after all.Shockingly, three humans moonlighted as cats with no visible overlap. Interpretation of Lagerfeld’s beloved kitty, Choupette, remained true to the person wearing it.Doja Cat was the evening’s most high fashion feline in a silver hooded Oscar de la Renta gown with ears and subtle prosthetics and makeup, like a runway cat meets Avatar (the work of talented prosthetic artist Malina Stearns). Jared Leto’s furry cat suit, not a next-day delivery Amazon-ed cat costume but a very realistic version of Choupette, was camp at its finest. Leto’s blue-rimmed eyes (visible once he removed the head to pose for pictures) were an ode to the blue-eyed Choupette. Lil Nas X was basically naked in only silver body paint, a thong and crystals from face to feet.I wondered if Kardashian wished that she too, dressed as a cat.