It happened. My favorite Fashion event of the year: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala, or the Met Gala if you nasty. This years theme was “China: Through The Looking Glass” and from what I can tell the exhibition is breathtaking. Chock full of Chinese juxtaposition and influence ranging from tapestries to tassel dresses all the way to pottery and weapons, I cannot wait to devour it.
As mentioned in The New York Narrative’s SUPERHEROES AND FASHION: THE AVENGERS, this is a massive event— which quite frankly is an understatement, just ask anyone stuck in Monday evenings traffic in our fair city. It’s considered the Fashion Oscars so if you’re in attendance you better show up in something incredible.
I have a sneaking suspicion this has to do with the slightly tricky theme and not wanting to be culturally offensive, a lot of folks missed the mark. A culmination of snooze and too sexed up Chinese culture dresses was seen among some of the more gorgeous Couture looks we’ve gotten in a while.
With so many looks I’m breaking my Met Gala posts into two. Check out “those who actually understood the event” and “why did you even bother?” here and keep you’re eyes peeled for “great dress, wrong event” and a Menswear roundup coming at you very soon.
So take a look, sound off, and enjoy!
Actually understood the theme…
Sarah Jessica Parker, Custom H&M and Philip Treacy headdress
SJP rocked a unique one shoulder and sleeved Black H&M gown she designed in collaboration with the brand featuring Cindy Chao brooches and unique Chinese influenced adorned piecing running down the gown. Oh, and an insanely gorgeous Philip Treacy headdress reflecting fire and Chinese symbolism. SJP just became my favorite Emoji. A gentle ombre wave, jade bangles, and signature too much eye make-up rounded out her crazy-good look.
This is how you respect not only a culture, but also a themed event. Everyone should have just gone home after she stepped onto the carpet.
Rihanna, Guo Pei
Rihanna, whatever you may think of her, too nailed her Met Gala look sporting a gorgeous imperial influenced Guo Pei canary Yellow gown with the longest train and most detail I have ever seen on any piece of Couture.
It took the designer two years to create this intricate embroidered gown and Rihanna found it by simply googling “Chinese Couture,” kind of amazing. Ri Ri just took a themed event to a whole new level. I have to say, I was honestly blown away by this and not just because of the fun Pizza meme’s it created.
Lizzy Caplan, Lizzy Caplan, Lizzy Caplan…THANK YOU.
Ms.Caplan might have actually been the best dressed at this event. Looking not only like a gorgeous old time movie star, she also understood the theme and took a modern and classy approach to the event. Her champagne custom Donna Karen had just the right elements of Chinese influence— embroidery, beading, plumage, tassel earrings— without looking like a costume.
Besides understand the right approach to a culturally sensitive event, she plain and simple looked like a knock out. The draping and cut of that dress is what Fashion dreams are made of.
Selena Gomez, Vera Wang
On the arm of Chinese-America designer Vera Wang, Selena Gomez looked very elegant and age appropriate in a White mermaid dress with well placed cut out and Black tassel straps. The gown is rather gorgeous and obviously insanely well executed, but I expected more from Ms.Wang seeing as the event is so close to her heart. Maybe she wasn’t thrilled about it so some tassels was all she wanted to contribute…
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Atelier Versace
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley continues to just look like a gazillion dollars rocking an Atelier Versace blush colored gown with thigh high slit and well placed sheer panels. While this is bordering on a too sexed up take on Chinese culture, it’s a really gorgeous dress. The high neck is reflective of a Ming collar in some way making it a modern approach to the event.
Chloë Sevigny, custom J.W. Anderson
More literal, once Fashion It-Girl Chloë Sevigny donned a custom J.W. Anderson off the shoulder sweetheart dress with front slit and lots of Chinese embroidery. This is a lot of look, but I don’t hate the dress— just wishing someone else got to wear this fun piece. Ms.Sevigny looks bored and like she’d rather be vintage shopping in Brooklyn.
Georgia May Jagger and Alessandro Michele, Gucci
Taking a cue from Ms.Sevigny, Georgia May Jagger and Alessandro Michele sported Chinese influenced pieced by Gucci in a silk wrap dress and cool embroidered blazer. Of the two, I am enjoying Ms.Michele’s look much more as it’s subtle but fitting. Ms.Jagger while event appropriate is looking a bit of a cliche.
The current face of Givenchy perfume, Amanda Seyfried looked incredible in her intricate White Givenchy high collar neck dress with lots, and lots of ruffles and details cascading down the front. There’s something oddly fitting about this whole gown and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe I am just blinded by how insanely gorgeous it is, but, I think Ms.Seyfried was right on the money. Her perfectly vampy make-up doesn’t hurt either.
Alexa Chung, Erdem
Alexa Chung’s Chinese tapestry-esque Erdem strapless tea-length dress was very fitting with the British stars Fashion MO. Not sold on the shoes as they feel a bit out of place, but other than that I am digging this look.
I guess H&M was the place to go to get a rockin’ Met Gala gown— think the one on 42nd St. has this in a six?
The wildly talented and fashionable Janelle Monáe wore Black and White separates featuring a Ming Collar with Frog clasp detail at neck, inverted dual color cape, and a super cool take on a Chinese warrior headdress hairstyle. As much as I am over the sliver of tummy on the Red Carpet, Ms.Monáe’s toned midsection breaks the look up and allows you to get the full effect. One of the coolest, if not the coolest, of the night.
Carina Lau, Schiaparelli
Schiaparelli is not easy to wear, and Chinese actress Carina Lau is pulling off the “I know how hard this is to wear and I look chic as hell” thing to a T. The neckline of her elegant Black and White gown is a modern take on the classic Cheongsam without trying to hard to being transparent. I am also loving the signature glove sleeve, it’s so iconic it hurts.
Grace Coddington and VOGUE Staff in Chinese PJ’s
While some may find that wearing Chinese PJ’s to such an event is bordering on either A. being inappropriate and culturally insensitive or B. too dressed down, you’re wrong on both accounts. Fashion editor at large and overall amazing person Grace Coddington and some of the lucky VOGUE staff did quirky rather than Couture and look pretty cool if you ask me.
Emily Blunt, Prada
This for sure isn’t one of my favorite Emily Blunt looks, but it fits the theme and is respectful in the process. The Mauve-y Blue color combo is a tad matronly but she in some way is kind of channeling a Hitchcock Blonde screen siren. Can they just cast her as Captain Marvel already though, geesh.
Emily Ratajkowski, custom Topshop
I was shocked to see the girl from the “Blurred Lines” music video with the huge knockers, AKA Emily Ratajkowski, in something so chic and appropriate. She looks gorgeous and I hope keeps this style trend up over cut out Pucci dresses showing everything she’s got.
Amal Clooney, John Galliano for Maison Margiela and George Clooney, Giorgio Armani
As if Amal Clooney hadn’t already positioned herself into the world of Fashion’s elite, well, she just did in a gorgeous scarlet John Galliano for Maison Margiela confection. The pieced together bodice (is it metal? Is it large pieces of sequin?) was very Chinese high-Fashion warrior and that skirt is reminiscent of Mr.Galliano’s Dior days pre-racism which make’s my Fashion heart swoon. It’s so intricate and lovely, Mrs.Clooney gets a win from me.
Oh, and then there’s her smokeshow fox of a husband George who will forever look amazing. Not much else to say there.
Lady Gaga, Balenciaga
Much like SJP, when Lady Gaga RSVP’s to an event so grand she RSVP’s.
Showing up in a custom plumed and crosshatched Balenciaga statement piece, her wrap robe feels very Song Dynasty take on the theme. A sequin bodysuit and massive platforms with a spikey headpiece rounded out her look.
While over-the-top, I do love this look (because she made an entrance) minus how much cleavage she is showing. I’m actually surprised she didn’t incorporate a Chinese influenced neckline into this as she is very respectful and knowledgeable of culture.
Kate Mara, Diane von Furstenberg
Understood the event? Check. Paid homage to Chinese culture in the design of her dress? Check. End result boring but appropriate? Check.
Colin Firth’s fashionable wife Lilvia took an elegant and understand approach to the theme of the evening in a Red (which means good fortune and joy in Chinese culture) high neck gown and tasseled wrap. I cannot get behind that hair though, it’s a little too “Drop Dead Gorgeous” for me.
Maggie Q, custom Tory Burch
Maggie Q could show up in a garbage bag and look incredible. The Hawaiian actress’ custom White Tory Burch separates are modern take on the classic Men’s Hanfu in an unexpected way. Other than paying homage, it’s a minimal and clean look. Slicked hair and great make-up elevate her overall appearance.
Gong Li, Roberto Cavalli by Peter Dundas
Chinese actress Gong Li chose a stunning Roberto Cavalli by Peter Dundas Maroon dress with lace ming collar inspired neckline and subtle tassel earrings. As gorgeous as she looks, she just must have been boiling. It was gorgeous on the evening of the event and she was in velvet…heat box.
Much like Ms.Firth, Dame Helen Mirren is giving us good fortune and joy in her red laser cut long sleeve gown and intricate earrings.
Ziyi Zhang, Carolina Herrera
Much like Carina Lau, Ziyi Zhang’s White Carolina Herrera ballgown is a modern and respectful take on the classic Cheongsam featuring a full skirt and ruby-hued embroidered flowers thoughtfully placed. Ms.Zhang looks like the definition of regal. The clutch throws me, but I am choosing to look the other way.
Kristen Wiig, Prabal Gurung
May not seem like it, but Kristen Wiig’s Prabal Gurung dress is the “Emperor’s Yellow” so it’s very fitting with the theme of the evening. And she looks really gorgeous, so, win win. She’s always perfectly tanned…what beach does she have access to we don’t?
Why Did you even bother?
Sofia Vergara, Marchesa
Is it me or is Sofia Vergara the most stubborn celebrity in Hollywood when it comes to her look? Cascading curls, boobs up and out, Princess gown silhouette…how many more times is she going to do this to us? Beyond basic…
Emma Roberts, custom Ralph Lauren
Besides the fact that Emma Roberts showed up in the most boring Green Ralph Lauren silk gown— only theme she has going was an embroidered Chinese dragon clutch, snooze— she also snapped a picture on Instagram originally donning Chopsticks in her hair…because that isn’t offensive or anything…
Jenna Lyons, J.Crew
Katy Perry, Moschino
While I fully understand and applaud Katy Perry for always wanting to play with Fashion, this is absurd. Her Jeremy Scott for Moschino gown is the epitome of heinous as are both wigs she sported that evening. Remember when she was fun and wore LED light up dresses to the Met Gala instead of a Drag Queen’s hand me downs?
Kris Jenner, Balmain
Kris Jenner looks like a drunk 80’s Genie in that ridiculous Balmain high neck overly pleated strong shoulder weirdly draped “gown.” I fully enjoy Kris and her absurd shenanigans on that show, but this is a major Fashion event and she chose this as her look. Every Designer at her disposal, and this was the choice. Do you think her ears ripped off by the end of the night with those comical danglers?
Kerry Washington was always be on my Best Dressed list. Her “Django Unchained” promo tour a few years ago was the epitome of class and chic but since then Ms.Washington has slipped many a time. Case in point: what is this? Besides being an unfortunate shade of Pink (paired with an unfortunate shade of Green), this taffeta confection has bows, a massive skirt, an open back, a rise and fall hem, embroidery, and so many pleats and gathers I think the whole Von Trapp family is hiding under there. Kerry, please come back to us…
Unfortunately, Lilly Collins must have received an invitation for a completely different event because she showed up dressed like a fancy secretary. Somehow, this is Chanel. I’m not sure how or why, but it is and it’s a train-wreck from that unessicary hairnet to the overly done skirt. Chanel did a whole Shanghai collection, they couldn’t have made a custom piece like that for Ms.Collins to fit the theme? How did she land Captain America?
Rachel Weisz, Chanel
Rachel Weisz, I thought we talked about this: you’re a glam-ass Oscar winning actress, not a boring old lady. I am actually so bored I can’t even finish writing this…
Carey Mulligan, custom Balenciaga
Vampy make-up and great hair aside, I am very disapointed that Carey Mulligan hit the snooze button on the most important night of the year in Fashion. Especially when she’s capable of rocking something this cool and modern at this particular event…I still think she’s pregnant and it’s messing with her mind…
Olivia Wilde, Prada
Oh look! Olivia Wilde dressed up as a saucy fortune teller who rolled around in a bunch of scarab beetles!
Lorde, Calvin Klein
Lorde either has to go the bathroom very badly or she just realized that she’s at the Fashion event of the year in a “Creature from The Black Lagoon” dress.
Chloë Grace Moretz, Coach
Is the clutch that says “Chloë” in case she forgets her name…? Couldn’t be a more uninspiring look if it tried.
Katie Holmes has worn Zac Posen very, very well before but not tonight. Showing up in an oddly shaped cut out high neck Navy gown with scribble flower at the hem, Ms.Holmes also sported an Asian influenced wig and barely there make-up. Is it me or is that wig culturally offensive? Also that gown is kind of looking like a Chanel knockoff, Zac.
Linda Evangelista, Moschino
Not quite sure what Linda Evangelista is wearing but I’m pretty positive she thinks she’s Dovima with the elephant.
Karen Elson, Dolce & Gabbana
Karen Elson is a great model, don’t get me wrong, but what is happening here? The theme was not Medieval Quinceañera.
FKA Twigs, Christopher Kane
I’m not sure what’s going on in FKA Twigs* Christopher Kane gauzy gown, but all I see are body parts which makes me think she is basically having an orgy all over the Red Carpet.
Miley Cyrus and Zoë Kravitz, both in Alexander Wang
FKA Twigs’ orgy theme must have spilled over because Miley Cyrus and Zoë Kravitz look like futuristic escorts. They also look really, really dirty like they haven’t showered in a while. We get it girls, you have great bodies.
Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz, both in Valentino
Lisa Bonet looks like an insane old lady who churns butter on her porch. Lenny Kravitz still, and will forever, looks like a smokeshow.