With the announcement of the Anna Wintour Costume Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art and the housing of the work by Charles James, dubbed America’s first couturier, the expectations were set high for the attendees of this year’s ball.
James was known for his extravagant ball gowns which were extraordinarily structured and sculptural. His dresses were considered works of art and his ideas never ending, often reworking the lines of the previous seasons gown and reinterpreting them, ignoring the rule of creating new looks for each season.
James’s work has heavily influenced the likes of modern designers such as Lacroix, Versace and Zac Posen whose red carpet gowns have intricate structures and architectural shapes.
This year, there were some definite hits and some which were very aghast at this year’s Costume Institute Gala Benefit. The white-tie dress code was asking for trouble when it came to the red carpet. Cue the white opera gloves, top hat and tails.
Our favourite would be Karolína Kurková in Marchesa. The ink blue dress with its tiered curved hem was a vision and the petal detailing was true couture at its best.
Tied for first with Kurková was fellow model Suki Waterhouse in tiered Burberry. The dusky pink pleated tulle confection was a dream come true: an old school ball gown at its best, with flowing train included.
Blake Lively in draped and caped Gucci looked ever the glamorous movie star with dashing husband Ryan Reynolds on hand in a custom Gucci navy tuxedo.
Naomi Watts in Givenchy: enough said, simply beautiful.
A stickler for the rules, Sarah Jessica Parker, whom we normally love (her mohawk headpiece for the punk red carpet last year), pulled out all the stops in her black-and-white Oscar de la Renta gown with window pane detailing on bustle skirt. White gloves included. Profiterole hairdo as well. The dress was beautiful, but why sign a gown with your name, Oscar?
Lupita Nyong’o in beaded Prada with brown slip—and then the headband. This would have been perfect for the Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations ball; instead it looked like Josephine Baker had misplaced her bananas and used the leaves to cover herself.
Erykah Badu: what is up with the bedazzled Pharrell hat? We loved her interpretation of the men’s white tie dress code, but the hat is something only Pharrell can pull off.
Maggie Gyllenhall: let’s play Twister in my Valentino. Had this been in any of the other colour combinations as seen on their fall 2014 runway I could understand—why go for the moss green and beige?
The downright weird and ugly
Solange Knowles: puffed sobret peach satin does not look good on anyone and should not be worn after 1980s weddings.
Kristen Stewart: a Chanel glorified metallic jumper with sheer bedazzled skirt, and a face that could sink a thousand ships.
Katie Holmes in Marchesa: someone has clearly been reading too much Beauty and the Beast to Suri or has asked Suri to create her gown from mustard crêpe paper. It was too scrunched, too sack-like and too dirty for my liking. Where does one even begin to find mustard crêpe paper?
Zoe Saldana in Michael Kors: the weird halter neck with the puffball hems looked like exploding mushrooms or hæmorrhoids.
Most improved but not by much
Kim Kardashian: while not overly impressed with her look it was certainly an improvement on last year’s Nana’s couch meme. Swathed in ink blue Lanvin, the dress contained too much fabric and her heaving breasts looked like they were escaping for air—must try harder!—Sopheak Seng, Fashion and Beauty Editor
Opening of Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Michelle Obama
Met Gala red carpet
Celebrity interviews and fashion summary
Kimye at the Met Gala