RIGHT: Amber Valletta. RIGHT
COLUMN: Charlize Theron. Edgar and Clarissa Bronfman. Anna Wintour.
Zac Posen. Jennifer Lopez with Stephano Gabbana and Domenico
Dolce. Rénée Zellweger. INSET,
BELOW: Eva Mendes.
EVEN an unfashionable downpour that had started earlier in
the day could stop the fashion world’s style mavens, Hollywood’s
brightest stars and New York High Society’s movers and shakers from
attending the April 26 Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume
Institute Benefit Gala to celebrate the opening of the Institute’s
latest exhibit, Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture
in the 18th Century. Hosted by Academy Award-winning actress
Rénée Zellweger (in a gold back-bustled Carolina
Herrera gown), Vogue’s supreme stylemeister Anna Wintour
(sparkling in Christian Dior) and Asprey’s co-chairmen, Lawrence
Stroll, Silas Chou and Edgar Bronfman, Jr, guests
paid $3,500 per ticket to what is seen as the party of the year.
Guests were greeted by a museum façade
brightly lit in purple (signifying the signature colour of sponsor
Asprey) and were ushered into the museum’s Great Hall, where the
pre-dinner cocktail hour was held. Robert Isabell, New York high
society’s favourite party planner, was in charge of putting together
the evening’s décor, and he did a fine job in adding to the
glamour factor of the event. The evening belonged to Asprey, reflected
in the purple and white floral arrangements (and linens) on the
tables, as well as the use of its own botanical porcelain china
and the Murano crystal collections used for each place setting.
The night was all about who’s wearing what, who
came with whom and who were the night’s biggest fashion victims.
Charlize Theron was one of the night’s winners in a beautiful
black Christian Dior Couture gown and some seriously expensive jewellery.
Revlon spokeswoman Eva Mendes wore Zac Posen, who
incidentally was the night’s biggest fashion victim. Mr Posen’s
costume (the right word for what he was wearing) consisted of white
pants, silk shirt, vest and red cummerbund scarf, which made him
very much look like a rejected extra from Johnny Depp’s hit movie,
Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl. But
I don’t think he cares much about what people think of him outside
of the runway arena, where is finally living up to the potential
he showed so early in his young career.
Cattrall was enchanting in come-thither Donna Karan.
Lucy Liu was deliciously sexy in Emanuel Ungaro. Famke
Janssen (Goldeneye, X2) sparkled in Louis Vuitton. Grammy
award-winning rocker Sheryl Crow was almost unrecognizable
in understated Ralph Lauren. With her hair all pulled back and her
looking so pulled in, it was as if she was a Stepford wife. Beautiful
but a bit creepy. (Her new relationship with Tour de France champion
cyclist Lance Armstrong must be going well, because she exuded confidence
and happiness). Anne Heche (in Valentino), newly minted Broadway
star (in Twentieth Century) temporarily reverted back to
her lost-in-insanity moment with a scary fright wig that left almost
everyone speechless. Hamish Bowles, Vogue’s European
editor-at-large, loved her ‘out-to-lunch Gainsborough hair’ and
thought that the combination of her outfit and the hair ‘qualifies
her as dangerous.’ There are not too many people who would disagree.
Newlywed Jennifer Lopez, of course, takes
the cake in her ongoing war with the press and her adoring fans.
With beau and new husband, Marc Anthony, sneaking in (and
dashing by the photographers as if he was late for a meeting with
his dealer) 30 minutes before her arrival with Stephano Gabbana
and Domenico Dolce (of Dolce & Gabbana), Ms Lopez was
just about as accommodating as she could be—which was very little.
Don’t believe the hype about her plans to change her demanding ways:
she’s still one of the biggest divas out there.
From the fashion world, there were more hits than
misses. Carolyn Murphy (in Gucci), Sophie Dahl (in
Alberta Ferretti), Amber Valletta (in Maggie Norris Couture and John Galliano), Linda
Evangelista (in Jean-Paul Gaultier), Stella Tennant (in
Burberry) and Natalia Vodianova (in Calvin Klein) all represented
themselves and the industry quite well in their choice of dresses.
Ms Valletta, an aspiring actress, was singled out for both praise
(‘I think it was brave of her to do the hair, the corset, and the
skirt! There’s an excessive amount of information in that skirt.
But I love that she did an eighteenth-century hair don’t,’ wrote
Hamish Bowles in New York) and criticism (‘She looks alike
an exaggerated barrister!’ in the words Ann Roth, Hollywood costume
designer, New York).