Earlier this week, the annual Met Gala was held in New York. What used to be a strictly upper crust of society-attended event, has blown into a full regaling of you guessed it, all things Celebrity. Ms. Anna Wintour herself has cast aside her former “no Kardashian” rule and not only put them in her pages, and on her cover, but invited all the Kardashians AND all their friends to her party. To her credit, she has taken a little publicized event and made it into a huge draw for media.
I’ve been reviewing Red Carpet fashion for several years now, and this last awards season seemed to have burnt me out a bit, for lack of a better term. The backlash from women on the carpet, as well as those who work there, was palpable. Just as the fever pitch is rising to capture every moment instantaneously and meme it faster than anyone else, it seems there is a distaste for the frivolity of the red carpet, my own included. Don’t get me wrong, I will never tire of the fashion. Gowns, designers, jewelry, are all delightful candies of joy to me. The incessant gibberish entertainers are made to endure, and the coverage of said gibberish, however, is getting old.
This is why I applaud Ms. Wintour for knowing when to bend those rules (Justin Bieber? Really?) and when to tighten her reigns, if you will. No live coverage was televised from the event, no E! correspondent with a mani cam. There was a “social media ban” inside the event, and those interested in more information that what was shown on the Met’s Instagram feed during the event would have to scour the web for sweet but interesting one minute interviews by Vogue’s own Editor at Large, Andre Leon Talley. The lack of coverage, (as the guest list grew) harkens back to a sweeter time, where Hollywood Studios controlled what we saw and thought of our celebrities. Sexism, nepotism, racism and all the bad -isms of those times aside, in recent years I do feel that the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. In other words, a little mystery goes a long way.
So how did the stars stack up? I’ve added a slide show here of my best and worst of the night, but will sum it up for you this way. The event was held in honor of the newest Costume Institute exhibit, China: Through the Looking Glass. China as a theme in fashion was easy enough for designers to embrace. Embroidery, check! The folks at Vogue actually pair the designers with their celebrity muses, quite thoughtfully. Well, in the case of JLo and JLaw, they’re contractually obligated to wear Versace and Dior, respectively. But for the most part the pairings made sense — Moschino for Katy, Calvin Klein for Kendal Jenner, etc. I can put the gowns of the night in three categories:
Celebs who need to stop wearing the same damn thing to every red carpet: Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, and Jlo in the naked dress. Ass windows and strategically artisanal bedazzling does not a gown make. I’m so tired of this look. JLaw, you’ve got to get a clause that says you can wear something other than Dior. Please. Reese, enough with the strapless plain gowns, Uma, you’ve done goddess forever. Sofia Vergara you CAN wear another silhouette, I promise. Side note, Madonna and Cher both looked….tasteful! Miley, you wore that last year. Kris Jenner, this was an odd time in your life to dress like Adam Lambert. Just sayin.
Celebs who take risks that become omelette memes within minutes: I LOVE Rihanna’s fashion sense. I love the couture cape, I loved HER version of a naked dress I just love her. She plays with fashion like she plays with music. Brava. Sarah Jessica Parker “collaborated with H&M” on her silk embroidered gown, wore shoes from her own collection, and a head-piece from Philip Treacy. It. Was. Divine. It was also not meant to be street wear, and not meant to look “pretty”. That, my friends, was art. If you don’t get it, look away. Go yawn over Reese Witherspoon’s red strapless minimalist dress that could have been J Crew. One undersung fashion risk taker is Zendaya. I loved her crazy gown, she’s a Ri-Ri in the making. Go forth, young woman, blaze trails. Solange wore a piece of sculpted fabric, Anne Hathaway had a gold hoodie a la Grace Slick. Lady Gaga looked tame in this crowd!
Celebs who got it wrong: Chloe Sevigny, Sienna Miller, FKA Twigs, Kerry Washington, and the Leader of the Pack, Anna Wintour! Perhaps these looks didn’t go far enough?
I had the privilege of attending the exhibit the morning after the gala, and found it to be an incredible celebration of all things Chinese. Unlike some of the previous Costume Institute exhibits, this was hardly only about fashion. The exhibit took place in the Costume Institute galleries as well as many of the Asian Arts galleries. It was nearly impossible to tell if you’d seen everything. I’m still not confident I did. Room after room held beautiful gowns, each differently lit, some encased in glass, some set up as in a movie scene, multiple screens of which dotted the galleries.. There was jewelry, silk, embroidery, furniture, all among the existing artifacts the museum typically displays.
As I wandered in and out and back and forth through the galleries, feeling a little bit lost and a little bit enchanted, I found myself wondering what Rihanna did with her cape has she took the stage to sing “Bitch Better Have Money”, and where did JLaw ditch her Dior for her slinky after party gown? Did any of the guests actually walk Through the Looking Glass that evening? Well, I did, and I am mad for this show.