Best and Worst of the MET Gala

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - 1800 block of 2nd Ave NW


Monday night was THE night in haute couture. For my fashion friends out there you know the importance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s Gala annual benefit event in New York City for the fashion world. This year’s theme - China: Through The Looking Glass - was on maximum display on those daunting, red-carpeted steps. 

Borrowing from a sports metaphor, this is the night when the men are separated from the boys. Perhaps a retail specific comparison is more appropriate. This night is like separating the Jimmy Choo’s from the Candie's. This night my expectations and judgments could not be higher.

A couple of notes to share before I get into it - I am viewing my standout looks with two standards in mind:

  1. Understand the Met Gala Theme - If you are lucky enough to go, you better show up dressed in the theme. Come to play or don’t come at all. Interpretations are welcome but having to explain what your look is and why it works over and over likely means it didn’t translate easily enough.
  2. Understand Style - This does not just mean what is fashionable. Anyone can read a magazine and copy the looks. That’s easy and takes no input or creativity. Style is a higher echelon where only you could wear what you wore and understand your rank in the fashion world. It’s my highest form of creative self-expression. A look may be pretty, but that’s not enough to it count as high style.

 Here I go…

Understood the theme but the style was lacking:

  • Cara Delevingne – While I can appreciate the interpretation of the floral body art the jumpsuit makes this model look wide. Cara is not wide. The fault is in the garment fit and thus you lose style points from me. This look was a miss.
  • Jennifer Lawrence – As a key brand ambassador, you know she’s wearing Dior. This dress was just okay. The idea of the necklace was better in theory (or on the mannequin) than how it actually presented. Too bad. The nail in the style coffin is attributed to her hair style that was dated and seemed to be an afterthought.
  • Lady Gaga – The black number and makeup was closer to a character, Elvira perhaps, than to stylish. It’s a limp and forced attempt at the theme but I am not surprised. To me she has always aligned more to costume than to style in her dressing so no real shocker to report here.
  • Selena Gomez – The white and black is lovely colouring on her. The dress, tassels and floral hairpiece was fantastic from the back but the front of the dress seemed a bit untidy. To me it was… unsupportive. Close, so close, but not an all out winner.
  • To all the ladies who I will deem “Sexy Robots” (Beyonce, Naomi Campbell, Jordan Dunn, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Joan Smalls, Donatella Versace) who wore see-through silk, lace, gemstones and/or feathers: stop. Please stop. It’s boring. It’s not creative. It’s a lazy interpretation of “through the looking glass.” It’s been done so can it be done? DONE. The one exception is Helen Mirran. I love Helen Mirran.

 

Style was up to snuff but not on theme:

  • Zoe Kravitz and Miley Cyrus – Pose together means critique together, right? The dresses were interesting, Zoe’s more so for me, but I am not clear how they reflected the theme. Great looks, but not smart enough for this night.
  • Lenny Kravitz – I am not knowledgeable in Chinese colour meanings (other than red, gold and green were the obvious choices) so I may be wrong on this next takeaway. While that purple suit was fantastic in cut, colour and fit, I don’t see the connection to the night’s theme.
  • Common – This fellow knows how to dress. The pin may tie in the theme but I thought (or maybe wanted) him to push it more. Show me what I know you can deliver, please and thanks.
  • Honorable mentions: Robert Pattinson and FKA Twigs.

 

Did not do the theme justice nor were stylish:

  • Kerry Washington – Two things: 1) Does it fit her bodice tautly or just squish it? 2) Why is this colour on an adult woman? You likely know my thoughts on both of those but it’s up to you to decide. Taking out my claws, the jade details were good. I’ll give her that. But her lack of fit consistency is an issue.
  • Elizabeth Banks – She showed up in a dress that did not make any sense. For this event or any other. I think that disappointment showed in her body language.
  • My worst offenders are Jeremy Scott and his two toys: Katy Perry and Madonna. 1) Katy Perry does not have neither good taste in fashion nor an unique point of view. Therefore, bad style. Nothing new there and usually it’s not a problem for me. But tonight is not the Superbowl. 2) Scott’s other play thing was Madonna. Though she looked fine, I guess, Madonna’s desperation for youth and coolness has never been more apparent. That’s not a good look.

 

Slayyyyyyyyed it

  • Rihanna – That yellow gold cape with ornate stitching and fur against the red carpet was astoundingly luxurious. It was glorious. She knows what she is doing and brought it in a way that only she can. Also bonus points go to her makeup artist who created a look also on theme but not in gimmicky (or culturally insulting) way.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker – That headpiece was spectacularly well balanced by the HM silk black dress with green detail down the one side. Yes, she did. I think of her very fondly at these events because she shows up on theme and with something interesting on. Thank you SJP.
  • Zendaya – I am a fan of hers because she understands nuances of dress codes and then plays to the limits in a unique and expressive way. The metallic crown and black, silver, and red dress was playful, yet still formal enough for the gala. I'm keeping my eyes on her.
  • Anne Hathaway – Welcome back, Anne. Her simple gold sheath was tailored impeccably and the hood made the look for me. She is an example of staying within the theme in a simple, understated manner that still delivers big on style. Another in gold was Kate Hudson. On paper it is very similar to Anne’s but it just doesn’t land for me the same way. All I see is the effort behind it and none of the enjoyment. Plus, I’ve seen it before and seen it on her too many times.
  • Solange – Unlike her sartorial sexually-overt obsessed sister, Solange wants to play with shapes and fit. Her choices are bold and often eccentric. I celebrate this look as this is fashion’s biggest night. I cannot overstate this. It’s supposed to be over the top. Good for her for not only playing, but making it work with a spirit of lightness.
  • Honorable mentions: Justin Bieber, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, Kendal and Kris Jenner, Michael P. Jordan, Sienna Miller.

Are we fashion fighting? Who stood out for you?