Best Of The Met Gala 2017

And tonight, once again, we witness Kardashian & Kompany turn out of for fashion’s most garish, most opulent night- Anna Wintour’s annual Met Gala.

Of course, we always hope to see more than just Kendall and Kylie competing for highest slit in a sequined gown, but in recent years that’s sort of what’s happened to this event.  The themes continue to remain quite highfalutin, but the guests and what they choose to wear and try to accomplish have seemed to wane in sophistication as of late.  The Met Gala used to appeal to me as the very height of fashion on parade, the epitome of bougie-ness and unattainable class.  Now it’s got more of a who’s-who-of-Snapchat flavor.  But that’s what makes a celebrity these days I guess, and the times have undeniably changed.

The theme of this year’s Met exhibit is “Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”.  To make it clear, the exhibit is honoring revolutionary female Japanese designer and founder of Commes des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo.  Her designs are known for being high concept, visually stunning, architecturally forward, and typically weird.  And I mean really weird.  Her craft is the definition of avant-garde.  Kawakubo’s work has never seemed to be about making a flattering dress or celebrating the woman’s body as it is with some designers.  It has seemed her work is more about her.  “Pretty” isn’t what she goes for. Or at least, your definition of pretty.  Give her a rule, and she’ll break it.  The woman does what she wants, and so she has forged for herself a formidable career.  To read more about her exhibit and see more of her work (and trust me- you want to), check out this Harper’s Bazaar article.

So what can we expect with tonight’s looks?  Well, based on the theme, we can expect weird.  And that’s good!  Although, I wouldn’t have pulled a Solange Knowles and shown up in a puffer coat.  But we’ll get to see what many celebrities define as “weird” or at least a little off the wall.   A ball honoring Rei Kawakubo demands something far beyond the boundaries of a column gown.  As always, my same rules apply when choosing favorites: dress/outfit, hair, makeup, and accessories must all work beautifully in tandem.

Most This-Is-What-I-Would-Do – Rose Byrne in Ralph Lauren 

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I talk a big talk when it comes to the Met Ball, but I know I probably wouldn’t be brave enough to actually wear one of Rei Kawakubo’s designs.  Because they’re Charlie Sheen levels of crazy.  However, this I can do.  I like the wild hairdo.  I love the architectural neckline of this dress in this bright shade of true red.  I like the artsy jewelry.  And the makeup is beautiful.  This, I can do.

Most Not-On-Theme-But-Still-Fabulous – Jennifer Lopez in Valentinojennifer-lopez-met-gala-2017-ftr-1

Paging Betty Draper!  Or Meghan Draper.  Or Joan!  Or all of them at once!  Anything that makes me think of Mad Men is more than fine with me.  The powder shade of blue, the chiffon, the cape, the high neckline, the incredible jewelry, and obviously the hair and makeup made this a stunner look straight out of the sixties.  And thank you, J.Lo, for abstaining from a naked dress!

Best Model That Didn’t Try To Just Look Like A Model – Lily Aldridge in Ralph Lauren Custom Collection

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Even though none of my favorites have worn Commes des Garçons (yet…), I still appreciate models like Lily for taking a risk and clearly pushing boundaries with the intent of paying homage to the design house’s outlandish creations.  It’s interesting to see a lot of Ralph Lauren at this event; that’s a designer I would’ve guessed as too safe for the Met Gala.  But the accessories and styling of this white gown have kept it from just looking like another skin-baring dress on a model.  I love Lily’s crazy red boots (Balenciaga) and her fuchsia blush netting that she’s wearing across her face.  Her makeup is also spectacular.  I saw a lot of incredible makeup this evening regardless of what folks were wearing, with this being a particular favorite …

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Now that is eyeshadow fit for the gods.  Alright, now for my last pick …

Best Fantasy Moment – Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana

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This woman is such a chameleon.  She wears anything she wants, and she does anything with her hair that she wants.  It’s so evident that she loves fashion, and I love watching that.  Her hair and makeup are gorgeous, and I already such a huge affinity for parrots- this is the dress of my dreams.

Most Perfectly-On-Theme-And-Still-Fabulous – Rihanna in Commes des Garçons

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Ok, finally we have someone that interprets this year’s theme literally and wears Commes des Garçons!  And of course it’s Rihanna.  I love that she’s always such a team player when it comes to the Met Ball themes.  Remember when she wore this insanity for China: Through The Looking Glass?!  That gown was the creation of a legendary Chinese designer and there was no better opportunity to wear it.  That’s what you’re supposed to do at the Met Ball.  So yes, this dress … or outfit, whatever we’re calling it … is perfect for a Met Gala dedicated to Kawakubo.  It’s one of her own creations, it’s a breathtaking-if-not-baffling work of art, it’s weird, and it’s Rihanna, who doesn’t seem to mind weird.  And be sure to search close-up shots of her makeup.  It’s incredible.  Perfect.

There’s lots to still sort through from tonight’s extravaganza, but other honorable mentions go to: Dakota Johnson in some excellent Gucci, Kate Bosworth in Tory Burch that looked dangerously similar to Dakota Johnson’s Gucci, Jennifer Connelly in Louis Vuitton (because DUH I’m obsessed with her), Elle Fanning in some very Cinderella Miu Miu, Doutzen Kroes looking natural and relaxed in Brock Collection, Ruth Negga in a very avant-garde cape thingy, and Lupita Nyong’O in a gorgeous shade of orange.

Let me know what you think, if things got weird enough for you, or if they just couldn’t get weird enough.  Anything goes at this party.  But you know who didn’t go to this party?  Taylor Swift.  xo, MR

Photo credits in order of appearance: Instagram, Rex/Shutterstock, Rex/Shutterstock, Instagram, Getty, Getty/John Shearer

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Best Of The Met Gala 2016

And once again, Anna Wintour has thrown me an early birthday party and forgotten to invite me.  It’s really just getting obnoxious at this point.  I guess I’ll have to return her hostess gift- a bottle of two-buck Chuck and a Target candle.  Your loss, Anna.

And in case you, dear reader, need a brief review on what exactly the Met Gala is, here is the quickest definition I can give you- the Met Gala is an annual fundraising gala hosted by Anna Wintour (editor in chief of Vogue, in case that was needed) for my birthday the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City.  It celebrates the opening of that year’s Costume Institute exhibit too, which remains open for a couple months, but the main purpose of the Gala is to fund that exhibit.  So, yes, what this whole thing boils down to at the most fundamental level is, more or less, a fundraiser.

But of course, we all know that’s not really what it is in its essence.  The Met Gala is not just a fundraiser.  I don’t think any of us can picture Beyonce showing up to a country club for a dinner of chicken, rice pilaf, and veggie medley, and then merrily writing a check for $100 after a PowerPoint presentation and a bit of pinot noir in a disposable wine glass. No, to call the Met Gala a fundraiser really does not do it justice, even if that’s what it is by definition.  With the highly exclusive invite list overseen by Anna herself, the press coverage second to none, and the accompaniment of some highfalutin theme each year, the Met Gala is sort of what the fashion world recognizes as THEE event.  If you’ve been invited to the Met Gala, that’s one of the most influential authorities in fashion telling you you’ve made it and you’re welcome to now use emojis when texting her.  Or something like that.

Of course, I have become rather cynical toward Vogue over the years as I believe it’s started to warp into a mere celebrity platform with a bit of tabloid flavor.  A bit of that came out in tonight’s red carpet, as well.  Vogue now seems more about staying pop culturally relevant as opposed to remaining the revered fashion authority it has been; more about pimping the names of models with six million or more Instagram followers than celebrating the creativity and innovation of designers and artists around the world.  First came the Kim and Kanye cover of April 2014, then the single special edition devoted entirely to Kendall Jenner, and most recently, a perfectly timed May 2016 Taylor Swift cover that has gone hand in hand with her new “edgy” makeover.  It’s all just in time for the Gala as Swift co-chaired this year, yet I can’t help but feel that the Wintour influence has been unbearably obvious and heavy-handed in her case.  I’m never a fan of a makeover feeling manufactured or manipulated for press or publicity, and I have to say that Taylor Swift’s choice of outfit this year was … well … let’s just say that it looked like a stylist from Charlotte Russe got hold of her as opposed to Nicolas Ghesquiere himself.  I was, admittedly, very disappointed.  I find my feelings toward the Met Gala overall sort of turning in the same direction as my feelings for Vogue- it’s starting to be difficult to take seriously.  However, I don’t want to stop enjoying things I love such as fashion, so I’ll attempt to overlook the Hunger Games Capitol flavor its taken on and just take it for what it is- a fashion show.

So anyhow, the theme of this year’s ball was “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology”.  Your eyes may have rolled into the back of your head after reading that, but I have to say that very few attendees of this year’s event seemed to stick with the theme or even try to dress to the theme because, after all, how exactly can you dress for a “tech” theme?  Dress like an iPhone?  Accessorize with a fax machine to be ironic?  You could wear a light-up dress as one celebrity did, but even that’s already been done by Katy Perry at a previous year’s Gala.  What we did see were a TON of metallics, a massive trend toward dark and vampy lips, a whole lotta model chicks in Balmain (which I’m super over btw), and just a whole lotta WEIRD in general.  It was perhaps the strangest red carpet I’ve seen in a while.

So here are the looks that I enjoyed the most when considering every element including hair, makeup, and accessories.

Zoe Saldana in Dolce & Gabbana

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Ah yes, there’s my girl Zoe bringing it once again in an insane dress that looks like she’s carrying a jungle with her, complete with birds and palm trees and flowers.  But really, I love this.  This is the kind of statement that I’m looking for.  And I cannot wait for an up-close shot of the skirt so I can see it in full detail.  How it goes with the tech theme I do not know, but like I said earlier, the theme got kind of thrown out this window this year from what I can tell.  With minimal makeup and low-maintenance, Zoe’s look was a win for me.

Kate Bosworth in Dolce & Gabbana

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This was the first dress that I really squealed over.  I love just how much detail is in involved in this gown.  How do you even begin to envision something like this?!  That bodice is exquisite!  And I love the jeweled “floral” headpiece.  It’s a modern rendering of an ancient Etruscan goddess, complete with glowing, angelic skin.  And can someone PLEASE find of what lip color that is?!  I’ll be scrolling through Insta all night trying to find out.

Lupita Nyong’o on Calvin Klein Collection

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Might it be the most ambitious hairdo we’ve ever seen on a red carpet?  Perhaps.  But Lupita has taken an avant-garde turn in fashion that sort of allows her to try whatever and pull it off, even if it’s basically haute couture Cindy Lou-Hoo.  And please take a look at this gown.  It is mesmerizing.  Such a lovely, refreshing color with texture that makes her some kind of beautiful cross between a mermaid and the Empire State building!

Jennifer Connelly in Louis Vuitton

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I chose this look because A) it’s representative of the very casual vibe that many folks went for on this year’s Met Gala red carpet but B) this particular casual look seemed to work out better than others.  And C) because it’s Jennifer Connelly and I’m obsessed with her and I all-too-frequently give her a free pass.  This was one of many, many Louis Vuitton outfits seen tonight too, but I much preferred this look as opposed to say, Selena Gomez’s.  Jennifer’s look feels edgy and elegant until you get to the boots (which are freakin’ tight if you ask me), whereas Selena’s just felt much, much too casual from top to bottom.

Beyonce in Givenchy

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Bey’s eyes are only half open.  I’m thinking she’s just a little tired from waterboarding everyone with lemonade these days, and the fact that she’s currently on tour.  Yeah, she has a show in Raleigh, North Carolina in less than 24 hours.  Bey better take a nap or she’s gonna fall asleep on stage!  But her latex Givenchy dress is pretty rad, I must say.  I like a weird texture on a dress, and I miss all the exaggerated shoulders from five years ago.  I also really love Beyonce’s hair when it’s straight with a center part for some reason.  It is just so pretty.  And I never met a smokey eye I didn’t like, or black manicure I didn’t like.

Emma Stone in Prada

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Is this woman starting to look more and more like Margot Robbie by the minute?  They’re morphing into one person and it’s scaring me.  But I digress.  I liked the overall effect of this, especially with Emma’s new, rich hair color.  I’m not sure why I like it so much; it has the feel of a Roman gladiator which, again, is nowhere near the tech vibe that we were supposed to be going for, but oh well.  It flatters Emma beautifully and I cannot wait for makeup closeups.  Rachel Goodwin is forever and always a makeup genius.

Brie Larson in Proenza Schouler

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I love any dress that looks like it may have taken a billion hours to make, and this is no exception.  I would choose to wear something like this if I were attending the Met Gala, though I’d typically prefer something floor length because when do we normal humans ever get to wear anything floor length besides pants?!  I like that this dress is very feminine and sweet in its silhouette, but the severe hair and makeup keep the look from going in a direction too cloying.  Just the right amount of girly-girl married with futurism.

And there you have it.  I almost wish I had done a “roast post” on all of the other absolutely ridiculous looks we saw this evening, but I feel that’s not my brand.  I’ll mention just a couple stray observations:

  • The Kardashians always look like the Kardashians, and always wear Balmain, all the time.  I feel that I’m completely numb to their effects now.  I always seem to know exactly what they’re going to look like these days.  Even Kanye wearing blue contacts feels blasé.  And will someone please convince him to wear something other than denim?!
  • Madonna’s face looks so painfully stretched that my teeth hurt just looking at her.  I’m making a dental appointment.
  •   “Naked” dresses feel so last year, and yet we still saw way too many of them.
  • Katy Perry is Katy Perry.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker has never looked worse!  That broke my heart.  I have no idea what she was thinking.  I get that she’s SJP, mais quelle horreur!
  • Too much white, too many metallics.
  • Where have all the eyebrows gone?
  • I feel like we have seen Amber Heard in the exact same look before, from head to toe.
  • Naomi Watts looked lovely, but I feel like I’ve also seen her in that same exact look before.
  • Olivia Wilde is really into metallic chokers.
  • Blake Lively always looks like Blake Lively.
  • Idris Elba showed up looking like the living, breathing definition of James Bond, but oh yes, he’s too “street” to take over the role apparently. Smh.

Share with me your thoughts, criticisms, and wailings of lament.  And in the words of Miranda Priestley, “That’s all”.  xo, MR