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

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Best Of The 2016 Academy Awards

Alright, kids.  It’s that time!  I think the first thing I should note is that there were so many people missing tonight!  No Lupita Nyong’O, no Jennifer Lopez, no Emma Stone, no Gwyneth Paltrow, no Halle Berry, no Jennifer Aniston, no Amy Adams, no Viola Davis, no Angelina Jolie, no Kate Hudson, no Beyoncé, no Nicole Kidman – and those are just the regulars that I feel we see on most every Oscars red carpet.  So, that kind of bummed me out as I always look forward to seeing what I would classify as the heavy-hitters.  However, there are always the after parties so we’ll see what those bring.

Bear in mind that I take into consideration the entire look when determining my favorites.  This means I like the hair, the jewelry, the makeup, everything (and not just the dress).  So, here are the four from tonight’s Oscars red carpet that I absolutely adored!

Best Fantasy Moment

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So, I’ve seen stuff on the internet about this dress saying things like, “Step away from the glue gun, Cate”, and that it looks too crafty.  Um, I’m sorry, but have you ever made a craft that looks as good as this dress?!  I mean, COME ON.  Cate looks like the epitome of a fairy princess in the best possible way wearing this gorgeous Armani Privé gown.  With her dainty, elven face, gowns like this are a perfect match for her.  Feminine, flowery, and in a shade that I’d describe as robin’s-egg-blue (with crystal details and what looks like little purply bits found in the flower appliqués), this was the first look I saw tonight that made me squeal.  It’s that every-little-girl’s-fantasy kind of dress.  The silhouette is incredibly flattering, too, with the exaggerated shoulders and deep v-neck.  Simple beautiful.

Best Moment of SHUT THE FRONT DOOR YOU IS LOOKIN’ HOT!

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Yeah, Kate Winslet is aging backwards.  I mean, the woman just doesn’t age (though a contract with Lancome does help- Genifique, anyone?).  Her face has evolved into one that evokes Old Hollywood glamour and sophistication, and her red carpet styling always lends itself quite well to that aesthetic.  This particular look, however, took a bit of a sidestep away from the stately sophistication and veered more into HOT MAMA territory.  I mean, wow.  The loose waves coupled with the shiny texture of this Ralph Lauren gown amounts to a look that is at once futuristic/edgy and timeless/simple.  I am crazy about the liquid feel of this silk lame.  And her standing next to Leo?  Twitter just about lost its mind.

Best Moment of Redemption

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Confession- I have felt for a long, long time that the partnership between Jennifer Lawrence and Dior has been a huge mistake.  I just don’t really find that Dior suits Jennifer.  She’s a young, cool girl with an edge of crass to her, and Dior is the pinnacle of ladylike sophistication seen on the likes of statuesque, elegant actresses such as Marion Cotillard and Charlize Theron.  It just doesn’t jive for me, and the gowns and clothes that Dior has had Jennifer wear always seem to end up wearing her instead.

However, tonight was a welcomed exception.  This dress felt cool.  This dress felt edgy.  This dress felt young.  And the overall styling was fantastic.  I love that Jennifer’s been going more platinum with her hair these days.  That icy white platinum look?  Ooh, I love it.  I’d do it myself if I knew my hair wouldn’t literally snap off in heaps after three weeks.  I’d need a bucket of Olaplex to survive.  But anyhow, hats off to the JLaw team tonight.  She looked stunning, and I’m thinking she and Dior may have turned a new corner in their relationship.

Best Moment of Color

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A silhouette like this typically isn’t my favorite because we’ve seen it so much, but for some reason, this outstanding shade of vermillion makes it all okay.  I think it also may be the fact that we never see Charlize in this color.  We’ve seen her look stunning in gold, white, black, and baby pink, but I don’t think we’ve seen her choose serious color for the Academy Awards since 2010 when she wore her lilac bustier gown (which everyone hated but me).

My most favorite look of Charlize’s is actually the forest green Dior gown she wore to the 2006 Oscars, back when John Galliano was still at the helm.  It was so dramatic with that giant bow, and the color was so unexpected.  I guess that’s what I love Charlize for- she can wear absolutely anything, so unusual silhouettes and bright colors are always a delight on her.  And I have to say, if Imperator Furiosa had to walk a red carpet and couldn’t choose to wear black, it may as well be this uncompromising shade of red.  My mom loved it, too!

Other honorable mentions include Naomi Watts’ gown that reminded of the Rainbow Fish, Margot Robbie’s I-am-literally-a-golden-Oscar-statue moment, and Saoirse Ronan’s gorgeous shade of green that made me think of a mermaid.  I also liked the architecture of Olivia Munn’s gown.  Alicia Vikander’s dress was beautiful too, but the whole look was definitely a bit too inspired by Belle, all the way down to the half-bun.  Daisy Ridley’s was pretty but I would’ve preferred a full-length gown, and Julianne’s was nothing special to me.

Rachel McAdams’ was a bit of a yawn for me too, and while Brie Larson’s gown was really pretty her hair styling sort of ruined the look for me.  I’m not much for pulling back hair that way with a flowy gown that has lots of movement.  I would’ve loved to see some loose waves, or contrast the gown with a sleek chignon.  And Rooney Mara has become as predictable as ever!  I don’t expect to ever see her in bright pink or anything like that, but there’s got to be some way of changing things up while sticking to her general elegant-goth aesthetic.

Well that just about wraps it up for me, and now its time to dig for some extra details on the makeup- my very favorite part!  Give me your thoughts and let me know what you think.  And now, it’s time to start the countdown to the Met Ball!  xo, MR

Photo credits in order of appearance to: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, Jason Merritt/Getty, George Pimentel/WireImage, and Unknown on Theron image.