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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On January, drugstore makeup, and why Olivia Wilde may hate me after reading this.

January is a funny month.  The huge climax of the holiday season has worn off, it’s consistently cold out, and things go back into their typically mundane routines.  You’ve got all your new gifts (and might be over them already), have probably returned from your vacations, and are perhaps well on your way to breaking keeping any resolutions you’ve made for the new year.  You work out, you go the movies, you shop around for yourself … nothing particularly special.  Nothing particularly new.

What I love about the fashion and beauty spheres, however, is that everything is always new.  Everything is always forward.  You are more than welcome to enjoy the present moment with all its current trends and styles and happenings, but you also have every right to anticipate the coming season with all the excitement and future-minded thinking in your being.  In fact, it’s the only way to operate in such a world.  In fashion and beauty, it’s never too early.  The magazine issues you are seeing on stands today are the January issues (and they’ve been there for at least a week now), and they will all have some kind of spring preview in them.  The spring previews will only continue to grow bigger in the February issues, until the March issue comes out and there you’ve got the second biggest month for fashion and beauty publications of the year next to September.  And I love that things work this way.  There’s always something to look forward to.  In fashion and beauty, today is pretty much yesterday, and tomorrow can be seen everywhere today, and yesterday will probably serve as the inspiration for tomorrow so be sure to hold on to yesterday’s stuff today just in case for tomorrow.  Yes, fashion just got meta, Looper style.

So, where in the beauty world can we see tomorrow, today?  Well, if you keep up with any beauty blogs or magazines, you may have noticed articles or features over the past month beginning to drop the names of products that you’ve never heard of.  Like, you’ll see a feature on some makeup guru’s “must-haves” and they’ll mention some kind of lipstick or  whatever that you’ve never found in a drugstore.  For all you know, it doesn’t even exist.  That’s because us low-life plebeians can’t get our hands on such things yet because the product hasn’t been launched to retailers, but January is usually the time that you’ll see them making their first appearances!  Now, the new products have all been sent in advance to important folks in the beauty world (celebrity makeup artists, etc.) to get the word out early, and of course, part of getting the word out is mentioning them in magazines and interviews to ramp up public anticipation.  January is also a common time to release advertising campaigns featuring a new spokesmodel.  My best example I can think of for this year would be Lea Michele for L’Oreal Paris.  Next time you see Lea in a magazine, you can bet your butt that she’ll be either in a L’Oreal ad, pictured alongside some kind of L’Oreal product, or she’ll speak about it in any kind of interview for the next couple months.  Last year around this time, it was Emma Stone and Olivia Wilde for Revlon.

I admit that I get a bit cynical about spokesmodel campaigns because I feel those kajillion-dollar contracts seem to discourage these women from being truthful about what products they really use and really enjoy.  I mean, prior to being paid enough money to support all of Indonesia for a year by Almay for her current spokesmodel campaign, did Kate Hudson really love and use their products?  Somehow, I think being paid what I’ll probably make in thirty years of work for a single two-to-three-year contract makes that drugstore makeup and box-dye haircolor a lot more effective to you- yeah, I’m looking at you, Gwen Stefani.  You will literally never convince me that the QUEEN of platinum blonde hair regularly uses L’Oreal Preference box dye for those icy perfect locks of hers.  Never.  And isn’t Olivia Wilde some kind of proud vegan?  Why, oh why, would you agree to be a spokesmodel for Revlon, a brand that (like most drugstore cosmetic brands) is notorious for animal testing and nowhere near natural in it’s ingredients, if you’ve claimed to adopt such a lifestyle?  Oh, they’re paying you my dad’s salary times a thousand to do it?  Yep.  Sounds like a good time for looser vegan standards to me, too.

Anyhow, for as much as I bash on drugstore products and all the advertisements they come with, it still is exciting to see them make their debut.  A junkie is a junkie is a junkie, and I’ll come clean and say if I were extended a whopper of a contract to grin and bear it for Maybelline, I’d take it (or at least, with what I’m currently earning I would).  I was wandering through a Walgreens earlier today and it looks like January came early (which is no surprise, since, again, everything is early in these spheres)!

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As you can see here, we’ve got all kinds of newness coming from the folks at L’Oreal.  New hair products for the EverCare line, new shadow palettes, all sorts of stuff.  And there’s Lea, peeking out from behind the Telescopic Shocking mascara!

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Here’s what’s new from Revlon.  I think they’re trying to make a pretty big deal out of that Nearly Naked makeup line, as Revlon threw a giant launch party for it complete with an appearance by Emma as its spokemodel.

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Additionally from L’Oreal- A huge new line of hair care products (and not just in addition to the sulfate-free EverCare line).  This line is simply called L’Oreal Advanced Haircare, but there are five types of product families within it to suit all kinds of needs (like dryness, color treated, etc.).  And there’s Lea’s face again!  I doubt these items will match up to salon quality or beat more natural care for your hair, but time will tell if any of these products give effective results and become household staples.

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I took a shot of all the five families in this line except for the kind tailored toward “dry” hair (and it’s minty-green packaging).

So as 2012 winds down and 2013 begins to take the stage, be anticipating all these items to appear in your local drugstores very soon.  And just learn to deal with the lies of Halle Berry saying that Revlon has made her “photo ready”, while failing to credit her skincare routine that costs the price of Brazil with tax and consists of a moisturizer made with one drop of blood from every endangered species on the planet and hand-crushed tea leaves from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.  And something called “Adobe Photoshop”.  xo, MR

Ooh dang, she look fine! … or, my celebrity beauty crushes.

Everyone’s got a favorite celebrity when it comes to fashion. We follow their style, pin all their outfits on Pinterest, and are most excited to see them on the red carpet. Sometimes, we even like a somewhat questionable outfit on them because, well, it’s on them. But have you ever thought of who your favorite celebrities are when it comes to beauty? You always love their hair, or you know they use great products, or their makeup is always different and fun in every photo. Perhaps they aren’t your favorites for style (or vice versa: you love what they wear but their makeup is always the same), but from they neck up, they always seem to get it right. Here are my three that I’m always ecstatic to see a close-up shot of:

1. Diane Kruger

Diane’s hair and makeup change dramatically with nearly every appearance. The German beauty is reminiscent of Grace Kelly and is never easily predicted, and she’ll take risks that’ll keep you on your toes. Pin curls, fishtail braids, easy topknots, bright red lips, dramatic winged eyeliner- you never know what she’ll do. And the coolest thing is that Diane’s known for frequently doing her hair and makeup herself!

2. Olivia Wilde

It probably doesn’t hurt that she’s a Revlon spokesmodel, but Olivia always looks so chic in the beauty department. She had an incredible cut with bangs and beautiful ombre color for a while that I loved, but her new cut for 2012 (pictured above) served as one of the most inspirational looks for this year’s ever-popular long bob cut. Her stunning blue eyes are so easy to play up with colorful shadow, too.

3. Jessica Biel

I’m mostly into Miss Biel for her locks. This exact picture served as inspiration for my hair leading up to my wedding, and I continue to obsess over every style and color Jessica tries with her crowning glory. Her mane just seems so healthy, and the health of my hair has taken priority over its everyday appearance partly in thanks to seeing incredible locks like Jessica’s. She’s commonly known as one of the most fit celebrities that maintains a stellar diet and exercise regimen, and dedication like that tends to manifest itself everywhere in your body, including your skin and hair.

There are, of course, other ladies that I’m crazy about including Kate Beckinsale, Jennifer Connelly, Thandie Newton, and Mila Kunis. The originally mentioned ones, however, seem to be the most consistent in impressing me both on the red carpet and sometimes off, too. And I love my listed three specifically for what they do with their hair and makeup, not because I simply think they’re the prettiest celebrities. For instance, Miss Connelly’s features are so striking that I enjoy her more for how she naturally looks rather than what’s done with her makeup (though that raven shade of hair is greatly complemented by those rose-colored lips). I appreciate it too when a celebrity’s hair and makeup is translatable and easy to relate to. My counterexample of this would be the 365-days-a-year goddess known as Miss Beckinsale. Kate always seems to look just a tad too perfect. There’s no ease to her beauty; it’s immaculate glamour all the time with no hair (or, ahem, hair extension) out of place. However glorious and coiffed she may always look, such beauty can be hard to relate to.

The three featured in this post are those that I look forward to seeing the most at every awards show, in every magazine, and on every website. Their beauty isn’t so other-worldly that I feel I can’t take inspiration from them, and they each try new ideas that any other girl can try. So tell me, who are your favorites?