Tuesday, May 07, 2013

"Punk: Chaos to Couture": Red Carpet Report

Rooney Mara wearing Givenchy
All photos: Lieba Nesis

The Costume Institute's theme this year was "Punk: Chaos to Couture" which had the potential to make this year's red carpet a hot mess. However, it turned out to be a raving success with celebrities and designers, for the most part, turning up in tasteful, elegant and creative attire. The press check in began at four thirty PM with much of the press showing up in gowns and tuxedos. The room was hot and the crowd was impatient. There was A.J. Calloway from Extra, Giuliana Rancic, resplendent in a Falguni and Peacock dress, from E! News, Alina Cho from CNN with a pumped up hairdo and many more in the celebrity press. Finally, we were able to line up on the red carpet with a massive crowd including photographers, reporters and publicists from press outlets as far away as Italy.

Linda Fargo in Baroness

The red carpet's first victim was Rooney Mara, one of the cochairs of the event and a fashion favorite of Vogue. Her floor length white sheer gown by Riccardo Tisci was very "bride meets goth" and her white makeup dramatized the effect. Lauren Santo Domingo and Anna Wintour were breathtaking in their bejeweled gowns but there was nothing that screamed punk or chaos about these dresses. Riccardo Tisci, another cochair of the event, said that punk is all about freedom and personality. He dressed Madonna who he said was going to look very sexy and daring and Beyonce who collaborated with him on a "fire queen outfit." Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS, said "this is by far one of the best nights of the year. However, I do not consider myself punk nor have I ever been. I may have smoked a couple of things when I was younger but that is about the extent of my punkness. When I think of punk I think of Madonna- I am just a normal guy." His wife Julie Chen, a television correspondent said, "I love this event because it brings together fashion, Hollywood, film, sports, and television under one roof." 

Uma Thurman wearing Zac Posen

Andy Cohen, the housewives' host and Bravo honcho, in Calvin Klein said he got an invite to this event by "the skin of his teeth." Greta Gerwig, the indie darling, clad in a morose black Saint Laurent getup took four hours to get ready. Donatella Versace, expressed pleasure with the exhibit featuring some Versace frocks and was in a custom made Versace gown with safety pin shoulders and sleeves. Katie Holmes, Heidi Klum, and Julianne Hough all looked beautiful in their floor length gowns but none of them adhered to the punk theme. On the other hand, Nicole Richie in a custom Topshop dress, looked smashing with her purple silver pompadour and white beaded dress. Similarly, Linda Fargo, Senior Vice President at Bergdorf's, nailed the evening's punk S&M look in a black Baroness dress with silver buckles, leather gloves and a wild hairdo- she always looks simultaneously young and age appropriate- a near impossible feat to achieve.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Valentino

Many designers such as Zac Posen, Jason Wu and Michael Kors showed up with celebrity counterparts. LaLa Vascquez, joined by Zac Posen and Uma Thurman, stated, "Zac and I designed the dress together. He makes great dresses for curvy women, although I am on a three day cleanse to fit into this dress which has a built in corset." Jessica Pare joined by Jason Wu, in an electric blue Jason Wu gown with heavy blue and black makeup, said she and Wu just got back from Coachella and she loves the "anti-establishment" vibe of punk. Jennifer Lopez, in a spotted gold and black Michael Kors dress, joined Michael Kors and her boyfriend for a quick zoom up the stairs before anyone could question her as to why she chose this ill advised dress.

Lily Cole in Vivenne Westwood

I would be remiss not to mention the two most hated celebrities in Hollywood - Gwyneth Paltrow and Anne Hathaway, who both came dressed in and accompanied by Valentino. Anne Hathaway, who most paparazzi did not recognize, looked sizzling in a new blonde hairdo with a sleek black dress. Gwyneth Paltrow, in sharp contrast to Hathaway, was pretty and elegant in a hot pink dress with a sheer stripe adorning the top. Thom Browne, who has a piece in the exhibit, stated, "Andrew Bolton is a genius in curating this exhibit and Anna of course does an amazing job." He also praised Michelle Obama for being incredibly supportive and a "true icon." Vivienne Westwood said she had only seen some of her pieces in the exhibit and she had actually forgotten some of them.

Kate Upton in Diane von Furstenberg

Alas, it was time for some levity with Jimmy Fallon providing the laughs stating his favorite look was, "parachute pants" and the band aid on his nose was the fault of LaToya Jackson's plastic surgeon. Fallon and Seinfeld, Jerry that is, enjoyed kibitzing on the red carpet about how fashion backward they are. There were unfortunately some major fashion faux pas even in the very forgiving realm of punk. Linda Evangelista, with a frizzed out hairdo, looked dreadful in a gray tutu like concoction accompanied by a silver crown. Maybe her invite read come dressed as your favorite Harry Potter character but there was nothing pretty or punk about this frothy mess. Kate Upton, who admitted she "didn't get the theme" got it all wrong in her simple Diane Von Furstenberg green sheath dress-which was neither flattering nor gala worthy. Kim Kardashian, pregnant and showing, was simply dressed for the wrong event in her plain Givenchy floral turtleneck gown with slits on the side accompanied by a demure ponytail updo and boyfriend Kanye West.
Sarah Jessica Parker in Giles Deacon

Diane Von Furstenberg's hair was all wrong, a red afro is the antithesis of punk and is especially wrong minded when coupled with a studded black sheer dress. Katy Perry, accompanied by and wearing Dolce and Gabbana, was another fashion miss. Perry looked like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz with her curly hair and gold crown accompanied by an over the knee length silver and gold D&G embroidered dress. This outfit was chaotic without any semblance of punk. Sarah Jessica Parker who said punk was about "curiosity and questioning" almost got it right in a Giles Deacon ball gown accessorized with a Philip Treacy hat and Louboutin boots, but the outfit was too much pouf and too little punk.

Karolina Kurkova in Mary Katrantzou dress

The models are always well represented at the Costume Institute Gala and this year was no different. Kristin McMenamay, queen of goth and grunge models, said she was upset nobody wanted to take her picture, was not excited to see anyone inside and that punk was all about spitting- how refreshing. Coco Rocha, wore one of my favorites dresses of the night, a leopard print Ungaro with gold butterflies on the neck. Rocha's black bangs were a perfect accessory for this gown and she looked modern and classical. Karolina Kurkova, who has been attending this event for the past ten years, looked sensational as always in a short Mary Katrantzou dress with punk jewelry and slicked back hair. She said, "punk for me is about never settling, never taking no for an answer and fighting for what I believe in." There were also some handsome genetically blessed couples: Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady always astound with their incredible appearance, and Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn, athletic phenoms, were fashionably appropriate.

Beyonce in Givenchy

The red carpet ended with two singing and fashion divas showing up one hour and a half late and throwing the crowd into an utter frenzy. Beyonce, or shall we say Sasha, was especially fierce in a fiery floor length Riccardo Tisci gown, complete with a black and gold train. Next came Madonna in a Geisha meets punk pantless outfit voguing her way up the stairs with loud screeches from the crowd - her young boyfriend the best accessory of all. And finaly, as if to remind us what this event was all about, Andre Leon Talley showed up in a bright Superman-like cape slugging up the steps showing that even if he no longer appears on the editorial masthead of Vogue, he will always be included in the annals of Vogue when its history is being retold.

- Lieba Nesis

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