(Photo: Lieba Nesis)
This year's theme of the Costume Institute Gala was "Chinese:Through the Looking Glass," paying tribute to the Met's Department of Asian Art which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Asian influence on fashion has been immense and continues its ascendancy; much like the Costume Institute Gala, which keeps getting bigger and better every year with more celebrities, businessmen and musicians attending. This year's co-chairs were Jennifer Lawrence, Marissa Mayer, Gong Li and Wendi Murdoch a small fraction of the guest list comprising the elite of the country. While this year's costume theme proved much more mundane than others the guest list was anything but ordinary with a who's who that was both exceptional and unexpected. After Queen Wintour, in a resplendent orange beaded Chanel couture gown, and beautiful Bee (her daughter) walked down the red carpet, none other than Larry David sauntered by in sneakers and a black ensemble. How Anna managed to get Larry to show up to anything fashion related is anybody's guess but she has the magic touch.
|Donna Karan & Calvin Klein|
(Photo: Lieba Nesis)
As the evening progressed it became clear this night was different from all others with an appearance by the legendary Cher, someone who has not been seen on a red carpet in decades accompanied by fashion designer Marc Jacobs. The ability to keep people guessing is what makes Wintour so effective - who will she put on the next cover of Vogue or invite to the upcoming gala? Perhaps Bruce Jenner as she never ceases to amaze even allowing ex wife Kris to attend, shining in a red Balmain dress with a spiked ultra glam hairdo. Kris who stood in front of the Museum surveyed the illustrious crowd for hours with an overeager Katie Couric nearby unabashedly hanging out on the red carpet while taking selfies with all the luminaries. You know your event is exceptional when a normally unfazed Couric goes wild for the attendees. I still feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of being on the same carpet as divas Gaga, Beyonce, Madonna, Kim, Rihanna and Jennifer-Lawrence and Lopez that is. However, the bad news is that the remarkable crowd disappointed in their less than outstanding attire with only a few celebrities dressing for the occasion, and some past fashion hits making major and disappointing missteps this year. The evening's fashion was a hodge-podge of unfortunate choices, which I am not willing to blame entirely on the confusing and unwelcomed theme.
|Alicia Keys with Jean Paul Gaultier|
(Photo: Lieba Nesis)
The evening started off with less than a bang with most of the lesser known guests arriving early creating widespread disappointment amongst the hordes of press. Wendi Murdoch and Marissa Mayer both wearing Oscar de la Renta, looked beautiful but Mayer committed the cardinal sin of wearing a red dress on a red carpet-shame on you. The evening contained a lot of red dressed ladies, perhaps due to the Asian theme, with Gigi Hadid, Karolina Kurkova, Gabrielle Union, Reese Witherspoon, Joan Smalls, Vanessa Hudgens, Rita Ora, Amal Clooney and Jennifer Lopez all wearing varying shades of red, some making a greater impact than others. Jennifer Lopez, whose Versace nude and red dress, which was cut out in all the right places, displayed her bountiful backside to an adoring crowd. This was signature JLo who realized she would have to step up her booty game when a Kim Kardashian was in the house. Kardashian similarly appeared in a nude and silver cutout Cavalli dress showcasing her best asset - and I am not referring to Kanye. Kim's dress had white feathers and a pretty train-but her lackluster hairdo and her surgically altered face gave her the look of a "real housewife." Moreover, Beyonce wore a Michael Costello dress almost identical to Kim's to the 2014 Grammy's. Kanye appeared dour as usual accompanying his wife and encouraging her to take center stage.
|Amal & George Clooney|
Some other glamorous couples that graced the event were Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, Amal and George Clooney, Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany and Beyonce and Jay Z; these couples were reminiscent of old Hollywood and wowed the roaring crowd when they appeared. A reed thin Amal Clooney floated up the stairs with a beaming George looking on with pride. The simultaneous arrival of all the A-List celebrities led me to wonder whether someone advised them in advance to obtain optimal attention.
|Sarah Jessica Parker|
(Photo: Lieba Nesis)
Unfortunately, this year there were some who deserved recognition for their major fashion mishaps, with a plethora of women donning headgear that should only be seen on a football field. Sarah Jessica Parker, who was accompanied by Andy Cohen, is usually a fashion knockout but was a standout this year for her dreadful choices from head to toe. Parker's Philip Treacy hat accompanied by an H&M dress she collaborated on was awful. Parker said she wanted to "honor" the theme but her hat which made it look like a fire was coming out of her head did not look Asian or artistic. Gold dresses were also a popular fad on the red carpet with Tabitha Simmons, someone who usually dresses suitably, appearing in a horrible gold headdress with an armor like gown that was more "gladiator" then "oriental." Hathaway, who sizzled at the punk themed gala in 2013 fizzled on the carpet in a gold hoodie and gown, which looked like a hand-me-down from boxer Floyd Mayweather. Hathaway said she felt "protected" in this garb but she looked like a drab Oscar statuette and failed to dazzle. Thankfully, Kate Hudson's gold Michael Kors was sexy and sleek providing a reprieve from the previous disappointing looks.
|Cassie and P Diddy|
(Photo: Lieba Nesis)
Another sad trend that played out this year was the boob squashing trend. Madonna and Uma Thurman should be pilloried for hanging out in ill-fitted dresses that made me feel bad for their bosoms that were screaming "give me air." This look cries desperate for attention and is neither sexy or flattering. Sofia Vergara and Katy Perry also showed off their ample cleavages in sweetheart cut gowns that made them appear bodacious and bold but left little to the imagination. Perry, wearing a short brown wig and a graffiti-print Moschino dress, looked worse then ever, and was one of the night's big misses for her failure to abide by the theme and for just looking plain bad. Cara Delevingne, looking bloated and bleary-eyed in a dark cutout jumpsuit with heavy body art was another disappointment especially after her smashing debut last year. While pink was hardly seen on the carpet, Kerry Washington wore a beautiful pink Prada confection, with an even prettier smile and Elizabeth Banks wore a turquoise blue cut-out Michael Kors dress that was pretty. Another knockout in color was Kendall Jenner in a sexy beaded green Calvin Klein dress with enough side boob to outdo her sibling.
(Photo: Getty Images)
There are some celebrities who should be called out for whisking by with complete disregard for the media and those are: Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Bradley Cooper, Neil Patrick Harris, Elizabeth Banks, Keri Russell, and Reese Witherspoon. Conversely, the last three divas to grace the red carpet were entertainment and style icons Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Beyonce who exploited the event for all it was worth and made the evening the smash success it was. Lady Gaga arrived with Alexander Wang and wore a Balenciaga kimono-style dress with feathers-this garb honored the theme and was an important looking piece. Gaga made a conventional show-stopping entrance-a highly unusual occurrence. Following her, Rihanna showed up in a devastatingly spectacular yellow dress that took two years to produce and was made by Chinese designer Guo Pei.
Gaga and Rihanna get best dressed for sticking to the theme in such an outstanding manner especially because they usually flout fashion mores. Last but not least, Beyonce arrived at the unfashionable hour of 9:45 PM more than three hours late, causing a near mutiny in the already exhausted press corps, in a jaw dropping see through Givenchy dress with her handsome beau Jay Z and no Solange in sight-although she did attend the gala. Beyonce's sheer and bedazzled look was nothing new, but the fierce expression on her face made her one of the only celebrities worth waiting for. On an evening filled with triumphs and letdowns this finale was a fitting conclusion to an extraordinary affair.
- Lieba Nesis