Fashion Porn: 2011 Costume Institute Gala at the Met

Last night was the annual Costume Institute Gala at the Met in New York City, which means today we have FASHION PORN. This year’s Gala was more exciting than last year’s, with more people wearing riskier dresses, with patterns and bold colors dominating the night. Also, did you notice how many people were sporting cuff bracelets? Everyone had a cuff. I need more cuffs. We’re starting with the best and the worst, then on to the weird.

The Best

Christina Ricci in Zac Posen is my best dressed of the night. I LOVE this dress. The Met Gala is about drama and weirdness and risks and Ricci is working all of that in this dress. There isn’t one single thing I’d alter here. The design is awesome–I want it for myself. The construction and fit are flawless and Ricci’s styling is solid. I do have one gripe, however. I would maybe put this dress on someone a little taller. Ricci is my height–5’2″. Being so short, I often worry about clothes overpowering me and the bottom of this dress is dragging poor Christina down. My friend A said she’d like it better on someone five inches taller than Ricci and I don’t disagree. But, in the end, Ricci is the one wearing the dress and it still looks awesome so it’s still my favorite. Runner up for top honors goes to Michelle Williams in Miu Miu. This isn’t some Little House on the Prairie bullshit like she’s pulled before and there’s not a Peter Pan collar in sight, so I already love it. This dress also typifies the Met Gala for me–great fit on a person with beautiful styling and it’s left of center, bound to be hated by the Minivan. Score.

Honorable mentions go to Rihanna, Rosario Dawson and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Rihanna always wears these biscuit-baring dresses that just dare us to see Excelsior, and usually she looks kinda trashy, but here, I like her style. It’s flattering–her ass looks insane in this dress–and her whole look is pulled together. I even like the red braid. It’s weird and Rihanna and it’s the Met so it works. I never caught the designer of this dress but I’m going to assume it’s designed by the same person who makes Rihanna’s BDSM bondage wear (edit: it’s actually Stella McCartney). Also showing some skin is Rosario Dawson in another unknown dress (I didn’t kill myself looking–if I couldn’t find the designer in two minutes or less I moved on in favor of finishing this post). I am a huge fan of dresses that show nothing from the front only to reveal a bare back, and Dawson has a helluva back to show off. The dress that started out looking severe and boring turned out to be one of the sexiest of the night. And finally, Maggie G, in Stella McCartney, reminding us all that she’s still better than us. Maggie G is working that exclusive, “born more glamorous and interesting than you” vibe that Gwyneth Paltrow has sacrificed on the altar of the Minivan.

The Worst

I do not like putting Emma Stone on worst anything lists, but it has to be done. I HATE this Lanvin print dress. It looks like she lost her actual dress and she made this one out of the hotel comforter. Stone is a spunky twenty-two–she shouldn’t be dressing like a grandma. The hair is also not helping her look. I don’t hate her Spider-Man blonde hair outright, but I do hate how she’s been styling it. This misjudged poof is adding to her aged look, and the hot pink lipstick is making it look cheap to boot. Sadfaces. Next up we have two Chanel girls, Kirsten Dunst and Blake Fucking Lively. Dunst is and always has been a weird dresser, but even by those standards this dress sucks. It looks like something I wore on Easter in 1989. Further, Dunst’s half-hearted hair and bored expression aren’t helping. But none of that is as tragic as Blake Fucking Lively. Here’s the thing–I don’t actually hate this dress. At least, I don’t hate it on Blake. Because as we know, she always makes everything about her tits and her ass, and if you’re going to insist on making everything about your tits and your ass, this is the dress to do it in. BUT SHE MAKES IT LOOK SO CHEAP. There is something about Blake Fucking Lively that makes everything she touches look cheap. She is going to down-market Chanel to death. Her overly-orange fake tan clashes with her new red hair, too. Lay off the tanner if you’re going red, Blake.

Other nominees for the Assy Award are Freida Pinto in Chanel, Ginnifer Goodwin in custom Topshop and Rashida Jones. Pinto kills me. She is SO beautiful and SO poised and SO well spoken with the MOST LOVELY accent and I want her to be my fake sister. But WTF is she wearing? Like how does this dress even happen? I’m convinced this is what happens when Karl Lagerfeld has been spending too much time with Blake Fucking Lively. It’s cheap and not even the gorgeous, gracious Freida Pinto can save it. As for Goodwin in her green Topshop design–I’m not a fan. 1) I don’t like Ginnifer Goodwin, and 2) she looks miserable. There are a lot of actresses that get accused of looking pouty and miserable on the red carpet, but if you look, most of them are just nervous. It’s a trait that usually fades with time and age and experience, but not on Ginnifer Goodwin. She always looks so pissed off that she has to be at these things. She’s thirty-tw0 and a ten-year veteran of the industry. Plenty of time to get over looking miserable. And finally, my girl Rashida Jones in an unknown plum purple dress with a fascinator (of all the people who did headpieces, this is the only one I like). I adore this color on Rashida, who has such a gorgeous complexion, and I love the fuchsia lipstick.  What I don’t love is that Rashida chose shiny satin for her dress. It’s making her look lumpy and it’s so unflattering that it ruined the whole look. What a waste of great color.

The Kristen Stewart Steeze Award

I own my bias–Kristen Stewart is my favorite young actress and I do like her style a lot. So yes, I am predisposed to like her before she even shows up on the red carpet. That said, I would like this dress even if I didn’t know who she was. Like Michelle Williams’ Miu Miu, Stewart’s custom Proenza Schouler (she attended with the designers, who also dressed her for her Vogue cover feature in February) is designed with this event in mind. This dress would not work on a Twilight red carpet, for instance. It wouldn’t work at the Oscars. But the Met? Hell yes it works. First, the color is great on pale Stewart with dark hair. Second, the styling is spot-on. Last year Stewart made her first trip up the Met steps in a Chanel gown (which I think I am alone in liking) that was ruined by bad styling. This year, Stewart’s styling is top-notch. I especially love the shoes (also Proenza) and the cuffs (Fred Leighton, I think). The only issue I have with this dress is the fit, which isn’t quite exact enough. However, my friend Q, who works in fashion, pointed out that the back and sides are fitted very well, and that the unforgiving nature of such a heavy silk may have precluded being able to fit it so well in the front and back. I’m willing to give the dress a bit of a pass, but that fit issue is what kept Stewart off my best-dressed list.

The Renee Zellweger Pose Till It Hurts Award

This is Renee Zellweger and her lemon face in, what else, Carolina Herrera. I get that Herrera and Zellweger have a long standing relationship and that Zellweger probably feels her best in Herrera’s gowns, but please. Please, Renee, shake it up. I feel like I’d love this dress on anyone else–the beading is amazing–but on Zellweger it’s ground zero for her Bubble Of Sad. What is the Bubble Of Sad? It’s the ten-foot radius around Renee Zellweger on a red carpet when she’s posing so hard your jaw starts to hurt for her. Zellweger poses SO HARD, she wants us to like her SO BAD, she wants to fit in SO MUCH that it all just becomes too much try, and thus, the Bubble Of Sad begins expanding, taking everything down within its parameters. Including this otherwise pretty dress.

The Best I’ve Ever Seen You

This category is made up of people whose sartorial choices usually engender rage in me, yet last night they managed to put together a look I didn’t totally loathe. We’ll start with Taylor Swift in J. Mendel. I didn’t hate it! Swift usually dresses like she’s still thirteen, but here she looks like the grown woman she is, while still looking like herself. It’s little things, like taking her signature red lips a few shades darker and taming her sausage curls into an up-do. As for the dress, well, it’s pretty stellar. Swift is SO tall and this dress works beautifully on her frame. She should do this more often, but I just know she’ll show up to the next event in a dress from the JC Penney prom department. Speaking of prom, Ashley Greene is another one who usually looks like she’s ready for her corsage. However, I think this Donna Karan is working for her. It’s not the greatest dress ever, but this is the best I’ve ever seen Greene look on a red carpet. Her makeup is especially good and I like her earrings, too. Considering that Greene has been known to turn up at events looking like she’s ready to hit the Grand Ole Opry stage, this is a major improvement.

Also improved is Emma Roberts in this unknown white cut-out gown. Roberts is a brat and frankly, kinda trashy, but she looks great here. The dress is fit so beautifully and it’s so flattering to her teeny tiny figure, plus I always love white on the red carpet. And she’s managing to expose a bit of skin without looking trashy, so good on Emma. Zoe Saldana showed up in a yellow Calvin Klein column dress with a belt, and fuck if this isn’t the most boring dress I’ve ever seen. WHY is this so boring? Saldana is so beautiful and has such attitude that I don’t understand how you make her look like a politician’s wife. The way you wear these minimalist CK dresses is how Diane Kruger wore hers last year. But given that Saldana once wore this, I’ll take the boring CK any day.

The Boring

Boring dresses on boring ladies. Kristen Bell and Claire Danes are both in unknown dresses, both are metallic, both are boring, both are, coincidentally, actresses I only enjoy sparingly. And um, haven’t we seen Danes in this dress already? Didn’t she just wear this to the Emmys or the Golden Globes or something? I feel like we’ve just seen this look from her. Yawn. As for the newly-minted Effie, Elizabeth Banks is inspiring snores in this gold metallic Tommy Hilfiger. Boring is my favorite word for Banks, though I admit I like her as an actress. I just have zero interest in her as a personality, and I thank her for wearing such a dull dress that I don’t have to waste any effort to dismiss her. Next.

The Boys

Time for a break to look at some boys. I limited my observations on the men last night because let’s face it. The Met Gala is all about the gowns, and none of the boys showed up in gowns, so whatever. They’re basically props for the night. First up is Bradley Cooper in a well-tailored tux jacket. Boy, his eyes really pop. They are so, so blue. I wonder if he got sucked into Zellweger’s Bubble Of Sad at any point last night. I wonder if they’re the kind of exes that can be friendly or if they steered clear of one another. Also, I know a lot people love them some B Coop, but I don’t really feel it. I feel like he’s the kind of guy who cries after sex. The Bubble Of Sad will do that to you. Next is sexy beast Colin Firth (accompanied by his wife Livia). I don’t know this for sure, but I bet he’s wearing Tom Ford. Ford was in attendance last night and ever since they collaborated on A Single Man a couple years ago, Ford has been styling Firth for a lot of his red carpet appearances. Last but not least is British actor Eddie Redmayne. He and The Fassbender are the only gingers I have ever found attractive, ever. Redmayne knows how to work that tux, but I wish he didn’t make that face. Somewhere he got it into his head to trout-pout on the red carpet and it is not attractive. Stop that, Eddie. Please. Have you heard Eddie Redmayne speak? Caution, you may die.

Belly Management

Like Emma Roberts, Kate Hudson always looks a little trashy. Unlike Emma Roberts, Hudson wasn’t able to put that on hold last night. Here she is, fugging up a Stella McCartney maternity gown. The extensions are what’s killing it, I think. That, and the beading on the bodice. However, when compared to Jessica Alba’s Ralph Lauren gown made of cellophane gift wrap, Hudson’s dress doesn’t look so bad. At least Hudson’s dress is flattering and it tells me that McCartney knows what it’s like to be pregnant and have to dress up. Alba’s gown, on the other hand, tells me that Ralph Lauren hates pregnant women. Also, Alba brought her douche-faced husband/partner/whatever, Cash Warren as her date. Worst accessory ever. Douche-faces ruin pictures, always.

Boob Management

Sofia Vergara is defying all known laws of boob-physics in this printed Carolina Herrera gown. A straight strapless neckline is NOT a busty gal’s friend, yet Vergara not only has her girls well contained, but it’s actually really flattering. This is some Grade A boob management happening. I would be fascinated to know about the construction of that dress. Also wearing Herrera but failing spectacularly at it is Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks. This is a terrible fit for Hendricks, which is weird as Herrera usually dresses curvy women well (see also: Vergara and Zellweger in the Bridget Jones days). Yet Hendricks is stuffed into that dress and it’s making her look way bigger than she really is, not to mention shoving her tits into her chin. Gross. Handling things slightly better is Salma Hayek in a nude Alexander McQueen. Hayek is in her forties, a mother, and not (overtly) fucking with her face. Look at her. Look at how good she looks. It’s not fair. I’d also like to know about the construction of this dress, as it’s holstering Salma’s girls yet not shoving them into her chin. Someone really needs to explain this concept to Christina Hendricks.

Model Tragedy

The models were really bumming me out last night. They all looked tragic. Giselle Bundchen looked the best out all of them, in Alexander McQueen, but her dress was a bit boring I thought. Surely Giselle could’ve gotten a more interesting McQueen? Still, she’s light years ahead of Brooklyn Decker, who is another who manages to cheapen everything she wears. This hot pink Michael Kors gown is making me so sad, I had to scroll up a little on the page so I could stop looking at it while I write this. Kors is usually so simple and elegant, yet Decker’s dress is an ill-fit mess. Still, it’s not nearly as bad as whatever that is that Naomi Campbell is wearing. I’m going to assume it’s Marchesa. It’s fugly enough for Marchesa.

Sisters in Sadness

Okay, first–why are you expecting anything different from the Olsen Twins at this point? We all know they dress like they’re septuagenarian Upper East Side grande dames. That said, I actually really like Ashley’s black and white vintage Dior gown. It’s flattering, sleek, and the sleeves give it the kind of dramatic punch you expect on the Met steps. Best part? You know she just has this in her closet. Seriously, it’s very likely Ashley actually owns this dress herself and has it hanging next to some sort of terrible shawl with she, thankfully, left at home this time. Of course, that also means that Mary-Kate likely owns this super sad vintage Givenchy peasant dress, too. This is probably the worst Givenchy I’ve ever seen, including Zoe Saldana’s tragic purple poodle dress. And it’s not flattering on Mary-Kate at all. If you work so hard to be so thin, why do you then wear such unflattering clothes?

Fellow sisters in fug last night were the Knowles girls, Beyonce and Solange. Beyonce’s Emilio Pucci mermaid gown isn’t totally wretched, but she reportedly couldn’t walk in it, so no. If you can’t move around in your dress it’s not working for you. It’s the Mariah Carey Rule. If your gown is so restrictive that you have to mince around baby-stepping like Mimi, you’ve made a bad decision. Of course, Beyonce’s Pucci shows up a lot better next to Solange’s whacked-out Dries van Noten print dress. Dries van Noten is an out-there designer and Solange thinks she’s an out-there fashion girl, so I get why she picked this. Unfortunately, Solange doesn’t have the same innate steeze that allows Beyonce to pull of some truly ridiculous fashions and Solange ends up looking, well, ridiculous.

Seen It Better Before

I love Mia Wasikowska. She’s adorable and charming and so talented with such presence–she’s one of my favorites. Yet I feel like I see her in this dress every time she steps onto a red carpet. Worse, I feel like I see Carey Mulligan in this dress a lot, too, so not only is Wasikowska plagiarizing herself, but she’s plagiarizing Mulligan, too. They both need to stop it with the black mullet hems. But did you see this photo from W of Wasikowska and The Fassbender? Not only is that high fashion, but it’s straight-up art. What is not art is Penelope Cruz wearing this dress AGAIN. Without even looking I knew this was Oscar de la Renta because Pene ALWAYS wears this Oscar de la Renta gown in either black, white or neutral. I mean, she looks amazing given than she recently had a kid, but still. That’s no reason to keep wearing the SAME DAMN DRESS to every event. Also repetitive is Jennifer Lopez in Gucci. It’s reading as fuchsia in photos, but may be more magenta? Whatever, it’s ugly and she always wears some version of this dress. She also brought a douche-faced husband as an accessory which further dragged down her look.

The Youth Vote

The teens were out in force last night, with Saoirse Ronan, the Fanning sisters and Hailee Steinfeld all hitting the Met steps. Ronan’s red Rodarte (alliteration!) is quite nice–it’s adventurous and young without being too sexy–but WTF with her shoes? It looks like they were hammered onto her feet. The Fannings Elle and Dakota both wore Valentino and I HATE Dakota’s poofy tulle flower prom dress. She also always wears this dress–would it kill Dakota to don some color? She dresses like she’s allergic to color. Elle’s black and white Valentino mini isn’t that bad, but the lace bodice is more “grandma’s doily” than “girly flirt”. And totally missing the boat is Hailee Steinfeld in a brown mullet-hemmed dress that I think is by Stella McCartney. This whole look is terrible on Hailee. The color does nothing for her complexion and her sister-wife hair adds fifteen years to her age. Steinfeld did so well throughout her award season run that this makes me sad. I know she capable of much more.

(Un)Pretty Pairs

Again, without looking, I know Fergie is wearing Marchesa. Only Marchesa would make such a bullshit dress. That dress is so bullshit. Sometimes I’ll see a Marchesa and think, “That’s no so bad,” but then I inevitably see some bullshit like this and think, “Oh yeah, this is why I hate Marchesa.” Cheap tacky gross bullshit pageant styles. Emily Browning showed up in a maroon lace Marc Jacobs dress with a bullshit hemline. This dress is nothing. I’m glad Emily arrived early because it would have been tragic to see her in this dress getting shown up left and right by the likes of Rihanna, Chrisitina Ricci, Kristen Stewart and Maggie G. It’s really a shame the dress is lame because Browning’s styling is great. Her face is so lovely. She brought Max Irons, Son Of Jeremy, as her date. He looks like an Edward Cullen doll. And I don’t mean that he looks like Rob Pattinson, but that he looks plastic. Seriously, look at his hair. It’s made by Mattel.


Diane Kruger and her life-partner Pacey (I guess they’re never getting married?) are regulars at this event but this year they missed the boat. Last year, Kruger was one of my favorites in a severe white Calvin Klein, this year she’s blah in Jason Wu. I don’t hate it outright but she has done much better in the past. And Pacey’s white ribbon detail on his tux jacket is straight-up prom rental styles. Gross. I don’t know if Janelle Monae and Bruno Mars is a thing that’s actually happening, but they showed up together. Monae really took a risk with her shirt, pants and veiled hat. I applaud the effort. It’s not exactly working but she tried something, she went for drama and flair and that’s what the Met Gala is about. Bruno Mars actually looks normal in a suit with no tie and that disappoints me. I wanted him to wear something wild, to compliment Monae’s bold choice. Like, Bruno and Pacey should’ve switched suits. Yeah, that totally would’ve worked out better for both couples.

8 thoughts on “Fashion Porn: 2011 Costume Institute Gala at the Met

  1. Very thorough post! Nice job 🙂 I love how Blake Lively is Blake Fucking Lively in your world 😛

    And totally agree with Kristen – she can do no wrong in my book 🙂 But *maybe* the fitting could have been better…

  2. Heidi

    Sarah,

    The dress that Mia wore in the W photo was actually worn by Daphne Guinness at the Met. Lainey has it in her post. What an amazing dress! I like it better on Mia though.

  3. Sneza

    I agree with you on every single detail.

    My only quibble would be that Kristen Stewart’s dress is not only too ill-fitting but too boring to be on the Best list. And I love KS more than you do, would forgive her anything. I’m not holding this against her, either. P&S stole the idea for this dress from my Grade 10 Home Ec class on beach cover-ups.

  4. FiN

    Emma Stone makes me sad, she doesn’t look like herself any more.

    JLO looks horrific.. WTF? Christina Ricci…………….. um, no. I do not get it.

    Loved Isla Fisher, Kristen Stewart, Claire Danes and Michelle William’s is growing on me

  5. telltale

    first and foremost i have to say that being from nyc where individuality and kookiness are seemingly much more welcomed than anywhere else in America (not to generalize or anything), we expect our things to be a bit more unusual. though a lot of these gowns are truly work-of-art, some are just a mere excuse to play dress up. you are right, this particular event is neither a high school prom nor a beauty pageant/award show, therefore you have got to really display creativity at the very least. otherwise, you’ll just basically waste a highly sought-after invite. i mean come on, it is THE MET gala we’re talking about here, the one event where you can go bolder than normal.

    with that said, lively, saldana, jones, danes, bell, banks, vergara, browning, decker, wood, stone, michelle, and surprisingly bundchen underwhelmed. watts, cruz, paltrow, greene are properly dressed at the wrong occasion. the concept for the event is supposedly “savage beauty” but some of these ladies opted for pretty but annoyingly safe attires; and nothing is more irritating considering the magnitude of fashion expected for this event. this is not the place for safe bets.

    for the fashion ones (most you haven’t mentioned) are that of natalia vodianova, daphne guinness, coco rocha, lisa airan, shalom harlow, karen elson, angela lindvall, crystal renn, karlie kloss, bar rafaelli, and the olsen sisters are some of my top looks.

    i have to admit, i agree with you on kristen stewart as her dress did catch my attention in a not so ostentatious manner. not only did it fit the theme this year, she was able to showcase the art in that dress successfully. i, especially like the back as it seems like her back was cut open with a huge chainsaw. how very “savage beauty” indeed! of course it also helped that she had the two of my favorite boys, jack and lazaro, by her side.

  6. Pingback: Halter 2010 Blog

  7. Margie

    Kristen not only is one of the worst actresses in the entire free world but she also can’t dress for shit. I think it’s amusing how you hate Ginnifer Goodwin who is a very sweet (I’ve met her) and talented young lady and yet one of your favorite actresses is an unattractive, talentless moron who couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. Maybe the dumb bitch should start showing emotion on screen and stop looking so much like a drug addict. I automatically think of your opinions as pure hogwash. Anyone who actually believes Kristen can act has the mental capabilities of a two -year -old. And that dress? I don’t think so. Fucking idiot…

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