The Met Gala happened on Monday. It’s the Super Bowl of Fashion. The theme was “White Tie and Decorations” and the gala was honoring Charles James. We have a lot to talk about. Let’s do this.
The thing about the Met Gala is that it’s about excess. It is not about pleasing the majority or playing it safe. It’s about risk and taking chances and homage. My general rule of thumb is that if the masses hate your dress, you’ve probably done something right. Similarly, if People thinks you look great, you’re probably boring as fuck. (I’m looking at you, Blake Lively.) With that in mind, here is my best dressed list:
Mary-Kate Olsen in vintage Chanel (the striped one) and Ashley Olsen in vintage Gianfranco (the buttony one). Two unique looks that both manage to pay homage to the structure of Charles James’ gowns without looking like knock-offs. They have the personality of bread crusts, but they do know their fashion.
But speaking of knock-offs, Sarah Jessica Parker wore an Oscar de la Renta design inspired by James’ famous “Petal” ball gown. I love the back detail—yes, even the signature. It’s a playful nod to the “authorship” of the dress.
Beyonce wore flapper-inspired Givenchy and has one of the best theme-interpretations of the night. BITCHES, BOW.
Also nailing the theme, in a more literal sense, is Charlize Theron in black-and-white Dior. That tuxedo jacket dares not to fall off her shoulders.
Here’s one we’re probably fighting over—Maggie Gyllenhaal in Valentino. It’s a little over the top and loopy, which is perfect for both Gyllenhaal and the Met Gala. I laughed when I saw it, and she looks like she enjoyed wearing it, and on a night that was pretty boring, she provided some much-needed talking points.
Janelle Monae in Tadashi Shoji. Another BITCHES, BOW.
And finally Rihanna in an unusually good Stella McCartney dress. Bonus points for the great styling.
Almost But Not Quite
We’re fighting for sure over Lupita Nyong’o in Prada. Here’s the thing—where else would you wear this dress? Who else could pull it off? It’s the perfect dress for the venue on the perfect person to carry it off. That said, it’s not a flawless look, and no, I have no problems with the net-dress part of the ensemble. My issue is that the brown under-dress looks cheap, and so does the headband. I wish the execution was a little bit better, because Lupita was clearly excited to wear this—she was shimmying and shaking all night and the dress looked pretty great in motion. I just want a little more from the overall design. And that headband—why not get an actual, jeweled Art Deco headpiece instead of bedazzling a ribbon? CHEAP.
Anna Kendrick in J. Mendel is on-theme and it’s beautifully structured and fit. My problem is that I didn’t recognize Kendrick when I first saw her. The styling is so bad, she doesn’t look like herself. Reimagine her look if she wore her hair down in loose waves and swept over one shoulder, ditched the necklace for a statement cuff, and redid her makeup with smoky eyes and a bold lip in, say, magenta or coral. Better, right?
I love the idea of separates at the Met Gala, and Dakota Johnson in Jason Wu almost pulls it off. The skirt is perfect, the top a little less so, but even working with that, if she’d actually bothered to do her hair and ditched the gloves (black gloves work best in contrast, not dark-on-dark as they are here), this would’ve been a better look.
Great Look, Wrong Venue
Amy Adams should have saved this Oscar de la Renta dress for the Academy Awards. She would’ve KILLED on that red carpet. But here, it’s boring.
Ditto for Emma Stone in Thakoon. Bonus points for great hair and makeup, but this dress is for a movie premiere, not the motherfucking Met Gala.
Another surprisingly good look from Stella McCartney is Cara Delevingne’s pants/top combo. But pants are super hard to pull off at the Met Gala without looking underdressed, and Delevingne does not pull it off. This would’ve been perfect for a fashion show appearance or a daytime red carpet, but it’s underwhelming here.
While pants can sometimes work at the Met Gala, I’ve decided that short dresses never do. No matter how great the dress, it ALWAYS looks underdone. Case in point, Kristen Stewart in what is actually a pretty terrific Chanel dress—with excellent styling—looks underdressed. I know she hates full-on gowns, but this was the night for a full-on gown. This dress would’ve been better served at a premiere.
Elizabeth Olsen wore an Ice Capades reject designed by Miu Miu. Obviously her sisters were trolling her by letting her go out dressed like this.
Michelle Williams in boring-ass Louis Vuitton is making my point about short dresses and the Met Gala for me.
If you ever wonder why I hate on Marchesa so much, Katie Holmes’ over-the-top-awful gown is why. LOOK AT IT. IT HAS A DUST RUFFLE ON HER TITS. It’s so unflattering. The crazy housefrau hair isn’t helping, either.
Stella McCartney returns to (awful) form with a boring-ass pink dress on Reese Witherspoon. Everything about this look is calculated to land this American Citizen on People’s best dressed list, which is not the point of the Met Gala. Also, because Stella McCartney is mostly a horrible designer, the bust on the dress is not only oddly designed but it’s poorly constructed and is doing weird things to Witherspoon’s boobs.
Tory Burch shoes and accessories, yes; Tory Burch couture, no. Rashida Jones is making that abundantly plain.
Zac Posen For The Win
As the designer most directly influence by Charles James, it’s not surprising that Posen had the overall best night, with not a single bad look on the red carpet. He was the first designer I thought of when the theme was announced, and the red architectural ball gown worn by Sarah Silverman was the first dress I pictured at this event. Silverman is working the hell out of it, going with simple, almost severe styling, wisely letting that much dress stand on its own. Everyone in Posen looked amazing.
Men In Ties And Tails
Disappointingly, if unsurprisingly, the vast majority of men in attendance did not even attempt the white tie dress code for the evening, opting instead for traditional tuxes, or maybe a dinner jacket if they were feeling bold. So here are the best of the few men who actually bothered going for white tie. Of course, most of them are British, but bonus points to Bradley Cooper for going all out even though he’s looking pretty rough these days for a role. And no points for Matt Bomer for not wearing a proper jacket, but he’s probably an angel so he gets a pass.