The Metropolitan Museum’s annual Costume Institute Gala may be the world’s greatest red carpet: It’s where celebrities dare to take risks in front of sartorial tastemakers such as Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and a host of fashion designers and models. Some of those risks pay off. Others weren’t quite worth the gamble — such as Beyonce’s choice of a sheer Givenchy gown with a purple train. The Style Blog reports:
When sheer dresses are done right, they become instant classics, like Halle Berry’s 2002 Elie Saab Oscars dress. When they’re done wrong — oh so wrong — they’re mocked on the Internet for years, as in the case of Rose McGowan’s 1998 MTV Video Music Awards Dress that left very little to the imagination. Beyonce’s black-and-sheer beaded dress with a purple ombre train falls in between.
Sheer dresses are a calculated risk on the red carpet. They’re sure to get you noticed, but maybe for all of the wrong reasons — and sometimes, that’s okay, too. Think about Cher’s 1988 Bob Mackie Oscar gown, which exposed even more than Beyonce’s Givenchy: It may have been on worst-dressed lists, but it was unforgettable — and it was the gown she wore to accept her Oscar, for “Moonstruck.”
Beyonce’s dress, admittedly, isn’t much skimpier than these — but its cluster of unflattering beading, which seems to resemble an abstraction of the human skeletal system, combined with the sheerness of the dress and the ombre skirt’s unfortunate resemblance of a Muppet’s pelt , altogether creates one seriously unflattering gown.
Though Beyonce’s dress was a miss, Celebritology’s Jen Chaney put Cate Blanchett’s feathered black gown at the top of her “Best Dressed” list. Wrote Chaney:
I mean, come on. Cate Blanchett doesn’t even make this a fair fight. I’d like to see Blanchett try hard someday not to look elegant and sophisticated and sublime. Because even if she gave it her best effort — even if she wore an aluminum garbage can with a huge butt bow attached to it — we’d all still say, “Cate Blanchett looks gorgeous, doesn’t she?” Because she does. Always.
Among her worst-dressed? Scarlett Johansson. “The beaded bodice of Johansson’s gown is pretty, but the droopy shoulders just make the whole thing look, well droopy,” she wrote.
The red carpet for this event is a particularly punishing one: Wrote Style blogger Maura Judkis, “The steps of the Met, which is where guests walk the paparazzi gauntlet, provide one of the most dramatic and demanding red carpet entrances of any event. Walking up them puts each dress on a pedestal as a work of art (and for those in precarious shoes, it offers additional challenges).”
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker agrees. She told the AP, “Well I think there’s something unique about these particular steps. Nothing more terrifying than these particular steps,” she said, escorted by Valentino. “But I think there’s a focus that’s different than a movie premiere. It’s about celebrating discipline and skill and celebrating this important museum.”
But even though actresses and musicians are celebrated here, the night is really about the designers (particularly Muiccua Prada and the late Elsa Schiaparelli, subject of a new exhibition in the museum) and the model muses who accompany them. The AP reports:
Unlike other big celebrity red carpets, where designers just want to hear the stars utter their names as the creators of their dresses, they are the A-list dates here. Michael Kors escorted Hilary Swank, wearing a red halter gown; Parker, in a metallic floral-print gown with long sleeves and belt, came with Valentino; and singer Lana Del Ray, cloaked in a long black cape, came with Joseph Altuzarra.
Jason Wu brought model Karlie Kloss, who wore a mostly hot-pink gown with an underlay of black beaded lace; Karolina Kurkova, in a rose-gold sequin gown and beaded cap, attended with Rachel Zoe; and Doutzen Kroes wore a one-shouldered, black-and-white gown as she walked arm-in-arm with Roland Mouret.
January Jones could have stopped traffic in her bright yellow custom Atelier Versace bustier gown, and model Coco Rocha also went the bright route, matching pink curls in her hair to the tank top she wore under a vintage taxi-yellow suit.
Check out our gallery of all of the best (and worst) red carpet looks here.