Costume Institute Gala fashion roundup
When it comes to red carpet events, the Oscars are child's play compared to the annual Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum. Because not only does the event, spearheaded by Anna Wintour, draw designers, models, and fashion cognoscenti, it also attracts celebrities who feel the need to impress all the aforementioned fashion people--so instead of pandering to middle America, as they do at the Oscars, the celebrities take some true fashion risks here. Which, like most gambles, can either be a great success or a resounding failure. This year's major Costume Institute exhibit is devoted to Paul Poiret, the Art Deco-era Parisian designer who took women out of their corsets, lived a decadent lifestyle, and died penniless in the 1940s (the story of which, as Eric Wilson points out in this mega-snarky article, few of the celebrity attendees knew). So while many guests paid homage to Poiret in a vague, 1920s kind of way, others turned up in full-on randomness. Here are the good, the bad, and the fashion victims.

Overall favorites
With Jane Birkin as her mother and Serge Gainsbourg as her father Charlotte Gainsbourg automatically has instant fashion pedigree, but she's cool in her own right--it takes guts to rock this Balenciaga and pull it off as well as she does.

Claire Danes
's striking Prada dress is about a million times better than her "anything you can do, I can do better" Gap boyfriend khakis. Who knew?

She can make a paper bag (uh, or Gap boyfriend khakis) look good, but Jessica Stam, in to-die-for Dior Couture, out-models all the other models. Which is an accomplishment.

If only for wearing a $200 dress when some attendees' outfits cost 500 times that, Kate Moss deserves credit. And the dress isn't bad either.

Breaking up with Victoria's Secret seems to agree with Giselle. Or maybe she's just happy that she doesn't have to wear $49 poly-blend trousers ever again.

Short and long, as only models can do: Lily Donaldson & Daria Werbowy.

One of my favorite designers and one of my current favorite models: Jean Paul Gaultier & Coco Rocha, whose dress I'm not totally enamored with, but she's just so cute, I had to include her. JPG, on the other hand, gets points for his innovative tuxedo.

The designer of Burberry and the host of "So You Think You Can Dance," Christopher Bailey & Cat Deeley weren't the biggest names at the event, but if they aren't the perfect ad for cool Britannia, then I don't know what is.

I'm just happy to see her in something other than high-waisted jeans or pseudo-bohemian prints, so I'll let the fact that Mischa Barton's dress (with Giambattista Valli) is too small in the bodice, well, slide.

Dr. Lisa Airan, who always looks great, wins bonus points for actually wearing something by Poiret (the dress is by Rodarte).

In spite of the fact that she's Donald Trump's daughter, I have to admit, I really like Ivanka Trump--she's smart, she's well-adjusted, and she's not a skeletal socialite. I think she looks fabulous, and she gets props for wearing up-and-coming designer Jason Wu.

Having read this week's New York Magazine, I have a newfound appreciation for Tinsley Mortimer, who actually looks quite sexy in this Versace dress.

The couple that dresses together stays together (or something like that): L'Wren Scott & Mick Jagger, both in Balenciaga.

Indie-actor couple Alessandro Nivola & Emily Mortimer are so cute and were in two awesome, highly underrated movies--he was the sexy rock star in Laurel Canyon, she was the neurotic actress in Lovely & Amazing. I think their presence instantly makes the gala that much cooler.

Together again...well, Tom Ford & Carine Roitfeld aren't exactly a couple, but their creative partnership produced Gucci's glory years. Perhaps she can give him some pointers on his much-panned new store on Madison Avenue.

I used to say he peaked with The Virgin Suicides, but Josh Hartnett is looking good again. Now if he can just stay out of Lower East Side bar fights...

If Marc Jacobs (with Winona Ryder) looks this good after rehab, perhaps I should develop an alcohol problem. Promises Malibu, here I come!

First he appears in Us Weekly with a totally unexpected six-pack, and now John Mayer, with haircut, shows up at the Costume Institute gala. So hot, I'm almost willing to overlook that awful "Your Body Is a Wonderland" song. Almost.

I'm not exactly sure what qualifies Camilla Belle as a celebrity, but as long as she's in dresses as gorgeous as this one, I don't really care.

America Ferrera and several important tastemakers showed up in one of my favorite new designers, Phi. America's dress is flattering on her body, and for a lingerie-inspired look, not at all trashy.

Say what you will about Mary-Kate Olsen, I think she cleans up quite nicely. Bonus points for wearing feathers, which I think will be a huge eveningwear trend come fall.

Valiant efforts
Which one of these is not like the other? Cameron Diaz's dress was pretty and dramatic, but it didn't quite fit in with the vibe of the event. Still, I applaud her return to blonde.

I know her dress was panned all around, but Kirsten Dunst deserves credit in my book, because she really takes risks on the red carpet. Some, like this, are pretty much failures, but she gets an A for effort.

Sasha Pivovarova's Ungaro dress is short and youthful, and it has a vaguely Art Deco Pattern, all good things. However, just because you're a gorgeous model doesn't mean you can show up at a gala without makeup. A little effort, please.

Blatant misfires
My problem with Rose McGowan is not so much her boring gown but her face. Good god, how much Botox can a woman possibly take?

I love Parker Posey and I love Marc Jacobs, but I don't love the combination here, especially since it looks like Parker's beloved dog got a hold of this dress.

Was Lauren Davis being lazy, thinking she'd wear a chartreuse rendition of Reese Witherspoon's Oscar dress? And then was she not paying attention when she received the gown with mysterious appendages at the midsection?

Absolute worst
Fabiola Beracasa's Givenchy dress reminds me of those cheap paper decorations you hang on the ceiling at a 4-year-old's birthday party.

Julianne Moore's ill-fitting tuxedo dress is missing a top hat and cane, with which she could then bust out a rendition of "Le Jazz Hot." Oh, I get it--she's the evening's entertainment!

I see this picture of Jessica Simpson and the one word that comes to mind is cans. Which is not the word one wants to conjure at a fashion event. This is the Met, not Vegas. Watch it, or you might no longer be worthy of insta-hottie John Mayer!

1 comment

Anonymous said...

Oh god, Jessica, my eyes. WHY?!

My #1 look is Camilla Belle. She looks like a cool Cinderella. Emily Mortimer looks great as well. Julianne may have an unfortunate outfit but her hair is glorious! Kirsten looks pasty and nine months pregnant.

Oh, and it's Gisele with one "l" and I happen to love Victoria's Secret clothing.