Friday, May 11, 2007

Met Costume Institute Gala Fashion Best Dressed List

On Monday my boyfriend called me with a question.

"If you were invited to both the Met's Costume Institute Ball and the White House white tie dinner for Queen Elizabeth II, which would you choose?"

I thought for a second and made my decision.

"Costume Institute, hands down, no question."

He thought I was being ridiculous by choosing Anna Wintour over THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND, but let's be honest here... there's no question which party is going to be more fun. Sure it would be amazing to be in the presence of so many legitimately important and influential people, but who's going to shell out better gossip, Condi Rice or Andre Leon Talley? And who would I rather run into in the bathroom, Lindsay Lohan brushing coke off her dress or Lynn Cheney reapplying lipstick? I may be superficial, but I'm not stupid.

And while it's not very likely that I'll ever have the opportunity to attend a Costume Institute gala, I'm fascinated by the concept and can't help but be glued to the coverage of what New York Magazine called "a beyond-ostentatious union of Upper East Side money, Hollywood glamour, fashion and fine art." The only comparison is the Oscars, which only features Hollywood stars and fashions that lean on the boring side. But the Costume Institute gala's got it all- the actresses, models, designers, socialites, billionaires and the entire focus is on what they're wearing. It's the perfect event for anyone who watches awards shows just to ogle the dresses.

And in this day and age, where it's acceptable to wear jeans and t-shirts to the fanciest restaurants, you've got to admire an event where the punishment for not dressing to the nines and acting appropriately is getting on Anna Wintour's bad side, also known as the 4th circle of social hell. Everyone puts a ton of effort into choosing outfits, and unlike the awards shows, people are willing to take real fashion risks, so that even the worst dressed attendees are fun to watch.

But let's get down to business and talk about the fashion. I have to say that I was totally disappointed by the frocks at this year's gala. As always, there were a few gorgeous gowns, but overall the dresses leaned more toward the kooky, frumpy variety. I'll leave the worst dressed gowns to the Go Fug Yourself girls, but here are a few of the highlights of the best dressed attendees:

This is how you wear couture. Camilla Belle looks truly heavenly in this Jean Paul Gaultier gown (here's a close up of the bodice). I like that she kept her hair, makeup and jewelry fairly minimal, so as not to compete with the dress. Maybe I'm harboring some secret Cinderella fantasies, but this is my favorite gown of the night.

You might think that it's impossible to make a supermodel look bad, but Petra Nemcova took a risk with an unconventional gown and still outshone Giselle, Kate and a number of other A-list faces. I love that it's a little futuristic yet totally glamorous, a hard combination to pull off.

Life isn't fair when a woman who owns a famous candy shop can stay this thin and gorgeous. And don't you wish you could just call up your dad whenever you need a beautiful gown for a black tie affair? Dylan Lauren's dress is simple and chic, her hair looks amazing and she just looks very natural and happy.

Regular readers may be shocked to see Cam Diaz on any of my best dressed lists, as I normally HATE her style and think she looks like a mess at most red carpet events, but I gotta give her props for this outfit. This fuchsia gown is just a hair away from "over the top," but for an event of this magnitude, it really works. I'm ambivalent about the messy updo and turquoise jewelry, but she gets bonus points for looking better than we've seen her in years.

I was surprised to see so many jewel-toned gowns at a spring event, but I thought Christy Turlington's dress was totally spot-on, from the color to the shape and the graceful drapery. She looks stunning, but not at all like she spent tons of time trying to look perfect.

Who cares that Lucy Liu hasn't been in a good film since Kill Bill? If she's spent the last 4 years cultivating a relationship with Zac Posen, her hiatus was worth it. I don't remember her ever looking this good, hopefully the attention she's gotten from the event will help her get better roles.

Rose McGowan is not exactly a style icon (anyone remember this dress?) but I admire that she's a risk taker, and in the case of this ethereal gown, the risk paid off. I wouldn't expect a white gown to look good with her super-pale skin and black hair, but the contrast is dramatic and beautiful.

Narciso Rodriguez is one of my favorite red carpet designers, as he always knows how to make the most of any woman's body. In Julia Louis-Dreyfus's case, he creates a take on the ballerina dress, which looks soft, feminine and beautiful but still very grown up.

There were other gowns I liked that just didn't make my "best" list, such as: Ellen Pompeo, Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Hudson, Idina Menzel, Liv Tyler, Kerry Washington and Jessica Stam. To check out images of all the stars on the red carpet, check out Pop Sugar's coverage of the gala here.

Who were your favorites?


Anonymous said...

the queen of england vs THE QUEEN OF FASHION? no contest. oh and what the F was jessica simpson wearing? she doesn't even look human anymore. i love love loved renee's dress although her hair notsomuch.

Toya said...

It looks like the gown Petra is wearing is the same one Tracey Edmonds wore to the Oscars or Golden Globes (she was Eddie Murphy's date).

And, I'm with you. I'd die to be at the same party as as ALT and Anna. They're fashion royalty.

Anonymous said...

What a glamorous event! Imagine leading a life where you get invited to these sorts of events, and all the great designers throwing their best at you competing for some red carpet glory. I love how all of the stars kept their hair really simple in contrast to their over the top gowns. For me, I think great simple hair just completes the whole look. I'm glad a lot of the stars didn't opt for equally over the top hair to go with their gowns. I'm always a sucker for great hair. Speaking of great hair, I'm totally OBSESSED with this new show on Bravo called Shear Genius. 12 stylists compete for the top spot, it's like the Project Runway of hair. Check it out Wednesdays on Bravo at 10. Also, check out this website for a great contest
I work with them, so I know.

ambika said...

Kooky isn't really my thing either but I thought Irina L. did it well while Kirsten Dunst just looked a mess. Cameron D. was also one of my faves despite being on my list of actresses whose movies I avoid.