The biggest night in fashion took place in New York on Monday night. Yes, it was the return of the Met Gala. It seemed to come around again quickly but the anticipation to see what everyone would wear was as great as ever. Like I said in my post last year, I love the Met Gala because it is often when designers are at their most creative and daring and when fashion and art truly cross-over.
The exhibition and theme this year was Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between. It’s the only time the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art have curated an exhibit on a living designer since 1983. With Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garcons as the focus, it invited the attendees to explore avant-garde fashion, to play with masculine vs. feminine, to experiment with shape and construction. While there were a lot of lovely dresses on show, it was a bit disappointing as it seemed like more than ever many didn’t even try to nod towards the theme. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment as a spectator but it did strike me that most opted for pretty instead. My favourites of the night definitely reflect this as the women who did reference Kawakubo and CdG, whether by actually wearing one of her designs (only a handful did this) or if their look was clearly inspired by them, were the ones who really stood out for me.
Rihanna of course takes the top spot. She was mine and many others (just check social media) absolute favourite of the night. Rihanna has such impeccable and innate style in general but when it comes to the Met Gala she really pulls out all the stops every year she attends. I love her continual commitment to the theme, and this time it not only stood out individually but when compared with most others, Rihanna’s choice of attire was even more noteworthy, not least because she actually wore Comme des Garçons! Also major points have to be awarded for the perfect styling of this look too – no easy feat with something this unique.
Katy Perry was one of the co-chairs for the Met Gala this year and she made sure to prove why she was the right choice. While perhaps unusual for a co-chair to not wear something by the designer being honoured, this custom Maison Margiela look was definitely fitting. It made a statement for all the right reasons and you can clearly see the influence of Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons in the design too. The whole look is avant-garde but specifically the ruffles, veil and use of the colour red can all be seen in several CdG collections. The ornamental and embroidered elements of the headdress added Katy Perry’s signature quirk to this Maison Margiela creation.
I have long been a fan of Solange Knowles’ style. The way in which she always seems to bring something new yet authentically her to what she wears is continually impressive. Her look on Monday night was no exception. This Thom Browne ensemble was striking in its difference and there were several aspects to it which were reminiscent of CdG without losing the Thom Browne-ness of it all. The masculine influence, architectural shoes and oversized cuffs are all synonymous with Rei Kawakubo’s designs.
This beautiful Gucci dress proves that black on the red carpet does not mean boring. It also shows another side to the Italian fashion house as this differs from their usual red carpet looks. The romantic and maximalist nature of Dakota’s gown are key features of Alessandro Michele’s Gucci but by abstaining from embellishment and being solid black in colour, it feels fresh and sets it apart from their other big-event dresses. The rosette-like ruffles are well-balanced and so don’t overwhelm Dakota, while also being a nod to Comme des Garçons.
Zoe Kravitz looked truly stunning on Monday night. She managed to simultaneously look modern and like she was from another era (aka. major Audrey Hepburn vibes). This was created by the pale pink and black colour combination and the silhouette of the gown respectively. The black on the capelet and bust added texture to the dress and gave it edge to stop it looking too delicate or dated. Classic and cool to match Zoe herself. Another detail that lends itself to the avant-garde is that the roses on the front of the dress are real.
Priyanka Chopra has quickly become one-to-watch when it comes to the red carpet but she excelled herself at her first Met Gala. This Ralph Lauren trench dress with dramatic train made an impact as it was totally unexpected and completely unlike what anyone else was wearing. It is simple in some ways – the fact that it is a classic trench coat and camel in colour, but the enlarged collar and train and bold styling (ankle boots, Jennifer Fisher earrings and artfully undone hair) elevated that and created a memorable look.
I do enjoy Olivia Cooke on Bates Motel but to be honest I was surprised to see her at the Met Gala. However it turned out to be a pleasant surprise because she looked gorgeous. The dress is very pretty but it does have a clear reference to the theme due to the ruffled, lace sleeve and the asymmetry it creates. I also like that amongst the many red dresses seen on Monday night, Olivia’s Burberry gown is a slightly darker, richer shade.
Adwoa Aboah is the model of the moment and for her second Met Gala she chose Conner Ives, a relatively unknown London designer. It was a bold move that paid off. The deconstructed style of this dress is appropriate for the theme of the night while also suiting her own personality and style. I like how it mixes the more masculine suiting elements with very feminine lace details and pink, almost princess-like Manolo Blahnik shoes. The mismatched earrings and rings add edge and mirror her cool-girl aesthetic.
I can’t resist a woman in a great suit and Aymeline Valade in Marni certainly fulfills that and more. The combination of colours, the embellishment and the silhouette of this suit all just really work in my opinion. Women in suits on the red carpet is not uncommon but this is an elevated version worthy of the Met Gala. It is by no means ordinary and it stood out on Monday night amongst the sea of pretty dresses.
Like with Aymeline Valade’s suit, this look is perhaps only one that a model can pull off. Julia Nobis wore a Calvin Klein look which was certainly distinct from the others on the red carpet. Every element of her ensemble played with asymmetry; from the oversized shirt partially tucked to the American flag skirt with one flowing side to the opposite embellishment on the straps of her shoes. Not completely casual, not your typical Gala wear but wholly an interesting and individual look.
Listen, I love Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds and I thought Selena Gomez and The Weeknd were really sweet but I have to give coolest couple to Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. They both looked very stylish, cool and modern and I liked how her suit and his kilt played with gender. Plus, I think it’s important as a couple on the red carpet that you look just as good on your own as you do with each other, and Keri and Matthew were a great example of this.
Finally, there were some details, from hair to make-up to styling choices, at the Met Gala that I couldn’t leave out of this list. Zendaya showed that big hair is beautiful, Brie Larson and Cara Delevinge went matchy-matchy with their hair (or just head) and outfits with gold and silver respectively, Thandie Newton channeled avant-garde via a hair bouquet, Lily Aldridge mixed strong and delicate by pairing bold brows with a fuchsia veil and Grace Hartzel was on her own, brilliant level.