Often referred to as the “Oscars of the East Coast,” or indeed “The Oscars of Fashion,” the 2015 Met Gala in New York on Monday was attended by A-list celebrities wearing outfits planned since the invitations first went out.
Trends were body-conscious and sumptuous sculptural silhouettes; dramatic cut-out details and embroidered, crystal-beaded, sequin and feather embellishments. Highlights included Sarah Jessica Parker’s unique Philip Treacy red-and-silver flame headpiece and an H&M custom black satin gown; Rihanna’s embroidered saffron-colored satin wrap with fur-edged train by Chinese designer Guo Pei; and Lady Gaga’s feather-fringed silver lattice and black satin kimono by Balenciaga.
The theme “China: Through the Looking Glass” was followed by guests who chose gowns mainly in red, black, white, silver and gold, with a few chosen pieces in turquoise, pink, purple and emerald. The appearance of poppies recurred on Anna Wintour’s gorgeous embroidered brocade Chanel gown; Poppy Delevingne’s red silk gown with appliquéd bodice by Marchesa; Lizzie Tisch’s brocade dress by Erdem; Jennifer Lawrence’s Christian Dior Couture sheath dress; and Sarah Jessica Parker’s H&M gown with embroidered train.
Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian stunned in daring “almost there” designs by Atelier Versace, Givenchy and Peter Dundas for Roberto Cavalli, respectively.
Other notable pieces were Amanda Seyfried’s layered embroidered cream silk by Givenchy, Alexa Chung’s by Erdem in dusky pink brocade; FKA twig’s by Christopher Kane with appliquéd entwined figures; Kerry Washington’s beaded pale pink satin by Prada; Wendi Murdoch’s qipao in gold-embroidered deep violet silk by Oscar de la Renta; Katy Perry’s by Jeremy Scott for Moschino emblazoned with graffiti; and Bee Shaffer’s in mulberry and white cherry blossom with cream embroidered train by Alexander McQueen.
Many wore lacquer red inspired by the theme of the night, including Amal Clooney in a stunning dress with studded corset and satin layered flounced skirt by John Galliano for Maison Margiela; Helen Mirren in lace by Dolce & Gabbana; Zendaya in Fausto Puglisi’s sun-embroidered satin gown with train; Rose Byrne in studded lace by Calvin Klein Collection; Jessica Hart in Valentino’s intricately beaded gown; and Rita Ora in paneled, fitted satin qipao by Tom Ford.
As well as the bold individual creativity, there was plenty of elegance, with stars who dressed purely to look fabulous. Jessica Chastain, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway shimmered in golden gowns by Givenchy, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren, respectively. Sofia Vergara looked gorgeous in Marchesa, and Naomi Campbell and Keri Russell wore iridescent feathered creations by Burberry and Altuzzara.
Absences included Karl Lagerfeld, Gisele Bundchen, Tilda Swinton and Kristen Stewart, who were at the diary-clashing Chanel Cruise Show in Seoul, South Korea.
“China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibition
The Met Gala marked the grand opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute annual exhibition, which runs from May 7 to Aug. 16.
The exhibition was previewed in Beijing on Jan. 8 with a selection of pieces at the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City and attended by Anna Wintour, curator Andrew Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, the exhibition’s artistic director, filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, and members of the Chinese media.
“Ever since the silk trade between China and the Roman Empire blossomed in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries, China has been a rich source of inspiration for the West,” Bolton said in a film recorded at the Beijing opening.
The museum has been celebrating 100 years of the Asian Art Department, and the actual show is exhibited in both the Anna Wintour Costume Center and the Met’s Asian Galleries.
Bolton has been curator at the Costume Institute (now the Anna Wintour Costume Center) for 12 years and collaborated with Maxwell K. Hearn, chairman of the Asian Art Department, for this exhibition.
The exhibition centers on China’s influence on Western fashion through displays of original paintings, jade, bronze, lacquer and porcelain alongside 150 costumes by more than 40 designers. Incorporated in the show are scenes from films by groundbreaking Chinese directors Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Ang Lee and Wong Kar-wai.
“I am excited about this partnership between these two forward-thinking departments, which will undoubtedly reveal provocative new insights into the West’s fascination with China,” Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Met, said in a press release. “The artistic direction of acclaimed filmmaker Wong Kar-wai will take visitors on a cinematic journey through our galleries, where high fashion will be shown alongside masterworks of Chinese art.”
“William Chang and I are pleased to be working in collaboration with The Costume Institute and the Asian Art Department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on this exciting cross-cultural show,” Wong said in the museum’s press release.
John Galliano’s designs for Christian Dior’s Spring 2003 Haute Couture collection are featured in The Astor Court in a vignette dedicated to Chinese Opera. Many of his collections for Christian Dior were inspired by China.
“I visited the Bejing Opera and was invited backstage, where I witnessed the preparations for the performance,” Galliano said in an interview with Bolton for the exhibition’s accompanying book published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “It was incredible, the tradition, the ceremony, the layers of clothing wrapped and crisscrossed with string. We photographed everything … the visuals were mesmerizing.
The gala is the Anna Wintour Center’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions and capital improvements. Gala tickets cost US$25,000 and last year raised almost $12 million.
Wintour, U.S. Vogue’s editor in chief and Conde Nast’s artistic director, who chaired the gala every year since 1995, has co-hosted every year since 1999. Last May, the Costume Institute was renamed “The Anna Wintour Center.” This year’s honorary chair was Silas Chou, with co-chairs actors Jennifer Lawrence and Gong Li, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, producer Wendi Murdoch and Wintour.