I slept less than four hours last night but I am absolutely gleeful this morning. (My evening started out at the Friars Club on East 55th Street – a New York institution – to celebrate the recent damehood of Joan Collins.) Despite the fact Midtown Manhattan was dreadfully impassable, the Met Costume Institute Gala was a sight to be relished. I had the privilege of attending several after parties and my fatigue is a mere remnant of the night’s glorious festivities. This year’s theme, China: Through the Looking Glass, created a sensational collection of vibrant and dazzling gowns donned by A-List celebrities who looked to the Far East for inspiration.
Why China and why now? Luxury brands are opening stores at unprecedented speed in Beijing and Shanghai. The fashion houses will be left out in the cold if they don’t pay homage to this expanding and highly lucrative market. Curated by Andrew Bolton, China: Through the Looking Glass opens to the public on May 7. The show explores the impact of China’s cultural heritage on designers past and present by combining fashion with artwork and historical costumes.
On Monday, May 4 the Metropolitan Museum of Art held their annual MET Gala. The evening, which is a fundraiser, also marks the opening of the Costume Institute exhibition. Make no mistake about it: Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, IS the MET Gala. No doubt she was pleased with the ruby reds, golds, sequins, embroidery, and see-through ensembles worn by invited celebrities. Wintour herself arrived in an orange-and-red floral couture gown from Chanel as she walked up the stairs to kick off the star-studded party.
Which film, music, fashion, TV and sports stars wore it best? Let’s commence the fashion showdown with those Chinese celebrities in attendance, including actress Gong Li, who displayed beauty and drama with a deep red velvet gown with black lace and a fan design. Celebrated film director Wong Kar Wai graced partygoers with his presence as the Met exhibit’s artistic director. Chinese actress Tang Wei radiated whimsy in a silver dress embedded with thousands of crystals.
In Chinese culture, the color yellow symbolizes royalty and power. (The first Emperor of China was known as the Yellow Emperor and China was often referred to as Yellow Earth.) Rihanna embraced her own royalty and power, donning a head-turning fur-trimmed yellow cape with floral swirls of gold and a train that needed several handlers to escort it up the storied stairs. China’s artistic influence on the West was never too far as Rihanna’s outfit came from Beijing-based designer Guo Pei. Actress and former SNL star Kristen Wiig embraced the evening’s color scheme too, wearing a flowing yellow chiffon number by Prabal Gurung, who accompanied her on the carpet.
Justin Bieber showed up in a black jacket slithering with gold dragons, by Balmain.
Beyoncé went for an ultra-sheer look in a Givenchy Haute Couture gown by Riccardo Tisci. The bodice was slightly reminiscent of the dress Halle Berry wore when she won the Oscar for Best Actress more than a decade ago.
J. Law (Jennifer Lawrence) dressed in Dior, with cherry blossom embroidery. Helen Mirren, Reese Witherspoon, and Rita Ora also opted for red frocks, the color of happiness, beauty, success, and good fortune.
Do you believe in love? Many people had a love affair with Cher’s sequined Marc Jacobs gown in gray and purple (it was Cher’s first appearance at the MET Gala since 1997, when she arrived with Donatella Versace) while the new toast of New York and newlywed Amal Clooney sported a tiered ruby-red gown by John Galliano for Maison Margiela. (Galliano has been trying to fall back into fashion’s good graces after spewing anti-Semitic remarks in 2011.) Katie Holmes and BFF Zac Posen arrived together, with the former Mrs. Cruise wearing one of Posen’s sparkly blue gowns with cutouts at the back.
It was a Kardashian/Jenner family affair at the Gala. Kim Kardashian selected a nude tulle dress with a feathery train by Peter Dundas for Roberto Cavalli. Fashion model Kendall Jenner wore a green – which symbolizes money in China – and lace number by minimalist Calvin Klein. Mom Kris was there, too (of course), in a bright red draped gown with a gold belt.
Sarah Jessica Parker, the actress who made fashion brands and buzzwords leap off the small screen in Sex and the City wore a custom Oscar de la Renta, one of her MET Gala go-to designers. She paired the gown with a towering red headpiece that resembled fiery flames. Designed by milliner Philip Treacy – another SJP favorite – the piece bore long red tassels on each side. SJP took Andy Cohen as her date, and the host of WWHL looked sharp in a navy Ralph Lauren suit accessorized with a red poppy corsage to match the detailing on Parker’s black dress.
J.Lo (Jennifer Lopez)
Last night I had a rip-roaring good time at the after parties. It is always a whirlwind to be among a sea of beautiful and intelligent Hollywood people who ooze star quality. Moreover, it is a complete joy to be around so many publicists, photographers, reporters, and entourages because I love talking shop with industry movers and shakers. You never know – your next project could come from Celebrity X’s publicist who is shopping a concept. As you can imagine, much business gets done at these after parties, which is why you have to be on your game.
Also, you must understand people at the after parties actually eat the hors d’oeuvres being passed around because they barely touch their dinner. The champagne flows freely and generally, everyone is in a good mood, there to mingle and have a good time. I can tell you firsthand celebrities are more gorgeous and spectacular in person. Their hair and makeup is always flawless and many of them are supremely interesting to talk to.
It was a night of a thousand stars, so I hope you grab your fashion gavel, join the conversation, and let us know what you think about the MET Gala and Red Carpet.
Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.