It's A Bird! It's A Plane! No, It's Anna Wintour's Dress

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute's annual gala: Oh, it happened all right. And though you now know who made it into the the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly category of "fashion's Oscars," we know you're just dying to know what the media themselves had to say about the yearly orgy of fashion and fame. (At the very last you're dying to know what hoity-toity critic-types had to say about Anna Wintour's Princess Amadala outfit, right? Right.) The best of the press' bon mots, after the jump.

The trouble with last night's party at the Met, if I may speak frankly, is that it was a little like being sucked into a sequined wind tunnel. It started with a little breeziness before the superhero displays—Oh, hey, Narciso and Claire! Hi Liya! Alessandra! Isaac! Diane! Tom!—and then, suddenly, people seemed to be flying around the room....But I thought Anna Wintour looked great in her Chanel dress—fantastical fashion....And though I didn't see Victoria Beckham until later, in pictures, her lace Armani coat dress was definitely a look—Hollywood grandeur with a wink. Zac Posen and his date Kate Mara, in outfits painfully inspired by Superman, get the try-harder award. I'll be interested to know who you all thought looked super—and not.
— Cathy Horyn, "On the Runway"
One could probably read as many metaphors about the transformative power of fashion in the silver-sequined, elaborately padded Chanel gown that Anna Wintour wore to the Costume Institute gala on Monday night as one could in Superman's cape, which happened to be hanging in a gallery down the hall. The floor-length dress had curiously curling crescents attached at the hips and the shoulders, giving Ms. Wintour, the Vogue editor and overseer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Party of the Year, the fuller-bodied appearance of Botticelli's Venus on her clamshell. She seemed to be broadcasting a message of total earthly control. (Or it could have been that all the Vogue assistants standing along the way to Ms. Wintour's receiving line had been strictly instructed not to speak to anyone, not even to people they recognized, or that so many guests were unusually prompt.) With this year's gala titled "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy," Ms. Wintour pointed out that she was Storm, the "X-Men" character. "I control the weather," she said.
— Eric Wilson, New York Times
Blake Lively wore black gloves and a snug black Ralph Lauren gown involving feathers. She said that her favorite superhero was "Spider-Man. Cause he's awesome! He gets to swing around, and, I don't know....I've always seen pictures growing up, being a teenager, and thought, 'I'd love to go to that, a night just to dress up in ball gowns.' And here I am!"...Vogue editor and hostess Anna Wintour was the first to arrive, at 6:33 p.m., wearing a Chanel gown adorned with what appeared to be seahorse tails and accompanied by daughter Bee Shaffer, who required two men, including the formidable Vogue editor at large André Leon Talley, to carry the train of her voluminous blue Nina Ricci dress up the stairs....Designer Phillip Lim came with teenage model-of-the-moment Chanel Iman,..."I've been here last year, and this is her first time here, so she's the newbie...it's a lot of pressure."
— Meredith Bryan, New York Observer
It was a silver moment for Julia Roberts, wearing a swoop-neck dress by Giorgio Armani, who underwrote the event. Her co-chairs were Clooney and Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, who wore a Superwoman creation by Chanel with snakes of padding at shoulders and thighs. Fashion's superheroes included Donatella Versace, who dressed Janet Jackson in a cut-away back dress, Karl Lagerfeld, wearing a sparkling silver jacket while he dressed Kate Bosworth in a multicolored patchwork of vintage Chanel; and Valentino, who was with the model Claudia Schiffer wearing a frilled blue dress from the retired designer's last collection....The cast of the newly revived "Hair" sang "The Age of Aquarius" and "Let the Sun Shine In." David Bowie, sitting with his wife, Iman, looked pained at this new rendition of the counterculture musical.
— Suzy Menkes, International Herald Tribune
[George] Clooney joked that he had wanted to dress as Batman, but the costume was already in the exhibition, so he settled for a midnight blue Giorgio Armani tuxedo. Anna Wintour, shimmering in silver cyber-couture, by Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, declared: "I stopped the rain"....The tennis star Venus Williams and American Vogue's editor-at-large, André Leon Talley, shared a red satin, super-cape for two that was custom-made by Chanel. The actress Scarlett Johansson wore a Dolce & Gabbana gown with a large diamond solitaire which announced her engagement to the actor, Ryan Reynolds. The designer Marc Jacobs confessed to wearing Superman underwear beneath his tuxedo....The "Superheroes" exhibition opens with a mirrored illusion of Clark Kent morphing into Superman and features radical catwalk creations by some of the world's top designers and comic book costumes from Hollywood blockbusters such as Spiderman and Batman.
— Hilary Alexander, Telegraph
It's the Oscars of the fashion industry, but if the looks on parade at Monday's Costume Institute gala in New York were anything to go by, that industry is in a sorry state of disarray. Hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour (in a Starlight Express moment, perhaps taking the superhero theme somewhat literally) and Giorgio Armani (looking as buff, relaxed and fashionably weathered as ever) the normally ultra-glamorous event fell flat as the proverbial pancake, where the frocks were concerned at least....how about Katie Holmes, who's clearly sharing a sunbed with her new best friend, Victoria Beckham? Someone really ought to have warned her that tomato red and orange is a challenging colour combination and that her razor-sharp bob is more Playmobil nurse than intergalactic heroine. And what of the aforementioned Mrs Beckham? Even by this particular fashion car crash's standards, her dress was disastrous. Nancy Reagan circa 1985, anyone? That cool-as-a-cucumber chignon, meanwhile, isn't kidding anyone. A Hitchcock heroine the artist formerly known as Posh most certainly is not.
— Susannah Frankel, Independent
Armani dressed Clooney and Roberts. "He asked me very sweetly if I'd be his date," Roberts, wearing a platinum Giorgio Armani Privé gown, said about the designer, who also outfitted other A-list celebrities, including Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Beyoncé Knowles and John Mayer....Clooney was taking it all in stride. "I get to have a drink. It's easy for me," he said. As for the superhero theme, he said he had a favorite when he was a kid: "Well, you know, I loved one that no one ever talks about, the Green Hornet. He was really cool." [Thandie] Newton, in a short dress in black lace with a long cape, said, "I like this because it's one look — and two looks. She made up her own superhero inspiration. "I'm Love Woman," she said. "I wanted to do a bit of skin."
— Donna Freydkin, USA Today
"I think the secret of a good exhibition is when it happens very easily, which is what happened here," Anna Wintour told us of the Metropolitan Museum's Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy installation. We had many more looks in the exhibition than we could use, so [the idea] is obviously, once you start to look, really out there. It was largely Andrew [Bolton, the exhibition curator]'s vision that brought it all together but we've been very fortunate that at the same time," she added. "All these movies are coming out and the Olympics are coming up, so it all sort of came together."
— Lauren David Peden, Vogue UK
Holy Stars, Batman! It was a celeb-studded affair at the Metropolitan Museum on Monday night as the world's fashion elite and Hollywood heavyweights met on Fifth Ave. to kick off the Costume Institute's latest exhibit, "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy." And while the night's theme celebrated cat suits and unitards, the red carpet featured far more glam getups: Co-hosts Julia Roberts and George Clooney giggled together as they strolled in wearing Giorgio Armani. "I wore the dress because he made it for me," said Roberts, who gave the designer, who sponsored the evening with Vogue magazine, a hug....Fashion darling Zac Posen took the theme seriously, rocking out Clark Kent-worthy spectacles and revealing his own secret identity. "I worked here as an intern for three years," he said. "I got paid $60 to do the event."
— Jo Piazza, New York Daily News