Last night's Met Ball — aka the Oscars of the East Coast, aka Anna Wintour's baby, aka the fanciest red carpet in all of New York — brought out the models, the editors, and the actors to celebrate the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new Alexander McQueen show.
Taylor Swift looked, to my eye, a little old and severe in this beige-and-black-lace confection, with all its cantilevered panels and extra fabric.
Blake Lively opted, for whatever reason, for a bedazzled nude bodysuit and a toga.
Renee Zellweger's Carolina Herrera was one of the nicer beige dresses of the evening. She avoided plumber's crack (or total dress defenestration) with an illusion panel that was sewn into the deep-V in back.
Posing with a smile next to the designer who's dressed you can be fraught — especially when they've given you an ill-fitting, side-boob-tastic drop-waist sack dress in plainest white, as seen here on Dree Hemingway, or something made from a bit of leftover Magic Eye print, as Margherita Missoni visited upon Joy Bryant. But Diane Kruger, with Jason Wu, looks fantastic.
I like the minimalist idea behind Dree Hemingway's Calvin Klein dress from that last slide much better as it's expressed here, on Aerin Lauder. Dylan Lauren's green dress would be perfect with a few tiny tweaks — a properly cinched belt, and (what I assume must be) double-sided tape positioned so as not to pull the bias neckline out of alignment. And oh, what I would give to know what Yoko and Karl were talking about.
More beige! Ashley Greene pulls beige tulle and sequins off pretty well.
More beige! Shiny beige, matte beige, and beaded beige. Take your pick. Remember, fashion is about choices!
Beige! Emma Roberts looks nice though.
Beige beige beige beige beige beige beige beige beige beige beige beige beige.
But there were also plenty of red dresses, like this one worn by Doutzen Kroes.
Gisele, in Fall-Winter 2005 Alexander McQueen, knows she's hot.
Saoirse Ronan wore Rodarte, and Kristen Stewart actually didn't look like she hated us all for making her walk on this horrible red carpet, for once. I liked her Proenza Schouler dress, too.
Penelope Cruz and Rihanna definitely hopped the train-trend...train. And while Amber Valetta's black dress is lovely, what I really want to know is, who's that lady in the gold sequined disco suit behind her? She looks fun.
And...it's Iman! If anyone can and should wear a gold sequined disco suit to a black-tie event, it's Iman. Let us not speak of the Olsen. Marc Jacobs wore a kilt that was actually a Comme des Garçons tartan skort, while business partner and lawsuit target Robert Duffy went for the real thing.
Anna Wintour went for chevron Chanel — perhaps odd, considering the event was in honor of Alexander McQueen, but who's going to tell Anna Wintour what to wear? — while her daughter Bee Schaffer wore Balenciaga. Janelle Monae attended with a rocking hat, and Dodai's imaginary boyfriend Bruno Mars at her side. André Leon Talley's cape had a train. For when an ordinary cape isn't enough.
I want to reach into this picture and pull up Rumer Willis's black dress. And is that upholstery fabric? Michelle Williams' McQueen is one of the ball's best dresses.
Beyoncé went for the va-va-voom in a dress the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle. Kate Hudson opted for the shiny beige. Alicia Keys's get-up has me horribly conflicted: I suspect if she'd taken off that jacket, things would have gone much better.
Stella McCartney wore a sculptural, black-and-white dress that was like a series of parallel French curves. It made me wonder how she sat down. Daphne Guinness, whose much-ballyhooed Barneys window-dressing act took all of about eight minutes, went for McQueen — one of the few really dramatic McQueen pieces this red carpet saw. (Many of the most striking of his creations were in the museum show, and therefore not available for loan.) Lucy Liu weathered an explosion at the feather factory.
Guinness' gown was equally as impressive from behind. Vogue editor and couture collector Hamish Bowles escorted the heiress down the red carpet in a McQueen tartan jacket. Bar Refaeli's glitzy gown works well on her, and while Shalom Harlow's peplum dress will probably elicit strong opinions, personally I love its theatricality and embellishment.
Maggie Gyllenhaal's dress is fine but doesn't seem to lay right in the bodice.
Dakota Fanning's dress is a tad busy with all those flowers and Melania Knauss-Trump's makes me want to play connect the dots. Amy Poehler's '30s-inspired look is on my short list of the best looks of the night.
Christina Hendricks looks sadly less beautiful than she ought to in that ombré brown shiny thing with the weird sleeves. Also in a not so great dress is Kirsten Dunst. Donna Karan's red jersey gown is a great advertisement, as always, for her own aesthetic.
Personally, I love Solange Knowles's green-and-white printed dress. I love the simple silhouette and the very busy print, and I love that she didn't over-accessorize, and I love love love that the dress has pockets. But the hair in bunches on either side of her head is, as they say, a bold choice.
Evan Rachel Wood pulls off a plunging neckline well, and with its chiffon play of transparencies, the dress is quite lovely. Mia Wasikowska's Thakoon confection has a lot going on, but it's mostly going on in a fun way. And speaking of fun, Jessica Szohr is like Kristen Stewart's opposite: no matter how lame the event, she always looks like she's having such a good time. She probably grins to herself in line at Walgreens.
Then, there were some dresses that were just not so great. Lea Michele's is strangely ill-fitting, Ginnifer Goodwin's proportions are all off — the padded shoulders don't quite balance the padded hips (Gisele's photobomb is the only funny thing about this picture). Poor Freida Pinto, meanwhile, has been the victim of one of Karl Lagerfeld's most vicious practical jokes.
Paul McCartney noodled on the piano in the entrance hall. Nancy Shevell pulls off a nice dress in a lovely color (and one not seen much on this particular red carpet). Leighton Meester's dress verges on making her look trussed. Naturally, Angela Lindvall and Karlie Kloss look pretty stunning.
More models! Karen Elson's burnout velvet is gorgeous. Naomi Campbell wore one of the night's more daring McQueen looks. And Crystal Renn really nailed it with this dramatic black gown.
If Lily Aldridge isn't considering wearing this cream bias-cut gown for her upcoming wedding to that dude from Kings of Leon, I will question her taste. It's incredible! Anna Dello Russo looks like a matador-drum majorette, but fashion, which is to say she looks great. Chanel Iman has another of my personal favorite dresses from the night, not least because she's rocking a nice below-the-knee hemline. Chic and simple.
Serena Williams's dress has a lot of pomp and circumstance in that capacious skirt, but I love the fascinator. DVF gets to wear a caftan covered in hearts if she wants; she's DVF.
Fergie skews entirely too '80s bride. Amy Adams just looks boring, and Chloë Sevigny...is in classic Chloë Sevigny mode, I guess.
Florence Welch's huge white fur looks cozy. Dammit.
Thandie Newton looks hot, but can we talk for a minute about that laser-cut neoprene contraption Olivier Theyskens made? Apparently it emitted a rather strong burned-fabric smell.
More models! Brooklyn Decker somehow pulls off head-to-toe hot pink by keeping her accessories and makeup very simple. Lily Donaldson opted for navy blue lace. And as for Karolina Kurkova...let's just not go there. (I wish she hadn't.)
J.Lo went for bright Gucci.
Christina Ricci wore Zac Posen. Unfortunately.
The few guests who did attempt colors other than beige, cream, white, red and black were some of the best-dressed. Coincidence? You decide. I dug how Vera Wang looked like, as a friend of mine put it, the chicest Coachella attendee ever. Keri Washington's 70s-style cut-out dress was perfect — what Ginnifer Goodwin's similar look should have been. And Zoe Saldana, in yellow Calvin Klein, looked damn near perfect.