It’s the first Tuesday in May, and you know what that means – it’s Met Gala best dressed time! As we discussed yesterday, this year’s theme is a little different. Rather than a concept like China: Through The Looking Glass or Manus x Machina: Fashion In The Age Of Technology, or a fashion house whose founder has passed away, like Christian Dior, last night celebrated Rei Kawakubo, the 74-year-old Japanese founder of Comme des Garcons. If you’re not familiar with CDG, here’s your crash course:
- Rei favors avant-garde silhouettes. The most famous example is probably the 1997 “lumps and bumps” collection. It’s not unusual to have a large fabric protrusion, for example. The most recent collections have included heavily-constructed architectural looks with a lot of jutting angles and giant circular capes or skirts reaching as high as the model’s chin. For instance:
- While all colors have been represented in CDG collections, Rei’s signature is a bright scarlet red – she did a whole collection in the color in 2015.
With such offbeat influences, last night’s red carpet should have been a total blast. Unfortunately, it was more of a thud. We love a classically pretty dress at, say, the Oscars, but the whole fun of the Met Gala is in the theme, which a lot of attendees didn’t really adhere to. That’s why while there were other very nice gowns at the 2017 Met Gala, our best dressed picks are the looks that – while not always as visually appealing – represent the spirit of Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garcons.
Rihanna in Comme des Garcons
This is typical CDG, a mass of floral blobs snaking up to Rihanna’s chin, with what looks like a stiff bodice hanging off her leg. It’s the kind of creation that you don’t get to wear unless you’re a runway model and I’m glad Rihanna saved her safer, prettier looks for another night.
Tracee Ellis Ross in Comme des Garcons
Tracee’s sporting a more wearable CDG piece — still a conceptual fabric cocoon, but one that moves with her. Rei’s designs usually stretch the idea of what is beautiful and what is odd or grotesque, but the more I look at this, the more I think it’s straight-up delightful.
Rami Malek in Dior Homme
We’ve mentioned before that Rami is one of our male fashion favorites, and it comes down to his use of color and fabrics. This is a great example of how it’s possible to pay tribute to a designer without wearing them. This is the same shade of red that was all over CDG’s Spring 2015 runway and Summer 2015 ready-to-wear collections, and the black brooch echoes CDG’s blobby shapes. Yeah, I said blobby. Also, I know the phrase “impeccably tailored” gets thrown around a lot but it’s utterly warrented here.
Katy Perry in Margiella
This landed on a lot of Worst Dressed lists, but between the color and the avant-garde construction, I think it’s one of the best for this specific occasion. It’s CDG-influenced but not a knockoff — the filmy, lacy dress is less architectural than most CDG collections.
Solange in Thom Brown
Yes, this is pretty close to how I dress between December and March in upstate New York, but it’s also nice and on-theme, with the bubbly look being an homage to the inflated lumps and bumps-era CDG.
Julianne Moore in Calvin Klein By Appointment
Another fun dress playing off of a loose interpretation of CDG. I love the playful, feathery construction.
Lena Dunham in Elizabeth Kennedy
This made my list because it’s billowy and bulky -very Rei Kawakubo – but is more of a classic gown than you see out of Comme des Garcons; it’s a nice way to tie the theme into a slightly more ‘normal’ silhouette.
Halle Berry in Atelier Versace
I think maybe a good shorthand for how to add a touch of Comme des Garcons style would be to think sea creatures. Whether a bloated jellyfish or zebra mussels on a reef, something in most CDG collections reminds me of the wackier forms of underwater life. That’s what this gown does for me.