Awards season is over, and this time of year we cut out the middleman: instead of dressing up for the sake of film or music, at the Met Gala celebrities are dressing up to celebrate …. dressing up. The theme of the 2016 Met Gala: Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. Hooray! This theme is far less likely to produce accidentally racist ensembles than China: Through The Looking Glass (2015’s theme). Plus it’s basically asking everyone to wear weird techno cyborg shit, which sounds like an absolute blast if you ask me. The result: one of my favorite nights of Met fashion in the past several years.
Rita Ora in Vera Wang
The rest of the list is in no particular order, but this belongs at the top. I don’t even care about the feather duster comparisons that have shown up online. She looks like a beautiful silver peacock and I’m amazed. If I could make one alteration, I’d lose the cutout panel on the legs, which – believe it or not – is the only thing that might edge this look into “too much” for me.
Poppy Delevingne in Marchesa
Some gene pools are just prettier than others. But honestly, I can’t stop looking at this dress. This might be the first time I’ve been on board with the Fringe Revival 2K16.
Claire Danes in Zac Posen
Hold on, let me just dim the lights a bit.
Nicole Kidman in Alexander McQueen
Nicole Kidman, for me, lives in the same fashion neighborhood as Kerry Washington and Cate Blanchett – improbably beautiful, ethereal ladies who can pull off anything… but whose fashion gambles don’t always work for me. But this? This is some stars and moon, caped Stevie Nicks realness. She looks like the sky in an Edward Gorey illustration. Amazing.
Zayn Malik in Versace + Robot Arms
I don’t know if robot arms are “good fashion” or whatever but I do know that I laughed out loud in delight when I saw this. Solely because these “go-go-gadget solo career” arms are cracking me up, this is one of my favorites. Okay, Gigi Hadid looks pretty great in Tommy Hilfiger, too.
Tavi Gevinson in Coach 1941
I’ve been following Tavi since her early Style Rookie days, when she was just a typical preteen in a giant hat in the front row at NY Fashion Week. She’s come so far and done such great things that I can’t help but be as proud of her as if I had some sort of a personal stake in her success – like a really great little cousin, or something. Tavi has come a long way since her DIY Comme des Garcons outfits, into a more sleek adult style that’s still fitting of a young editor/ Broadway actress/ future queen of America.
Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace
In some photos, the cutouts are even more “wait, what exactly is going on here” and that’s why I love this. It’s like when your one friend gets a Cricut machine and starts making a bunch of weird paper art stuff. Like, did someone make this dress by folding it in half then snipping out shapes, snowflake-style? I hope so, because that’s the only way I could love it more.
Alessandra Ambrosio in Balmain
See: Hudson, above. I think some of the best Met dresses are the ones that would easily be a worst Oscars dress.
I’m not in any position to call any of these couture looks “bad,” and on a night when avant garde fashion is celebrated I don’t want to criticize anyone for taking risks. If not now, when? So instead, I’ll say that these were the looks that did not make my personal favorites list:
Selena Gomez in Louis Vuitton
First things first, Selena looks as beautiful as she ever has (which is: very). But is it just me, or is this more like a regular, H&M looking dress with a little leather thing on top? It did get more interesting when I scrolled down and saw the boots, and this is the closest out of any of last night’s looks to something I’d wear in real life, but I guess that’s just it. I don’t WANT to see something I’d wear in real life.
Beyonce in Givenchy
You know that tumblr meme about being a judge on Chopped and kicking people off because “it has mushrooms?” Which is so brilliant because on one hand it pokes fun at the poster for having arbitrary and “low-brow” tastes and criticisms, while on the other hand pointing out that all criticism is on some level arbitrary and based on personal preferences. Anyway. That’s me with anything bandaid-colored and latex-y. This is technically very good but I’m like “nah, looks like flesh-colored silly putty. Next.” As the internet was quick to point out, this looks like it was made of finest Becky Skins.
Lady Gaga in Versace
EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING from the waist up, even or especially her Mello Yello-colored 80s hair. But then I’m just bored of the no pants thing. But like, hard yes on everything other than her metallic undies. I almost want to put this on my best dressed list instead because, like Zayn’s robot arms, at least this is fun. Plus you always get bonus points if you really go for the theme, right? Yet my problem, I guess, is that the no-pants look is so expected for her that I wanted a departure.
Dakota Johnson in Gucci
It actually looks like there’s some great texture going on with the stars, but this is another “ew, mushrooms” pick for me: this particular kind of star shape, in these colors, reminds me of the Hot Topic looks that were around in the early-mid 2000s.