Best Dressed And Not-So-Favorites: Met Gala 2015

We were nervous about this year’s Met Gala theme. Nervous because the theme was China: Through The Looking Glass, which seemed like an open invite for questionable or racist or racistly questionable outfits. Fortunately, most attendees stayed on the right side of homage versus appropriation. That’s why our best dressed list contains only attendees who followed our handy guide for how not to be a racist idiot at the Met Gala. Now on to the fashions – with not a single geisha costume or hair chopstick in the mix!

Fan Bingbing in Christopher Bu

American audiences might only be familiar with Fan Bingbing from the X-Men series, but she’s been performing in China for close to two decades, and with a recent deal with 20th Century Fox we may be about to see a lot more of her. This gold gown with elaborate emerald-green cape is my top look of the night – a modern, formal, lavish take on Chinese design. I want that cape framed and hung on my wall, because it is absolute art.

Beyonce in Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci

The best way to avoid offending anyone at a gala with a theme that’s practically asking you to make it racial: wear something that has little, if anything, to do with the theme. Also, be Beyonce. It always helps to be Beyonce. Bey wore a Givenchy gown… or, I guess, some Givenchy clusters of strategically placed sequins. Daily Mail said that the jewels were “protecting her modesty,” because the Daily Mail is the fussy English grandmother I never had. Beyonce followed our rule of “interpret the exhibit” by choosing a broad, flat shoulder and fitted cut (um, very fitted?) that is slightly reminiscent of some modern takes on the cheongsam. Which means she also followed our rule “know your Chinese influences” by not showing up in some sort of weird kimono.

Rihanna in Guo Pei

Oh my goodness, yes. The Met Gala dress code not only requires attendees to wear full evening dress but, as a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum Of Art’s Costume Institute, it allows the guests to play dress up. Stars can wear more creative ensembles than at major awards shows, but their creativity has to be tempered by better taste than at, say, the MTV awards. In other words, if you cannot wear a fur-trimmed yellow cape and bejeweled headpiece at the Met, there is simply nowhere you can wear it. Rihanna followed our suggestion of celebrating a Chinese designer Guo Pei. You can read more about her here. And yes, this dress has already spawned 1,000 memes. Good job, internet.

Anne Hathaway in Ralph Lauren

Now for something completely different. It sort of looked like Anne Hathaway was taking Star Wars Day (May the 4th, obviously) to heart – but in the best way possible. Sure, this Ralph Lauren gown is more restrained than Rihanna and Beyonce’s looks, but you still don’t get much of a chance to wear a hood on the red carpet. Could “it has a hood!” become the new “it has pockets?”

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in Vintage John Galliano

The Olsen twins took a broad interpretation of the theme, dressing as the ghosts of two old Chinese widows from the past. But seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen MK&A in matching outfits since the early 2000s, and I love that when they finally do it they both wear these giant black numbers. From what I can tell Mary-Kate paid tribute to the theme by wearing silk brocade, typical in traditional Chinese dress. Ashley looks sort of like Stevie Nicks in Victorian mourning dress, and I’m not making fun of her when I say that. I swoon over designs from The Row just about every fashion week and I love the 180 the Olsens have taken since their days in matching denim sunflower hats.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Atelier Versace

So, what’s Chinese about this dress? That’s not a rhetorical question, I’m really wondering what’s Chinese about this dress. Grandma Daily Mail says that she “stuck to [the theme] and ran with” it. I suppose the swooping lines and minimalism is a bit reminiscent of modern Chinese design – I’m thinking of streamlined yet flowing interior design, more than anything. I don’t know. It’s pretty, though.

Amal Clooney in John Galliano

There was a lot of red last night. I assume it was a tribute to the Chinese flag, the importance of red as a lucky color in China, and those stunning Chinese wedding dresses. That’s why this tiered gown didn’t feel TOO off-theme, even if it wasn’t explicity Chinese. The skirt is really blowing my mind here, even if the structured, studded bodice isn’t necessarily my favorite.

Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan Atelier

Janis Ian, killing it. The drape of this is just perfect, and the embroidered silk pays tribute to the theme without going into costume mode. A lot of folks missed a real opportunity to play with the theme in their accessories last night, but these tassel earrings are amazing. I really wish I owned this dress and also had someplace to wear it (Met tickets are only like $25,000, I’m sure I could come up with it??).

Allison Williams in Giambattista Valli Couture

Allison Williams: Met Gala 2015

Here it is again. Red and cheongsam-style sleeves – just enough tribute to Chinese design without straight-up appropriating traditional dress. I know Allison Williams does the princess dress thing a lot, and sometimes it can seem like a larger version of something a very fancy nine-year-old can wear, but I think that the demure and sweet look works for Allison and she knows it.

Hey, You Tried Something

As I said, the Met Gala is a time to wear outlandish, elaborate looks that just wouldn’t fit in most scenarios. While I wasn’t particularly feeling any of the looks below, at least they really went for it, I guess?

Kim Kardashian in Peter Dundas for Roberto Cavalli

Is it just because I’m not a huge fan of Kim K? Not sure, but something about this wasn’t working for me.

Sarah Jessica Parker in H&M

I know I said it’s a good time to go over-the-top. And I know that SJP is usually the belle of the Met Ball. And I love that this collection uses sustainable fabrics! The look as a whole isn’t my favorite, but she looks like she’s having a blast which makes it that much more fun for the rest of us.

Lady Gaga in Alexander Wang

It IS Lady Gaga. And Alexander Wang is an American of Taiwanese descent. And the sleeves are maybe a modern take on a hanfu (but it kind of reminds me of a Japanese haori??). So I have every reason to like this, I just don’t. It’s me, not the dress, probably.

 Kerry Washington in Prada

We LOVE Kerry Washington. And when she nails an outfit, she NAILS it. I’m just over this high-low thing and this particular shade of pink isn’t my favorite. Hair and face, though? Flawless as ever.

Katy Perry in Moschino

I almost feel like she bought this for the punk-themed Met gala in 2013. Even if I were into the dress, the spraypaint can clutch takes it from costume in a fun, classy, celebratory way to costume in a “My Mom Found A Costume For Graffiti In American Girl Magazine” way. I don’t know if it’s new, but short hair suits her.

Solange Knowles in Giles Deacon

On one hand, I love Solange’s style even more than Beyonce’s usually. And I think this is supposed to be the dress inspired by a Chinese fan, which is really fun. But on the other hand, I don’t enjoy looking at it.

Chloe Sevigny

Chloe reminds me of Mary Kate Olsen. Do they look disheveled, or is the way they dress so high-concept that I’m too simple to get it (probably)? But that doesn’t change that this looks like two Chinese robes from a public market vendor sewn together – in a way that doesn’t fit.

Justin Bieber

I don’t like you and I don’t like how you look, which is like Zach Morris’s long-lost torero cousin.

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Emmy Awards 2014: Best & Worst Dressed

Day 2 of our Back to TV Week, and we’re doing a follow up of the biggest night in TV. With another year, another Emmys down, and after capturing all of the shenans that happened last night on our blog (relive the magic here!), we’re giving our two cents on the looks that wowed us and the ones that made us maybe vom in our mouths a little. The trend was definitely red and white, and it makes me think everyone just wanted to pay homage to Game of Thrones and The Red Wedding. Get it? Red? White? Oh boy. Here are our choices for best and worst dressed. What are yours?

Molly’s Picks

Best Dressed

Amy Poehler in Theia

So, we’re all 5’2 here, right? No, just us and Amy Poehler? It’s hard to look like a beautiful shimmering statue when you’re on the shorter side but I think it’s safe to say Amy pulls it off here. I’m glad beachy waves have stuck around for another season because I’m not bored of them yet.

Alllison Williams in Giambattista Valli Couture

You can say that Allison Williams always plays it ind of safe and Disney Princess-y. But you can also say that she knows what works for her and sticks to it – and whenever actresses swing and miss on the red carpet, isn’t it because they failed to do just that?

Michelle Dockery in Rosie Assoulin

I love how this is colorful without being clowny, and young without being silly, and sophisticated without being stuffy. Another actress who knows what works for her and usually sticks with it.

Kiernan Shipka in Antonio Berardi

And on to the most consistently well-dressed actress working today! If this were gown-length it would have been awesome on an adult actress, but the length keeps it young. Hard to believe that Sally Draper will be driving legally before too long.

Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan Atelier

While I’m trying to have as little overlap as possible on our lists so we can talk about as many dresses as we can – I cannot talk about the best dressed of last night without mentioning Lizzy Caplan. Today, as in Mean Girls, she deserves to be much more well-known than she is, but based on how she looked last night I don’t think that will be a problem for very long.

Honorable mention: Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Carolina Herrera – only not on my list because you’ll get to look at her later on.

Worst Dressed

Lena Dunham in Giambattista Valli

As I said in the live blog, Lena Dunham looks like she would do roller derby here. I think that Lena’s not an unattractive lady (and talented to boot!) but I often wish her clothes would be tailored better and that she’d stand up a bit straighter. Grandma, out.

Katherine Heigl

Grandma, in. Matronly and flesh-colored: not the best combo.

Laura Prepon in Gustavo Cadile

Has this entire summer been a plot to turn Alex Vause fans into Poussey Washington fans? Because it’s working.

Kerry Washington in Prada

I still can’t decide if this is truly among the worst, or just confusing. It looks like two entirely different, non-coordinating dresses at once. I cannot imagine being so beautiful that you can squander a major dress-up event like this on a weird dress because you know you have a whole lifetime of chances to look flawless ahead of you.

Mayim Bialik

A Fox News headline said Mayim wanted to look “hot and holy” – which considering the source, may be the exact opposite of the truth. Mayim’s into modesty, and that’s fine, but I think she could’ve erred a bit more towards the “hot” side of the equation and still been dressed appropriately.

Traci’s Picks

Best Dressed

Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan Atelier

LIZZY. FREAKING. CAPLAN. I am in love with this look. The cut, the train, the hair, the makeup, everything. Lizzy isn’t exactly one of those actresses you think of when it comes to hitting home runs on the red carpet – mainly because she gets overlooked by ‘bigger celebrities’. But with an Emmy nomination to her name and this home run dress, she won’t be forgotten from now on.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Carolina Herrera

Hi. This woman is 53 years old. Like Lizzy, this entire look from head to toe is perfect. Up close (in pictures, obvs), this dress is a raspberry color, and her simple makeup reflects the same rosy color. Also the straps on the gown are patent leather, and so sick in the back. Definitely Emmy winner worthy.

Taylor Schilling in Zuhair Murad

While Taylor didn’t win, she certainly dressed as if she was going to. The symmetrical jeweled pattern all over the dress are to die and she looks like a fab Greek goddess.

Sarah Hyland in Christian Siriano

Sarah Hyland is usually a ‘meh’ dresser at awards shows for me. Like everything she picks is not horrible, but it’s not the best either. This however is the best thing I’ve ever seen her in. Designed by Project Runway winner Christian Siriano, this crop top matched with a flowing skirt is the perfect young adult look for Sarah, who is 23 IRL but plays like 19 on Modern Family. Again from her perfect bun to her makeup and accessories this is definitely one of the best from the night.

January Jones in Prabal Gurung

Attention ladies: this dress has POCKETS. Also, the skirt makes it look like Betty Draper is floating on air.

Honorable Mentions: Amy Poehler aka Beyonce aka Amy Pueblo in Theia and Anna Chlumsky in Zac Posen

Worst Dressed

Sarah Paulson in Armani Prive

Oh Sarah Paulson. I love you girl but… what? This looks like the top of a Philip Treacy fascinator exploded onto a black gown.

Laura Prepon in Gustavo Cadile

I get that Laura Prepon is a Scientologist (said in hushed tones), but even this is too outer spacey for the Emmys.

Lena Headey  In Rubin Singer

Ok, so this is another example of styling gone wrong. The dress itself is not horrible. It’s a little drab, but okay. But then the shoes look way too clunky on her. And her Pixie hair looks too tussled like she didn’t even try. Also where are the accessories?

Julianne Hough in Dsquared

I don’t understand why such a pretty girl like Julianne Hough usually chooses horrible dresses for awards shows (to her credit, she looked great at the VMAs on Sunday). She needs to get a new stylist because this is just not working. The dress, while it looks like a paper towel draped over her person, is not the WORST thing in the world, but matched with white pumps and messy hair, and a random green clutch, it just doesn’t go together.

Lena Dunham in Giambattista Valli Couture

Lena, Lena, Lena. It’s no surprise she’s on this side of the list. But here’s the thing about this look: A) she’s posing as if she’s doing a cover shoot for like Paper magazine B) The hair. It’s not even the blonde, it’s the cut of it. C) The top looks like something she (or bf Jack Antonoff) would wear, but paired with the skirt it looks a little weird. Something like this is what I think she looks great in, so maybe stay along those lines? Still thing you’re great, Lena.