Best Dressed and Not-So-Favorites: Met Gala 2016

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.

Best Dressed

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.

Least Favorites

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.

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Coachella 2014 Fashion Wrap-Up

Pull out your 90s jumpers and flower crowns. Lace up your Doc Martens. Grab your dry shampoo, but probably leave that Hipster Indian Headdress at home (it’s kinda offensive, you know?). It’s Coachella season!

The festival is over now, but don’t worry — the two weekends of Coachella 2014 provided enough fashion inspiration – and fashion WTF-ery – to last us the whole year.

Beyonce and Solange

Confession: Although “What Would Beyonce Do?” (along with “How would Beyonce feel about this?” and “What would Beyonce get on her sandwich?”) is the driving question that gets me through my days, style-wise I’m kind of obsessed with little sister Solange. She wears fun prints and boho pieces because screw it, she’s not Beyonce. And her natural hair is to die for.

Coachella is pretty casual, and that means that Queen Bey wasn’t going to wear a bedazzled leotard (on second thought, bedazzled leotards DO sound sort of Coachella). Instead, she was getting her inner Solange on. How fun was it to see these sisters hanging out together, making music, and looking flipping amazing? Beyonce’s purple shift is like a 2010s reboot of the 90s tribute to the 60s mod look (you following?) – and I would gladly trade in half of my wardrobe for Solange’s orange romper. I don’t have children yet, which is good because I would also probably trade my firstborn to have Knowles DNA (or at least that hair).

Haim

Speaking of sisters that make me want to sort out exactly what sort of nature/nurture combo made them so damn cool: HAIM. Este, Alana and Danielle are three twenty-something sisters whose sound is like En Vogue meets Wilson Phillips meets Fleetwood Mac, which means you should be listening to them if you aren’t already. No surprise that their Coachella style was completely on-point. The great thing is that their set was so energetic* that I could hardly find a shot of all three of them on stage. The mesh-knit sweater and especially that cutout dress are amazing, though a week later I’m sure they have some really weird tan lines.

* The full set was online but it’s been taken down now for copyright/IP reasons. On behalf of lawyers everywhere, I’m sorry, we’re the worst.

Jared Leto

How is it possible to have had a 20-year-long crush on Jared Leto? Aren’t I still only like 21? But seriously, I remember that every time I would sneak-read my sister’s Seventeen magazines as a kid – the jig is up now, sorry! – they were always talking about Jared ‘Jordan Catalano’ Leto. The man holds up well.

So, elephant (zebra) in the room (pants): yeah, those are zebra pants. It’s Coachella, which is like Hipster Halloween. But Leto isn’t about the clothes, he’s about the hair, and isn’t it beautiful? He looks like a freaking Haim sister. I’m just saying, if they all collabed on some gloss spray or a leave-in conditioner, I’d probably buy it.

Katy Perry

As I said: Hipster Halloween. Except for the offensive stuff, you can’t really criticize Coachella fashion – it’s supposed to be a bit wacky. It’s just that this reminds me of all of the parts of 90s style I’m not ready to see again, from the Manic Panic hair to the black socks to the DIY’ed weird-fitting dress. But I cannot blame Perry at all for taking her chance to wear something you couldn’t get away with anywhere else – I’d do it too.

Ellie Goulding

The good: this is a really non-Ellie-Goulding look, and Coachella is all about trying new things! And if the weirdest new thing you’re trying is a fashion risk, you’re probably going to make it through the weekend. I’m into all of the cutouts we’re seeing, tanlines aside, and the cape thing is kind of Stevie Nicks.

The bad: the first thing I thought when I saw this was “S&M diaper.” Then I realized that that probably exists. Then I thought about what that observation is going to do to our Google traffic.

Kate Nash

First of all, Kate Nash is so cool. Made Of Bricks was the soundtrack to getting ready to go out or lounging around in the morning when I was in college. Seven (what???) years later, she’s still just as awesome and her newish album Girl Talk is even better. Nash always had a sort of girl-next-door look, so I was surprised to see this Coachella get-up, like when you’d see someone after summer vacation in high school and they’d gone from prep to goth. Then I was immediately unsurprised, because Coachella’s tagline is basically “I Wear What I Want.” Nash’s whole band was in pink too, so it was sort of a fun glam-rock-y thing.

Lorde

A little bit Haim, a little bit Kate Nash. Lorde started her set in a gold lame cape/gown getup, but switched to a casual crop top and harem pants thing. Should we even still say harem pants? That’s probably as bad as “wife beater” shirts.  Whatever you call them, I love these fun baggy pants Lorde has been showing up in lately. Remember: even if you subscribe to old-timey fashion rules about wearing white, it’s already after Memorial Day in New Zealand (uhhh…. is that how that works?).

Pharrell

I thought maybe Coachella would be when Pharrell would bust out some sort of Abraham Lincoln stovepipe hat or a sailor cap, but I gather that he bought a lot of these Arby’s hats wholesale and now dammit, he’s going to wear them. Please note the obligatory hipster scarf, which is probably a utilitarian measure at Coachella – keeps the sand out of your mouth and eyes.  I sort of love that his shorts remind me of something that I would have rocked as a little girl in the early 90s.

Justin Bieber

A head that appears to be facing backwards on his body, like a twerpy male version of the girl from the Exorcist. Cutoff sweat-shorts. A friggin bucket hat.

Justin Bieber would, everybody.

Vanessa Hudgens

If a non-Indian person wears a bindi in the desert, and there’s nobody there to photograph it, is it still culturally appropriative?

(Yes.)

The pink tipped hair is fun though.

Chvrches (/Lauren Mayberry)

Chvrches is a really fun band -they were one of my picks on our songs of the summer playlist last year, but I think this year it might really happen. Lauren Mayberry is, in addition to being a solid musician, somebody you should be listening to off-stage as well.

But this is a fashion post, so I’m going to say it: Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches has the best bangs in the music industry. If my bangs looked like this, I wouldn’t be living in a 27-year cycle of having bangs, growing them out because they never look right, cutting them again, and growing out, etc.

Kid Cudi

My life in crop tops:

Age 5: My brothers’ shady little league coach always wears crop tops. I distinctly remember playing on the dirt pile, watching him walk by and wondering whether the shirt was meant for somebody my size.

Age 15: I say screw it, I’m going to wear a crop top; I feel really skanky about it but if you can’t wear it when you’re 15, when?

Age 25: I wonder if the return of the crop top means I’M supposed to be wearing them; am relieved that I’m old enough that it’s probably not expected of me.

Age 27: Kid Cudi in a crop top at Coachella. It is like my whole life has been leading up to this moment.

See that look of unadulterated glee on Kid Cudi’s face? That is the expression of a grown man who knows that he is successfully pulling off a male crop-top and skinny shorts. Bravo, mister.

Lana Del Rey

I waffle between loving this and thinking it looks too lounge-y. Is Hawaiian print  quite ready for a comeback? It reminds me of being in junior high in 1999 and coveting the items in the Delia’s catalog, and surely that wasn’t THAT long ago.

But when you get down to it, it seems like Lana feels comfortable and happy, and with her crazy-enviable hair, she looks great. Plus it’s fun to see some bright color out there instead of drab summertime sadness-y getups.

Regular Non-Famous Humans In The Crowd

A few of the Coachella staples were on hand, and these looks were sported by the famous and non-famous alike:

Flower crowns: the more bohemian, less offensive alternative to the hipster headdress of a few years ago. I approve.

Hats: Because you’re in the freaking desert.

90s style: How am I old enough for this to be happening??? Basically just dress like if Clarissa Darling went to a music festival.

Somewhere between west coast grunge and Tragic Kingdom-era Gwen Stefani?

Message T’s

I never thought about Rita Ora one way or the other, but wearing this to troll the kiddos at Coachella makes me love her a bit.

Neon: Make Kelly Kapowski proud (Why are all my fashion refs two decades old?)

Native American inspiration (/appropriation?): Proof that white people shouldn’t have nice things

There were a few other trends on hand too: lots of denim shorts, floral print, and heavily tatooed people among them.

In addition, when sorting through the lineup of performers I thought that about 6 of the more unknown men were Macklemore.

None of them was Macklemore.