Best Dressed: Met Gala 2017

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.

 

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.

Solange Wore A Cape To Her Wedding And We Can All Stop Trying

Solange Knowles – sister to Bey, aunt to Blue Ivy, daughter to Tina, kicker to Jay Z – tied the knot to music video director Alan Ferguson yesterday in New Orleans. Because nothing is private, pretty much their entire weekend was documented, including the happy couple rolling up to the wedding venue in style on white bicycles.

Unlike her sister, Solange decided to share her big day with us peons, releasing exclusive photos to Vogue of her and her bridesmaids (yes, including Queen B & Miss Tina & a very happy Janelle Monae) of her all-white wedding that would make Billy Idol proud. I have so many things to say about this but I don’t think it would be appropriate for the entire post to consist of emojis that look like this:

IMG_1009.JPGSo I’ll try to use my words instead. Solange wore three different outfits for her wedding, the first being the cream Stephanie Rolland jumpsuit as seen in the pre-ceremony transpo pic above. This is probably my favorite look out of the three, because it gives her a feel of class with the cape (praise hands with palms facing out emoji) but a feeling of fun since she’s in a jumpsuit and ready for anything. Also, it’s backless. IT’S BACKLESS! For the actual getting married part, she opted for a dress designed by Humberto Leon for Kenzo, and lawd help us all she looks like a freaking vision. Like an angel in a cape sent from heaven to let us know that all our style sins have been forgiven. Paired with those gold stacked bracelets, I would imagine Solange wearing nothing else on her wedding day. Finally, Solange, hubs, fam & friends took to the streets of Nawlins with a celebratory band and dancing and now I know what I want to do for my own wedding. The third look was the more fun reception style, back in a jumpsuit by Stephanie Rolland but this time the cape had more ruffle to it.

IMG_1008.JPG

Of course, there are more photos featuring all of the wedding party (yes, flower girl Blue Ivy) smiling and laughing and having the time of their lives. But as we all know, weddings are usually a lot about the bride and what she’s wearing, so I’m gonna go back to her for a sec.

Solange has become a fashion maven over the past few years whether you have paid attention or not. I mean there’s a reason why she shared her exclusive pix with Vogue. Solange has never been one to be afraid to wear a certain color or style or trend, in fact if I were to sum up her fashion style, it would be fearless eccentricity. She dares to be different and doesn’t give a shit if you like it or not (but if you have an semblance of taste, you will).

Of course, a penchant for fashion and style runs in the family, with Bey as the Instagram model for every outfit she wears and Miss Tina – well we all know Miss Tina used to design the Destiny’s Child outfits back in the day, and back then they didn’t seem as ridiculous as they look now. BTW TINA KNOWLES SLAYYYEEDDD AT THE WEDDING. ok end caps.  So with fashion in her genes (jeans?), it makes sense that Solange is a style savant and a woman with enough balls to wear not one but three capes to her wedding. If you need a refresher of how all her past looks have led up to this glorious day in all white everything, here are just some of her best looks. Praise Solange and her infinite style wisdom and cape.

 

Solange vs. Jay-Z: Super-Legit Body Language Analysis

I don’t know how to do this.

Before The Fight

Beyonce is separating Solange and Jay-Z, as if to say “if there is not something the size of an adult human person between these two, this situation will devolve quickly.”

Or possibly, “It makes the most sense for me to sit next to both my sister and my husband.” Whatever. Who cares.

But let us apply the Cher Horowitz Body Language Analysis to this, shall we? Remember how Cher knew Miss Geist and Mr. Hall were into each other? Of course you do: “Legs crossed towards each other.” Bey is angled towards Jay-Z, showing where her loyalty lies, whereas Solange is curling away from Bey and Jay like a Fortune Teller Fish from the Oriental Trading Company.

Solalnge’s hand is raised upwards towards her face, saying “who, me, start a fight?” or possibly “look at my hair! I straightened it.” Probably, like, one of those, right?

In this undated image, Jay-Z drapes a proprietorial arm over Solange’s shoulder. This is a gesture that says “I totally COULD have you in a headlock, but you know what, I’m not going to do that.” Solange’s crossed arms show that she is “closing herself off to social influence” (I Googled it), which makes sense, because who is more influential than Jay-Z? (Answer: Beyonce)

She may also be imitating this stock photo of a young child trying to do hip-hop:

But the real question is why is Solange’s outside arm raised up so high? Try it, it’s not a natural position. Some theories:

(1) She’s making a triangle between her arm and Jay-Z’s hand. Coincidence? No.  Triangles: the official shape of the Illuminati. Spooooky.

(2) She’s trying to avoid that thing where your bicep squishes against your side, splaying out your arm fat.

(3) There’s some sort of an armrest that we can’t really see.

Solange has a heavy object and a sharp-looking ring in her right hand (colloquially known as your “fighting hand”). She is applauding, but also ready for a fracas.

Jay-Z is relieved that everyone’s applauding really loud because he has had to fart for the past 10 minutes.

FIGHT NIGHT!

When Beyonce drops her ring, Jay-Z jokingly places it on her finger. The super-legit body language analysis take-away? “Our wedding vows are a joke.” Note Bey’s hand on her finger, as if to say “this is very cute, but just so we’re all clear, I’m perfectly capable of putting my own ring on (it), thanks.” Her head is tilted back in laughter, as she thinks in song:

The shoes on my feet
I’ve bought it
The clothes I’m wearing
I’ve bought it
The rock I’m rockin’
‘Cause I depend on me

Shall we continue?

As the blue-blooded half of a royal couple always walks several paces ahead of their spouse (Will before Kate, Elizabeth before Phillip, etc), so does Jay-Z trail Queen Bey. Jay Z walks with both hands in his pockets, like someone who is not so much feeling casual as trying to look casual. Can’t you imagine him whistling Camptown Races like Bugs Bunny in a cartoon? Doo-doo-doo, nothing to see here.

You just KNOW he knows a melee’s a-brewin’.

I’m going to do what I just did yesterday with the ultrasound images of my new niece, and pretend I can tell what’s going on. At least the baby didn’t have the letters TMZ superimposed over her blurry little face, though.

Jay-Z – white jacket, left hand side – has an arm outstretched, the international gesture for “please, stay at least an arm’s length away from me.” Meanwhile, Solange’s right foot (is that a foot?) is positioned forward and her arm is pushing against Jay’s. This is body language for “I’d prefer to get closer than an arm’s length, in order to fight you.” Her free arm is swung backwards, which in Body Language-to-English, translates to “I’m trying to punch you. Hard.”

Solange’s face is downcast, so you’d think she was ashamed, but that’s not the whole story. Look at her arms, pulled to waist height with her hands hanging freely from her wrists. These are the loose arms of someone who looks like she’s practically about to tap dance. Not a care in the world.

I think part of this is her Charleston-y drop waist dress. When did they wear drop-waist dresses? The 1920s. What book was written in the 1920s? Among others? The Great Gatsby. Who helped score the 2013 film adaptation of Gatsby? That’s right – Jay-Z himself. It’s all coming together.

This is a tricky one, but that’s why I get paid the big bucks. See Jay-Z’s hand, pulled to his cheek? That is his body’s way of saying “OW. My face.” Solange still has swingy tap arms.

NOW. Now Jay-Z’s hand is on his abdomen. When a lady rests her hand on her abdomen, it often means “I am pregnant” or possibly “I ate too much.” In this context, though, it probably means “OW. I also got hit in the stomach.” It also may mean “I ate too much,” but is the Met more of a finger foods event?

Solange’s tap dance hands are now pointed outward, a subtle shrug that says “yeah. I did it. What?”

New dance form. Beyonce’s hitched up skirt says “flamenco” and flamenco says “in-your-face triumph.” She has the placid smile of a 16th century Madonna. She continues to walk a few paces ahead of Jay-Z, as is her right.

Jay-Z’s hands are on his hips, body language for “how rude!” However, most of his energy is pulled into his face, with every muscle tensed towards the center. His eyes are not on Beyonce, but rather cast into middle distance, as if thinking to himself “WHAT THE HELL I just got beat up by my wife’s little sister.” This, truly, is the hour of lead that Emily Dickinson wrote about – first chill, then stupor, then the letting go. Based on his face, Hova is still trapped in the “stupor” stage.

In the alternative, Jay-Z is feeling his back pockets and has a face of dismay and realization. This is body language shorthand for “dammit, I left my wallet in there!”

After The Fight

In a total turnaround, Beyonce’s legs are now crossed AWAY from Jay Z, and the arm closest to him is pulled to her opposite side. Jay Z’s leg position says “I am the guy who you don’t want to sit next to you on a subway or bus.” [Really, gents. You do not need to sit with your legs three feet apart.] His shoulders are slumped – defeat! – and his hands are triangled – illuminati! His face is still a bit shell-shocked, like he can’t believe it’s really real. Bey remains impassive. Whatever this situation is, like all situations, Beyonce is in control of it. Or possibly behind it. All hail.