Met Ball 2014
All the fashion from the red carpet at the annual Met Ball gala. Tickets for the event are $25,000 a pop and the night is dedicated to couturier Charles James. Photo: Larry Busacca
MOST UNDERSTATED: DAVID AND VICTORIA BECKHAM
Because of course it’s not just about her, Becks needs a mention as well. They fit perfectly together, with him a fine specimen of male in white tie and she all sleek and simple in a double-layered, '70s-inspired white dress. Looks like she’s found the fake tan bottle again, or is it real Bahamas colour? Only she knows.
BEST NATIONAL COSTUME: LUPITA NYONG'O
This dress summarises every bit of how we feel about Lupita. It is, quite simply, celebratory. She sparkles, she shines, she’s dripping with beads and feathers and so many fun things. You just know she’s going to have the best night out in this dress, and the headband is the icing on the cake. Who doesn’t want to be Lupita right now?
BEST 'DISNEY ON ICE' DRESS: SARAH PAULSON
Because you know she’s going to break out an axel jump any second and land into someone’s arms, probably a surprised paparazzo. There’s just something about it that is half Disney princess, half ice-skating queen. Perhaps it’s the large jewels or the silver seams down the front, or the halter shape of the underlayer. All together it’s a bit too much.
MOST LIKELY TO DISAPPEAR INTO THEIR DRESSES: MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN
Now, I love these two girls, and their fashion lines are truly fantastic, but I’m not sure why they always insist on swamping their tiny frames with enormous amounts of fabric. It makes them look much older than they are, and not in a good ''you look mature way'';more in a ''you look like my Aunt Mavis at a funeral'' way.
BEST MUSE: KRISTEN STEWART
Here’s Kristen Stewart surprising us on the red carpet for (a) smiling! And (b) those red locks! She plays the part of the muse very well. Not many people could pull off this complex Chanel ensemble but Stewart does it with just the right amount of cool. Points.
BEST PRINT: KAROLINA KURKOVA
Oh my, oh my. Kurkova stuns in a blue, floral printed gown with literally layer upon layer of volume somehow attached to her body. It’s in line with the theme – an homage to technical couturier Charles James – because it almost defies physics. And she carries it off spendidly.
MOST STATUESQUE: CHARLIZE THERON
And that’s saying something, given it’s an event full of models. But Theron manages to trump them in a cream dress with black lines flowing down her curves like molten chocolate. Plus she’s with Sean Penn, who couldn’t be a more complementary handbag, as he’s the complete opposite of her. Together they look lovely.
BEST TRANSFORMATION: KIM KARDASHIAN
A round of applause for Kanye West, folks, for his masterpiece is finally finished. Presenting Kim Kardashian – chic, stylish and most unexpectedly subtle. She still has glimpses of her old self peeking through – the split in the dress and the ample cleavage – but everything else is faultless. From the blue of the gown to the old-Hollywood hair, the relatively small (for her) earrings and even the pocket in the dress. The details equal a refinement never before seen on a Kardashian. Bravo.
BEST MIDRIFF: RIHANNA
Did Rihanna sneak a peek at Jennifer Hawkins' Logies dress and get Stella McCartney to whip it up for her? Looks like it. But Jen actually wore it better! Rihanna’s is beautiful but there is too much midriff for a red carpet event – though this is the one ball where anything goes in the fashion stakes. It looks like if she dances with her arms over her head, there’ll be trouble.
BEST SEXY: BEYONCE
Trust Queen Bey to bring It to the Met Ball. She cuts a fine figure in this uber-plunging, uber-split dress that’s sheer and beaded and drapes over her body like a very expensive robe. The netting over her face and the chunky heel add a certain amount of modesty that saves it from being too much.
BEST OLD HOLLYWOOD: DITA VON TEESE
It’s hard to go past Von Teese when you’re looking at the red carpet. Here, she stands out in a champagne-coloured Zac Posen gown with dramatic fishtail, finished in red. It’s almost cartoon-like; she looks like a perfectly drawn picture, and the way she moves those curves on going up the stairs certainly helps.
BEST SLEEK: GEORGIA MAY JAGGER
All in black with a cut-out chest and split in her dress, it’s hard to tell if GMJ is happy to be here, after two deaths this year of people close to her. First her father’s girlfriend L’Wren Scott and then Peaches Geldof, who moved in the same London circles as Jagger. Still, she looks beautiful and will hopefully be able to put these tragedies behind her.
MOST LIKELY TO BE STUFFING FOOD DOWN HER SKIRT FOR LATER: ZOE SALDANA
Well, there’s certainly enough room in this Michael Kors creation. A chic halter is finished with an enormous, two–tiered bubble skirt in a silver and black leaf print. And while on paper it sounds horrid, on Saldana it’s nothing short of amazing.
MOST BORING: EMMY ROSSUM
Of all the gowns, colours, prints and the variety of fabrics out there, Rossum’s dress is a little ho hum. I feel like I’ve seen this dress, on Rossum, at least three times before, and in fact had to check the date of the photo to make sure it was the right year. Next!
MOST LIKELY TO HAVE A PRINCESS FANTASY: SANDRA LEE
Good golly! Did American TV chef Lee go to sleep and wake up as Cinderella-slash-Sleeping Beauty-slash-Snow White? It’s as though she pointed at a picture in a fairytale and said ''I’ll have that one, please''. Her dress is preposterously enormous, especially that pink satin bit at the front, and the hair ... the hair! I’m glad she went all out with a romantic updo because not even a sleek ponytail could have saved this look.
MOST DISAPPOINTING: NICOLE RICHIE
While Richie looks great – I love the simple silver velour with mesh panels through the dress – I do expect her to wow us every time with her style, because that’s what she usually does. Maybe she’s letting her hair do the talking. It must be hard, having purple hair and trying to dress around it, right? You’d be limited to certain colours and would need to let your hair take centre stage. That must be it.
MOST LIKELY TO BE CHANNELING A YOUNG MADONNA: RITA ORA
It’s hardly bridal, even though it’s a strapless cream lace dress with a tulle train, because of those knee-high, lace-up ballet shoes, which are fabulous with a capital F. And it’s definitely got that Madonna-vibe, circa 1985. I wonder if Madge will say anything to the 23-year-old pop star? Probably not, she’s too busy trying to wear a bandage (see below).
WHAT MADONNA WANTED TO WEAR
A bandage, masquerading as a costume. Luckily, Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of US Vogue who is the master of these proceedings, said no. Or so it went on Madonna’s Instagram account, the night before the Met Ball. She posted a selfie of herself with the caption ''What i wanted to wear to Met Ball but Anna said not this year''. Thank you, Anna! Looks like Madonna couldn’t find anything else at the last minute, because it appears she didn’t even go.
BEST LAYERING: SUKI WATERHOUSE
Model Suki Waterhouse carries off this beautiful gown with tiers of tulle cascading down absolutely brilliantly. The bodice is simple and cut to flatter, letting the train do the talking. Just beautiful.
BEST PRINCESS: SARAH JESSICA PARKER
Note to Sandra Lee: This is how you do a modern interpretation of a princess. Her enormous, cream satin skirt and elbow-length gloves are set off with a black box print in the tail, and even signed by the talented designer of the dress, Oscar de la Renta. Well, it is an artwork! It’s finished with a black bodice to keep things elegant, and the hair is perfection. The belle of the ball.
LEAST EXPERIMENTAL: KYLIE MINOGUE
The Met Ball is all about stepping out of your safety zone, but I fear Kylie has gone for a bit of same old, same old in this Grecian-inspired dress. She looks beautiful, but I think there’s a lack of her old genius creativity, which I’m missing.
BEST MEN: NEIL PATRICK HARRIS AND DAVID BURTKA
There’s something about Harris that makes me want to run up and give him a big kiss on the cheek, then link arms and skip into the ball. You just know he’d be the most fun guy at the party and would twirl you around the dance floor like a professional. These outfits speak volumes. Fashionable to the point of being comical, you know these two have it all going on and they’re not afraid to tell us.
MOST INDIVIDUAL: LENA DUNHAM
I’m glad she’s not in a big, poufy gown with taffeta and chiffon and tulle. I’m glad she’s keeping it real in a mini with a pretty print that comes in and flares out in all the right places to fit and flatter her physique. It’s nice to see the Hollywood machine doesn’t suck everyone up and churn out carbon copies all the time.
MOST LIKELY TO BE CHANNELING THE MUM FROM THAT '70S SHOW: MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL
I’d like this dress. If it was a curtain. Or a tablecloth. Or even a high-waisted maxi-skirt that she wore with a nude-coloured bustier. But as a long-sleeved dress, this is far too '70s and her new blonde hair is not the perfect accompaniment to the colours.
BEST IN SHOW: NAOMI WATTS
All hail Watts. She is splendid, just splendid, in this beautiful Givenchy creation. The sheer sleeves and skirt with the detail across the bodice and hips is pure brilliance, and she wears it remarkably well. Full points to her hair stylist or whoever it was that suggested a side-part bun. I can’t get enough of this look. It’s so wonderfully fashiony but still suits her down to the ground. Heaven.
BIGGEST REBEL: CARA DELEVIGNE
She shuns a ball gown in favour of this Stella McCartney outfit: white pants and a black halter. It’s nice and she looks amazing as usual, but it’s no match for the dresses we’ve seen going up those red stairs.
MOST LIKELY TO BE HER OWN PERSON: MARION COTILLARD
It’s not about the dress so much here, though it is amazing and fabulous and all of that, but the shoe. The shoe! A new, silver version of a very old style men’s shoe, it makes the dress leap and bound with brilliance. How very apt for the muse of the house of Dior.
WORST PINK: STEPHANIE SEYMOUR
For a supermodel from the '80s who was every teenage boy’s pin-up, Seymour still looks great. But it might be time for her to let go of the way she used to dress when she was in her prime. She looks like she’s gone shopping in her 15-year-old daughter’s closet and the cut does absolutely nothing for her.
BIGGEST COMEDOWN: MARGOT ROBBIE
Dear Margot, please, pretty please, please with a cherry on top, dye your hair back to blonde! It’s been months now and yes, I know it’s probably for a role, but hurry up and finish it because some women were born to be blonde and you are one of them.
MOST GLAMOROUS: BLAKE LIVELY
Leave it to Lively to make a huge entrance when we haven’t seen her on our screens for more than a year. She’s a proper star, with proper blonde cascading waves and a proper glittery, divine dress with proper star quality radiating off her. She’s never going away and she’s letting us know it.
MOST BORING: ANNE HATHAWAY
Oh look, I know it’s red, it’s Calvin Klein, and there’s even a slit through the middle which is quite lovely. But somehow, she manages to make it appear drab. Perhaps it’s her slouch or her expression or the way it looks like someone had to claw her off the couch so she’d make it here. She just doesn’t look happy about it.
MOST CONFUSING: EMMA STONE
The top half of Stone is saying ''I’m a princess with a workout fetish'', what with the curled hair and the cutaway midriff, while the bottom half is saying ''I’m a ballroom dancer about to do the splits on the floor, come join me''. They’re contradictory and not quite working together at all.
BEST IMPERSONATION OF A FINGER: KATE BOSWORTH
A flesh-coloured gown perhaps isn’t the best thing someone of Bosworth’s slight frame should be wearing. She should stick to brights or blacks. Something so that we can see the contrast between her skin and the dress more graphically, and we don’t mistake her for a human body part wandering down the catwalk.
BEST PINK: REESE WITHERSPOON
This is a great example of how a simple strapless dress can look seriously amazing, especially in a standout colour like fuchsia. Wonderfully designed by Stella McCartney, the bust detail and the slight train add the perfect amount of interest and the hair sets it off beautifully.
MOST LIKELY TO SET OFF CAMERA FLASHES: LEA MICHELE
I love gold as much as the next woman, but how flashy is this? Bright and shiny – I hardly know where to look. She carries it well, however, and the simple design helps – anything more and it would have been too fussy.
BEST BLACK: GISELE BUNDCHEN
Leave it to Bundchen to totally nail it in one! Black and lacy, the dress looks like it was poured on her, and her signature loose locks are the perfect accessory. There’s no doubt this Balenciaga frock will inspire a tonne of copies.
MOST LIKELY TO LOOK LIKE SHE’S IN THE WRONG ERA: KATE UPTON
I can rattle off a bunch of celebrities who would just (barely) get away with this look, but Upton is not one of them. She’s a classic beauty, and therefore needs a classic-style dress to accentuate it. This lace Dolce & Gabbana dress is far too fussy with all the ruffles and frills ... it looks like she’s been dropped into a costume and she doesn’t look happy about it. Then there’s the belt, which I don’t understand at all, not with the softness of the rest of the frock. Can anyone explain it to me?