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When bad fashion happens to good people

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07:  Actress January Jones attends the "Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) Click for more photos

Met gala red carpet

The annual Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute gala is where couture collides with Hollywood to produce the world's most stunning - and most startlingly awful - red carpet looks. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris

Did you mean to look like a giant jellyfish? Red carpet blunders serve as a great reminder that when it comes to important fashion might feel boring but it actually means knowing what works for you.

When the sea is chic bad floats to the top like a cigarette packet in the baby pool at Bondi - you can’t miss it". 

I need to talk about the MET Gala. Just for a couple of minutes. It has become to red carpets what weddings are to the rest of the world - an excuse to lose your mind and dress like a character in a fairy tale. Or an alien.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about – I applaud you: The Met Gala is an annual event hosted by US Vogue editor Anna Wintour at the Metropolitan Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. This year it celebrated an exhibition titled ‘Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations’. To ensure everything looked just perfect and because she can, Anna insisted that her Vogue team wear 'Schiaparelli pink' in tribute. And no, I’m not joking.

The Met is the place where couture collides with Hollywood and creates the best dressed, most glamorous red carpet of the year. The guest list includes everyone that’s invited to the Oscars plus supermodels. It’s pretty damn fancy. The media wall is huge running along the steep steps of the museum's entrance. This isn’t so photographers have a good vantage point, it’s to showcase the over-the-top gowns that often require four or five metres of earth space like Diana’s bridal train at Westminster Abbey.

Have I conveyed the scale adequately?

On balance the event brings out the very best in fashion but when the sea is super-chic bad floats to the top like a cigarette packet in the baby pool at Bondi - you can’t miss it. I find it somewhat distressing when celebrities get it wrong at events such as these. It’s like brides who decide it's a good idea to try something ‘new’ on their wedding day. Why?

Looking good is a big part of a celebrity's day job and this should mean someone on their team giving them a healthy cup of honesty before they hit the red carpet. Surely this would be preferable to being photographed on the 'Worst Dressed' list and wearing it in the Google cache forever?

There wasn't a lot of honesty floating around in Florence Welch's hotel room. Gorgeous, talented, a red–head ... so much potential and yet she looked like the doll that covers the toilet roll at your grandma’s house. Or a giant jellyfish. Yes it was Alexander McQueen but it was also really terrible.

Equally disappointing was Cameron Diaz. She knows better. Exquisite face, rocking body, funny woman and then she goes and puts on an ill-fitting silver column dress with a hair-do that looked like the scene in Something About Mary where she’s uses Ben Stiller’s semen as hair gel. Cameron is a red carpet veteran, a Dress Legend, it baffles me how she could get it so blah.

And what about Christina Ricci? If someone, as in her stylist, did this to her intentionally then they should be fired and sued. There aren't enough adjectives to describe the ridiculousness of her outfit. She looked like they’d grabbed a piece of ribbon from Land of The Giants and turned her into a present for the Fashion Gods. Or maybe a sacrifice?

Finally there was poor, old Kirstin Dunst wearing a mustard suit dress which was appropriate for an office. In 1935. It was too matronly, too retro ... be young while you still can Kikki. Wear your hair loose or try a design from this decade. Maybe call Carey Mulligan's stylist?

I was talking to my friend Wendy about this last night and she said that the only thing missing from most of the outfits at the MET was a palomino pony. Wendy is very funny but she’s also very right.

Lord knows I've worn many, many pony deserving outfits. Clothes that were utterly wrong. Wrong for my age. Wrong for my body shape. Repeatedly. But red carpet blunders on this level serve as a great reminder that when it comes to important fashion moments in your life safe might feel boring but safe actually means knowing what works for you (hello Gwyneth and Gisele).

A reminder that there’s no shame in always looking the same. Or in playing it safe. In fact, it's really just another word for signature style.

Paula Joye is Editor of www.lifestyled.com.au or you follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

6 comments so far

  • Surely the nanna curtains SJP was wearing rate a mention? Or the oompaloompa look for Leighton Meister? Don't think Cameron Diaz looked that bad, meanwhile Gwyneth - too old for side boobage.

    Commenter
    Yuk
    Date and time
    May 11, 2012, 11:38AM
    • It's the Met Costume Institute Gala...emphasis on Costume. It's not the night to wear something safe, it's the night to wear something which pushes the boundaries of fashion. What other event could Florence Welch, Elizabeth Banks or Karolina Kurkova (chanelling her inner Little Edie) have worn these dresses? I think it makes it more interesting, especially since most play it so safe on red carpets usually. However, I will admit that Chloe Sevigny's outfit is a bridge too far.

      Commenter
      Danielle
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 12:10PM
      • These people have so many stylists, designers and resources available to look beautiful, but somehow they miss the mark and arrive at these events looking freakish. I can never understand how this happens.

        Commenter
        dianav
        Location
        Perth
        Date and time
        May 11, 2012, 1:08PM
        • Are you serious, Gwenyth looked terrible from the neck down, and I thought Christina Ricci looked great. both of which is backed up by the polling.
          However i did think Elizabeth Banks looked ok in her outfit but I saw another angle and it was terrible. So a lot does depend on the photo

          Commenter
          nay
          Date and time
          May 11, 2012, 1:32PM
          • Diana was married at St. Paul's.

            Commenter
            trinch
            Location
            south coast
            Date and time
            May 11, 2012, 2:32PM
            • I loved Christina Ricci and LOATHED Gwyneth's outfit and look. Gwyneth looks like she's in the last stages of terminal cancer - why do these women thing that impossibly scrawny, revoltingly sinewy and horrible, poo coloured orange is attractive? America is another world.

              Commenter
              Mmmm, coffeee
              Location
              Brunswick
              Date and time
              May 13, 2012, 11:12AM

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