Wednesday, May 4, 2011

For McQueen: The Costume Institute Gala

I had hoped to write about The Costume Institute Gala yesterday, the day after the actual event, but I wound up with an excruciating headache that had me in bed by 8pm last night. You'll recall I wrote a bit about the event last year. It is a major highlight of the NYC invitation apparently got lost in the mail...again. This year's gala was tied to the spring/summer exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, which has now opened at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and closes July 31. McQueen was known for his Gothic-inspired designs, unusual materials, and seemingly borderline-painful wear (think Lady Gaga's stilettos). I haven't seen the actual show yet, but from the catalog and the fact that McQueen is a name on pop culture lips, you know the show is going to be a huge success. This is the first museum retrospective of his work. Born in Britain in 1969, Lee Alexander McQueen committed suicide in February 2010, some say at the pinnacle of his career. Of course his dying young now has immortalized him as a Romantic hero, following in the steps of other great men who died at the height of their creative youth, such as the poet John Keats, the painter Théodore Géricault, and the actor James Dean. And in case you've already forgotten, the wedding dress worn by HRH Princess Catherine (Duchess of Cambridge) last Friday was designed for the House of McQueen by Sarah Burton, creative director.

The Gala itself is a major red-carpet event with the who's who of celebrities and fashionistas in attendance. This year's event was hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour (left), who looked quite chic in this gown by Chanel (photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/FilmMagic). Her co-hosts were actor Colin Firth and designer Stella McCartney. A number of people wore McQueen-designed outfits, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Salma Hayek, and Chloe Sevigny, Vogue European editor Hamish Bowles in his tartan-inspired suit, and Daphne Guinness in her outrageous swan-themed dress. Madonna had on a lovely 1930s-inspired Stella McCartney gown. But there was some serious misses on the red carpet too. For instance, no one will ever doubt that Beyonce has breasts after seeing them practically bursting out of her skin-tight matador-meets-mermaid outfit. Christina Ricci looked like a cross between Morticia Adams and Charlotte the Spider in Zac Posen's corseted gown. Serena Williams bore a striking resemblance to a wedding cake with sparklers. And poor Barbara Walters looked like she rolled out of bed wearing her bedspread and grabbed a fringed valance for her shoulders. Fortunately hope was not lost for all. Penelope Cruz (above) was stunningly elegant in her Oscar de la Renta gown (photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images). And even though I prefer to see him shirtless, Matthew Morrison (right) looked adorable in his Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo (photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images). To see all the hits and misses for yourself, check out the articles and slideshows put together by The New York Times and New York Magazine (the latter being my image source for what you see here).

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