Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prada Calling: The Costume Institute Gala

It's early May in NYC, and that means it's time for the Met's annual Costume Institute Ball, where celebrities can show off their latest fashions on the red carpet as they traipse up the steps of the museum, hob-nob with the artsy 1% in the Great Hall, and feed their faces by the Temple of Dendur (note: models needing to purge must do so in the ladies room). This year's annual gala was in honor of the latest Costume Institute exhibition opening this week, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, honoring two great Italian women fashion designers. Considering the tremendous success of last year's Alexander McQueen exhibition, there is pressure to make this year's show a great one as well. But rather than focus on the show, I'm following in my new fun tradition of fashion critic, as I have for the past two years, covering the highlights from last night's red carpet walk. (For more on the event and the runway fashions, including a full slideshow, see The New York Times and New York magazine.)

Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief, pictured here, was once again a success, this time in her Prada gown with gold lobster-motif embroidery. Her co-chairs for the event were Miuccia Prada herself and actress Carey Mulligan, who wore a metallic fish-beaded dress by Prada. Among the other great highlights of the evening were Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary from Downton Abbey) in an elegant strapless Ralph Lauren gown with matching black gloves, Scarlett Johansson in Dolce & Gabbana, and (surprisingly!) Rihanna in a black alligator leather-like dress from Tom Ford. Hilary Swank was the shapely lady in red wearing Michael Kors, and Amy Adams looked like a goddess in her classically inspired one-shoulder gown by Giambattista Valli Haute Couture. But my hands-down favorite fashion moment was Jessica ParĂ© (Megan from Mad Men), pictured above, looking exquisitely sexy and sophisticated in a gorgeous form-fitting L'Wren Scott gown.

And then there were the horrific fashion mishaps... Amy Poehler wore a ridiculous black mermaid-tail dress that I swear she raided from a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. Solange Knowles was dressed in a ribbon of butter. And if she wasn't looking yellow enough for you, January Jones could have stung you with her breasts encased in their bumble bee-striped bustier. I'm convinced Claire Danes was wearing her terry-cloth bathrobe. Chloe Sevigny needs to leave her 45 r.p.m. record collection at home, not wear them on her body. And Sarah Jessica Parker...do you think she realizes her Valentino floral print gown also doubles as a Laura Ashley tent? And can I just ask what is up with designers Vera Wang and Rachel Zoe? They're so thin and bony they disappear when they turn to the side! Marc Jacobs chose to wear a black lace tablecloth--very grateful he left his white boxer shorts on underneath. Fortunately, other men saved the night. Tim Tebow made this an interesting NYC debut sporting Ralph Lauren, and James Franco looked informally chic in Gucci. But truly the man of the night was my ex-fantasy boyfriend Matt Lauer, seen here. He asked me to go as his date, but I didn't think it was a good idea for us to be seen in public together again.

[Images: Jessica Paré by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Anna Wintour by Kevin Mazur/WireImage; Matt Lauer by Getty Images; all from New York magazine]

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