Well not exactly casually, but dare we say…boring?
Last night’s Met Gala, which celebrated the opening of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, left us expecting surreal silhouettes and innovative looks that defied any and all expectation, shape and scale. As in years past, the Met Gala’s theme is intended to not only honor the year’s exhibition, but also serve as inspiration for those looking to dress for fashion’s biggest night out. China: Through the Looking Glassprompted Rihanna’s jaw-dropping ochre-colored Guo Pei gown with a never-ending, fur-trimmed train; meanwhile the red carpet at Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty was practically a live runway show of the late designer’s best looks; and a retrospective on Charles James resulted in an array of well-corseted, architectural gowns with full ball skirts.
On the carpet last night honoring Kawakubo, we braced ourselves for the avant garde—and style stars like Rihannaand Gigi Hadid delivered. Others, who usually find themselves on our Best Dressed List, opted for looks that were better suited for well, Hollywood luncheons. Or charity benefits. Or the cocktail events leading up to an award show. We expected to see stars taking risks, but many opted to play it safe.
We’ve learned to expect unforgettable style moments from red carpet hall of famers like Kim Kardashian West, Diane Kruger, Karlie Kloss, Gwyneth Paltrow and Pharell, but last night the usually best dressed crew wore simple, accessible looks—not the adjectives we expected to be using for a red carpet honoring Rei Kawakubo, best known for creating wearable art sculptures and runway art installations.
Kardashian West’s white chiffon dress felt more in line with the types of maxi looks we see her sporting for lunch with her sisters in Calabasas on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and Diane Kruger’s choice seemed more fitting for a charity benefit than a night where guests are encouraged to dare to be different. Karlie Kloss’ mini was sleek and chic, as was Gwyneth Paltrow’s metallic cocktail midi, but both looked more apropos for an after party than the main event. Alexa Chung can usually be relied upon to show up in something exceptionally unique, but last night her summer dress seemed more suitable for a Hamptons fete or a warm-weather wedding rather than an avant-garde fashion party—though the polka dots were a tribute to Kawakubo.
Pharell Williams, who served as one of the event’s co-hosts and is known for taking risks on the red carpet, was by far the most casual of the bunch in jeans and plaid shirt. Still, his outfit was Commes des Garcons, so he may get a pass. Meanwhile Paris Jackson showed up to the carpet in a little black dress that while simple and chic, seemed more in line with an evening less prominent on the fashion calendar.
Watching last night’s arrivals, there was a distinct air of feeling underwhelmed; we were left wondering if only half of the Met Gala guest list was informed of the dress code or the night’s theme. But celebrities are often paired with designers who dress them, rather than seeking out dynamic looks from a bevy of brands as they would for award season—this might be the only red carpet where the stars and their stylists aren’t the only ones dictating what’s worn.
But ultimately, even we’ll admit we’re torn. Is the dichotomy of Pharell’s lax look next to Priyanka’s show-stopping trench train alongside Karlie’s plain mini; and Lily Aldridge’s statement boots next to Hayley Baldwin’s face veiling the type of mix that makes the Met Gala what it is? And, is the space that’s created by allowing such a differentiation in dress code the “In-Between” Kawakubo’s night seemed to celebrate? Perhaps, in all its contradiction, the event’s attire being left to interpretation was the intention.
By Harper’s Bazaar