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Fashion Fête:

May 10, 2012

The Oscars of Fashion: A Couture Cattle Call

The glossy posse came out in fashionable droves for this year’s Met. Ball

By Nancy Staab

Billed the Oscars of Fashion, the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute Gala, herded up the best of haute couture for this year’s red carpet gala honoring two Italian fashion visionaries, present and past:  Miuccia Prada and Surrealist Elsa Schiaparelli (she of the lobster dress, shocking pink palette and mutton chop hat!). Who came with who, who was best dressed, who made a fashion faux pas? Read on for all the sartorial secrets.

Renee Zellweger in Emilio Pucci at the Met. Ball 2012. Renee Zellweger in Emilio Pucci at the Met. Ball 2012.

















The Party

The Annual 2012 Costume Institute Gala honoring Italian designers Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli (circa 1920s-1950s)

The Hosts

Co-Chairs Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief of Vogue; actress Carey Mulligan, honoree Miuccia Prada, and Jeff Bezos the CEO of Amazon and underwriter of the fashion exhibit.

The Scene-Makers


800 celebs from the fields of fashion, society, film, art, sports, business and music gathered for a gala evening Among the crowd: Jason Wu with model Karlie Kloss, Zac Posen with Amber Heard, Alber Elbaz with Emma Stone, Heidi Klum, a dapper Tim Tebow, Matt Bormer, Gerard Butler and Adrien Brody, designer Joseph Altazarra with singer of the moment Lana Del Rey (in a metallic Altazarra with glam cape), model Coco Rocha dressed in vintage Givenchy once owned by Elizabeth Taylor (that sounds promising but sometimes La Liz had questionable taste: particularly in the swinging seventies era: see fashion slideshow below!).

Chanel Iman in Tom Ford with the designer Chanel Iman in Tom Ford with the designer

Designer Tom Ford stepped out with Chanel Iman in a fabulous Ford creation, and Rihanna was also in a noir alligator gown by Tom Ford. Other stars included Gwyneth Paltrow in a fashion-forward Prada mini, Camille Belle in a gorgeous silver gown by Ralph Lauren, Nina Dobrev in a stunning black and gold number by Donna Karan, model Karolina Kurkova also in slinky gold with matching turban by Rachel Zoe (very OLD Hollywood “I’m ready for my close-up” but we could have done without the turban), Mad Men’s Megan Draper AKA actress Jessica Paré in gold L’Wren Scott and cast-mate January Jones in avant-garde yellow Atelier Versace with dramatic cut-outs. Several dark beauties surfaced in Givenchy, including Mara Rooney, Liv Tyler, Gisele Bunchden and, most dramatically, BeyonceGeorgina Chapman wore an ethereal white Marchesa, L’Wren Scott  modeled her own design with her beau Mick Jagger, Janelle Monáe sported a bejeweled black jumpsuit, Cameron Diaz looked shimmering in a gold Stella McCartney, cover-worthy couples Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen and Justin Timberlake andJessica Biel added heat to the shocking-pink carpet ( a tribute to Shiaparelli), and last but not least, Renee Zellweger in a striking black Emilio Pucci number and fab dripping diamond chandelier earrings that almost stole the show.



January Jones in Atelier Versace January Jones in Atelier Versace

Well, these fashion lists are always subjective, but our faves were a mix of either old Hollywood glam (thinks lots of metallic shimmer) and a few that took fashion risks in keeping with the theme of the night and its  avant-garde designer honorees. Luxe Crush best dressed include Nina Dobrev in Donna Karan, Camille Belle in Ralph Lauren, Cameron Diaz in Stella McCartney (excluding the Something About Mary hair), Renee Zellweger in Pucci (earrings a double-plus), Carey Mulligan and Gywneth Paltrow in fashion-forward Prada, January Jones in edgy Atelier Versace, and Allison Williams (star of Girls and daughter of Brian Williams) in a deceptively simple gown in Shaiparelli shocking-pink by Ralph Lauren, and who can forget the late entrance by Beyonce in an over-the-top black Givenchy gown with purple feather fringe! Trends of the night included metallic, especially gold; melon-colored brights; and the reverse of the brights trend: edgy, black Goth gowns via Tom Ford, Givenchy, etc.


Most Outrageous

Well there are too many fashion faux pas to mention, but that’s what makes the fashion watch fun: Florence Welch in Alexander McQueen, Coco Rocha (in yellow vintage Givenchy jumpsuit once owned by Elizabeth Taylor, paired with Rocha's pink hair), Mary Kate Olsen looking scary in a straight-jacket-severe design from The Row, Sarah Jessica Parker attempting grandmother-chic in a dowdy Valentino floral and ditto Lauren Santo Domingo in a mumsy Oscar de La Renta gown, Melania Trump channeling a menacing Judy Jetson of the future with her pointy shoulder Marc Bouwer mini and Christina Ricci’s lollipop head swallowed up by a gigantic peach bow by Thakoon.


The Highlights

Nina Dobrev in Donna Karan Nina Dobrev in Donna Karan

Giant floral topiaries with Surrealist themes and red velvet banquette seating in the shape of giant lips, added fun to the fashion fete. Inside the Temple of Dendur setting at the Metropolitan Museum, guests feasted on plates of baby lobster (an homage to Schiaparelli’s famous lobster print dress), American caviar, and Veal Milanese (in honor of Milan designer Miucia Prada). Dessert came on silver platters in the form of violet tarts, petit fours, and precious sugar cookies in the shape of Prada shoes. Bruno Mars entertained the after-dinner crowd with, as Vogue reports, Michael Kors shimmying with Jessica Alba, Mario Testino samba-ing with Cara Delevigne and Cameron Diaz and Beyonce  enthusiastically leading the dance floor contingent. 

The Exhibit

“Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: Impossible Conversations,” will run May 10 to Aug. 19 at The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition explores the striking affinities between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Italian designers from different eras. Inspired by Miguel Covarrubia’s “Impossible Interviews” for Vanity Fair in the 1930s, curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton will create conversations between these iconic women to suggest new readings of their most innovative work.

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