Red Carpet Rundown: The Met Gala 2014 – Charles James Theme

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Written by Mariem ELTagoury

The party to end all parties originated in 1948 when the Costume Institute was founded at the Metropolitan Museum.
The party to end all parties originated in 1948 when the Costume Institute was founded at the Metropolitan Museum.

The glanderous Met Gala was held last week. If you’ve been wondering what the Met Gala is; here’s a quick brief:

The party to end all parties originated in 1948 when the Costume Institute was founded at the Metropolitan Museum. At its inception, it was decided that the American fashion industry would both help to curate the institute and supply its entire operating budget. Eleanor Lambert, who founded the CFDA (among other accomplishments), originally ran the party. Matrons paid $50 to wear some of the Costume Institute’s gowns at a midnight supper in December. Following Lambert, society figures like Diana Vreeland and Pat Buckley took turns co-chairing. Vogue Editor Anna Wintour took over in 1995, and is credited with bringing a Hollywood element to the party.

Source: NBC New York 

 

Each year the Gala has a theme. This year’s theme was “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”.

Another quick brief:

Charles James (18 July 1906- 23 September 1978) was a British-born fashion designer known as “America’s First Couturier.” He is widely considered to have been a master of cutting and is known for his highly structured aesthetic. One of his most famous creations is the Four-Leaf Clover gown.

Austine Hearst in Charles James' Four-Leaf Clover Gown, circa 1953.
Austine Hearst in Charles James’ Four-Leaf Clover Gown, circa 1953.

 

So if you’re in NYC this summer perhaps it would be interesting to stop by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute for a quick look at the designer’s legendary collection. Now let’s have a look at how the fashion pioneer was celebrated – or how the elitists of the new world glamoured up for the biggest night of the NYC.

 

Best Dressed

Blake Lively in Gucci

Blake Lively in Gucci
Blake Lively in Gucci

The young starlet nailed retro glam like no other. Her interpretation of 1940’s glamour in a glittery Gucci gown and retro curls is simply mesmerizing. Bonus, she’s got the hottest arm accessory on the red carpet: Ryan Reynolds!

Karlie Kloss in Oscar de la Renta

Karlie Kloss in Oscar de la Renta
Karlie Kloss in Oscar de la Renta

The model aced that gala themed dress code in an elegant shimmering gold and black dress paired with black elbow length gloves (white tie hit). The gown also complimented one of the late Charles James trends with big gowns. Karlie, you look regal!

 

Janelle Monae in Tadashi Shoji

Janelle Monae in Tadashi Shoji
Janelle Monae in Tadashi Shoji

While many of the night’s ladies were busy dressing up as princesses; Janelle showed up in a look fit for an Empress. We all know that Janelle is a pants lady so it was no surprise that she showed up in the basic black and white ensemble but that billowing red cloak by Tadashi Shoji with the pompadour braids was a show stopper. We love a girl who brings something daring and new to the red carpet.

 

Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa

Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa
Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa

This jaw dropping, statement, midnight blue, satin organza dress was hand painted with white blooms – a few were mimicked by actual 3D organza petals. I dare say the people at Marchesa have outdone themselves with this one, and Karolina looks absolutely… blooming. (Sorry for the pun, but I had too!)

 

Kim Kardashian in Lanvin

Kim Kardashian in Lanvin
Kim Kardashian in Lanvin

For once Kim donned something classy and her butt wasn’t the main attraction of the night. She went for leg this time; but we’re not complaining the teal and black tulip shaped strapless dress got our thumbs up.

 

Notables

Not all the looks made it to the top five but some make statements, not just as dresses but as trends we might see more in the future. Here are some of the notable trending looks that caught our eyes.

 

The Midriffs

Anne Hathaway in Calvin Klein and Emma Stone in Thakoon

Anne Hathaway in Calvin Klein and Emma Stone in Thakoon
Anne Hathaway in Calvin Klein and Emma Stone in Thakoon

Not a huge fan of midriffs myself especially on the red carpet but I have to admit, Anne Hathaway made it look sophisticated chic in that matching red ensemble and Emma stone’s two toned pink outfit looked so much fun than many of the stuffy ensembles we’ve seen for that gala.

 

Big Gowns

Arizona Muse in Ralph & Russo Haute Couture, Hayden Panettiere in Dennis Basso, Maggie Q in Zac Posen, and Sarah Silverman in Zac Posen

 

Arizona Muse in Ralph & Russo Haute Couture, Hayden Panettiere in Dennis Basso, Maggie Q in Zac Posen, and Sarah Silverman in Zac Posen
Arizona Muse in Ralph & Russo Haute Couture, Hayden Panettiere in Dennis Basso, Maggie Q in Zac Posen, and Sarah Silverman in Zac Posen

It was a little girl’s childhood dream! Big princess like dresses were everywhere – hey if you’re given an excuse to wear a full blown gown who won’t abuse that?! Arizona proved her modelling skills in a strapless red dress that was such a beauty she didn’t need an interesting headdress to pull that one off. Hayden brought out the little girl in me with its colours of cotton candy. On another note, Zac Posen managed to make both actress Maggie Q. and comedian Sarah Silverman look quite dramatic in black & burgundy gowns.

 

Vintage

Mary-Kate Olsen in Chanel and Ashley in Gianfranco Ferre 

Mary-Kate Olsen in Chanel and Ashley in Gianfranco Ferre
Mary-Kate Olsen in Chanel (right) and Ashley in Gianfranco Ferre (left)

Summer’s right around the corner but the Olsen twins opted for something more winter appropriate. Regardless, we still love the conservative take. It’s hard to say which we liked best; Mary-Kate’s striped vintage Chanel or Ashley’s military inspired Ferre as it glided across the red carpet.

 

Diane Von Furstenberg

Selena Gomez, Diane von Furstenberg, Jessica Alba, Olivia Munn all dressed by the designer herself

Selena Gomez, Diane von Furstenberg, Jessica Alba, Olivia Munn all dressed by the designer herself
Selena Gomez, Diane von Furstenberg, Jessica Alba, Olivia Munn all dressed by the designer herself

If we had to pick a designer for the night, I guess it’ll be Diane von Furstenberg. When it comes to modern gowns the designer aced them all. Whether it was Selena’s body-hugging gown, Jessica’s custom gold lace, or Olivia’s daring yellow low cut; all women looked stunning in their own fashion. Furstenberg was even the best designer to dress herself (we weren’t impressed with many of the others women designers on the red carpet – could we dare be talking about Donna, Nicole & Donatella)

 

Controversial

Rihanna in Stella McCartney

Rihanna in Stella McCartney
Rihanna in Stella McCartney

Rihanna brings sexy to white tie…or maybe she thought white tie meant wearing white! Regardless she did surprise us; or maybe not. It’s Rihanna after all. With a backless crop top and a lot of midriff, it was anything but classy. Paired with a choker diamond necklace, a frizzy hairdo and her many tattoos; the look screamed rocker chic more than anything. We kind of have mixed feelings about this one, what do you think? Did Rihanna own white tie, or did white tie over throw her?!

 

Leighton Meester in Pucci

Leighton Meester in Pucci
Leighton Meester in Pucci

We kind of like the boho take of this long sleeved gold gilded gown but we’re not sure how we feel about the whole look. Is it the sandals? Is it the hair? Is the V-neckline a little too deep? We’re not sure what it is but Meester barely pulled of the whole look. What do you think went wrong? Or right?

 

Beyonce in Givenchy Couture

Beyonce in Givenchy Couture
Beyonce in Givenchy Couture

When I first saw this picture, I cracked up thinking “yeah that’s all B’s missing in her hands… Sagat!” Seriously now, why can’t Beyonce wear an actual dress for a change, we’ve seen enough of her booty… and the rest of her for that matter. A bit of fashion on that bod would be a relief. On another note, that veil and vampy bold burgundy lips was a hit in our books. A retro stand out to be exact! We’re in serious conflict with ourselves here!

 

Worst

Kristen Stewart in Chanel

Kristen Stewart in Chanel
Kristen Stewart in Chanel

Judging by her always sombre features, I always wondered if Kristen was slow; now we have confirmation. Her dress would have fit perfectly in last year’s met gala theme “Punk: Chaos to Couture” and I don’t think I’d have liked it back then either. How do you team sequins, feathers and sheer?

 

Lupita Nyongo in Prada

Lupita Nyongo in Prada
Lupita Nyongo in Prada

It breaks my heart, but our red carpet fashion icon who couldn’t go wrong just did! As she went down the red carpet in this supposedly flapper inspired, crocheted green outfit with feathers, all I could here was the “George of the Jungle” theme song!

 

Katie Holmes in Marchesa

Katie Holmes in Marchesa
Katie Holmes in Marchesa

I had many disappointments on this red carpet; none as much as my disappointment in Katie & Marchesa. Everyone’s talking about Katie channelling Belle from “Beauty and the Beast”, I say they’re insulting Belle! The mustard yellow dress looked like a frumpy mess on the slender figure of Katie and that mess of hair didn’t compliment her look either. Quick reminder Katie, you’re 35 not 50 like the ex!

 

Bonus: Replicas

Halee Steinfield, Anna Kendrick, Sarah Jessica Parker and Charlise Theron
Halee Steinfield, Anna Kendrick, Sarah Jessica Parker and Charlize Theron

Here’s an extra section for our fashion addicts. Many celebrities wanted to honour Charles James (or just took the theme to heart) so we saw a lot of almost replicas or inspiration from the designer’s famous piece The Clover Leaf dress.

In fact it is rumoured that Hailee Steinfeld’s Prabal Gurung dress was a modern take of the dress. The 17 year old actress was more than excited to walk down the red carpet in such a statement gown, we don’t blame her!

Anna Kendrick opted for a more modern silhouette from J. Mendel, incorporating the midriff trend with classic black & white.

Sarah Jessica Parker just had to stand out. Check out the train of her Oscar de la Renta dress, completed with elbow length white gloves.

Lastly, queen of elegance, Charlize Theron serenaded her trusted Dior with a blazer that casually draped her shoulders, talk about effortless elegance!

Thoughts?

Have you seen all the Met Gala red carpet dresses? Which was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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