Charles James [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
At the 2013 Met Ball Hollywood was left perplexed at how to be a punk for the night. It was rather a lot to ask Hollywood to dress like they worshipped The Clash, so this year Anna Wintour is being kind as the exhibition pays homage to British-born designer (Mr anti-punk) Charles James.
We'll forgive you if you haven't heard of him, but he is a hugely influential New York designer who created elegant ball gowns in the 40s and 50s. James was close friends with Cecil Beaton, was highly respected by the likes of Christian Dior and was often dubbed 'a great friend of the French couture.' The exhibition, which opens on the 8th of May, will examine 100 Charles James pieces and will present him as a scientist, mathematician and designer. It might be nine months away, but we're already excited to see Marc Jacobs, Giles Deacon and pals have a go at 50s pattern cutting.
But now we get to the really good bit. Sarah Jessica Parker is a Met Ball veteran and Anna Wintour has taken notice, as she has been named as a co-chair with the one... the only... Bradley Cooper. Oscar de la Renta will co-host the event so the Met steps will be flooded with candy coloured full skirts and delicate embellishments. 50s couture AND Bradley Cooper; this is going to be one big swoon fest.
What do you make of this year's theme? Let's revisit the last five years of Met Balls below...
2013: Punk: Chaos to Couture
Back in May anyone who is ANYONE in planet fashion hiked up the 154 feet long staircase (with a designer pal on their arm) to be welcomed into the museum by fashion editortrix Anna Wintour. As the theme was punk there were plenty of fake nose rings, leather and chatter about The Clash on the red carpet. In the words of Lena Dunham: 'It's an excuse to spit in the museum.'See over 100 stars get punk'd in our 2013 Met Ball coverage.
2012: Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations
The premise of this gala was Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations so the dress code was a no-brainer, right? Wrong. While Diane Kruger, Kate Bosworth, Gwyneth Paltrow, Carey Mulligan and Miuccia’s date, Linda Evangelista, chose Prada creations, many guests stuck to the tradition of arriving in and on the arm of their favourite designer. The likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristen Stewart, Emma Stone and Florence Welch took sartorialness to new, dazzling heights by representing Valentino, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen in jaw-dropping red carpet confections while Coco Rocha wore an Elizabeth Taylor cast-off and Marc Jacobs wore a, err, LBD
2011: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
In 2011 the Costume Institute gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrated the work of the late Alexander "Lee" McQueen. It wasn't a McQueen only red carpet as you might expect - Coco Rocha hit the nail on the head when she pointed out that all of the the best Alexander McQueen dresses were on display in the museum's “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibition. So this left the A-list scrabbling around for the gowns by the late designer, with many having to resort to wearing dresses by other design houses.
2010: American Women: Fashioning a National Identity
The 2010 Met Gala was co-chaired by Patrick Robinson, creative director of Gap (which also sponsored the event), and Oprah Winfrey. The stand out best dresser was Sarah Jessica Parker in a champagne Halston Heritage show-stopper. But this 2010 will always be known as the year Kate Perry wore a light up frock.
2009: The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion
Anne Hathaway wore purple Marc Jacobs and a can of hairspray and Kate Moss wore a metallic Marc toga and turban. But five years later the pictures of Madonna in her Louis Vuitton bunny ears are still doing the rounds.
See the best of the 2013 Met in the gallery below...