Rihanna in Stella McCartney [Getty]
The Met Ball offers the year’s most fashionable red carpet with designers vying to dress Hollywood’s most photogenic faces. This time around the Met exhibition is focused on American couturier Charles James setting the theme of ball gowns and white tie or last night’s gala. From frothy frills to striking plumes, over the course of the evening all manner of dressmaking skills were showcased, but as ever some frocks managed to divide opinion. Below Grazia’s Senior Fashion News & Features Editor, Katherine Ormerod analyses the dresses making headlines for better or worse….
1. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker in Oscar de la Renta
2014’s Met Ball Gala might go down as the night of glove with long opera styles featuring heavily. SJP’s effort here works perfectly with the theme – she looks like she could have stepped right out of Cecil Beaton’s famous image of Charles James clad ball-goers, although they might have baulked at the obvious branding. Elsewhere, the sculptural hair is way too princess Leia – a modern interpretation of a classic up-do is jarring with such an uber old school gown.
2. Rita Ora
Rita Ora in Donna Karan Atelier
Ms O’s racy frock ‘n’ thigh highs has been drawing some pretty negative reviews online – and there’s no denying the ensemble would have raised plenty of eyebrows in Charles James’ time. The thing is with a ballgown it’s usually better to keep it chic, rather than raunch it up with a stripper boot and lace armband. Then again, Rita has never exactly been a paid up member of the ‘less is more’ pack.
3. Monica Belluci
Monica Belucci in Dolce & Gabbana
Monica + Dolce & Gabbana = Fashion Heaven. While it might have been nice to have seen a little more of Belluci’s bountiful bosom and curves – NB – a cape doesn’t do much for a girl’s silhouette – but it certainly helped her make an entrance.
4. Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham in Giambattista Valli
This embellished Giambattista Valli frock is flirty and fun but doesn’t speak much to the old timer elegance of the Met Ball’s theme. In better news, Lena’s new fringe is a total winner.
5. Kate Upton
Kate Upton in Dolce & Gabbana
Kate Upton’s marvelous embonpoint takes centre stage in her Dolce & Gabbana black lace gown. While there’s a flamenco/ Sicilian widow vibe going on that drama-phile Charles James would doubtless have loved, it does read slightly too costume-y.
6. Tabitha Simmons
Tabitha Simmons in Dolce & Gabbana
‘Go big or go home’ is superstylist Tabitha Simmons’ message here – this Dolce & Gabbana humongous gown is a total showstopper and makes her look like a wood nymph. While critics have suggested the dress has a swamping effect, from my point of view it’s the most romantic dress of the night.
7. Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita Nyong'o in Prada
The year’s Marmite dress, you either love or hate Lupita’s feathered flapper era frock. Perhaps she’s taken the emerald theme a little too far with the matching shoes, clutch and headband but the Met ball is meant to be all about a) fashion design and b) risk taking, and Lupita brings plenty to the table in this jeweled Prada number.
8. Katie Holmes
Katie Holmes in Marchesa
Rather than going for the belle of the ball prize, Katie Holmes opted to dress instead like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. While I love a Disney princess as much as the next girl, there’s no place for this kind of thing on the Met Ball tapis rouge. If it were Suri, you’d almost forgive her. But then she is an 8-year old, whereas Katie is a grown woman.
See all of the red carpet looks in the gallery below...