This year New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org) is celebrating Charles James, the legendary twentieth-century Anglo-American couturier, who died in 1978. The inaugural exhibition of the newly renovated Costume Institute, entitled Charles James: Beyond Fashion, opens on May the 8th and is presented in the new Anna Wintour Costume Center.
This year’s Met Ball has taken on a double importance because, on the one hand, it has paid tribute to the sculptor’s eye of James and to his ability to explore the confines of design, while on the other hand, it has inaugurated the new cultural center dedicated to the history of fashion which bears the name of the Editor-in Chief of Vogue magazine. An event of such importance brought the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony, which was held on May the 5th.
The Met Ball is a spectacular evening where the most important celebrities of the fashion system and of show business meet on the red carpet with their wonderful clothes and their dazzling smiles ready to be shown off in front of the first photo lens. The most important fashion houses compete to clothe fashion directors, models and the muses and stars of Hollywood.
Anna Wintour in Chanel Haute Couture (chanel.com), accompanied by Aerin Lauder and co-chairs Sarah Jessica Parker, Bradley Cooper, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch and Oscar De La Renta (oscardelarenta.com), greeted their guests, in their finest attire, for what is considered fashion’s night of the Oscars. Over the last few days the bets on who would be wearing what have appeared on all the social networks, increasing expectations.
The red carpet was graced by many stars who had chosen Givenchy Haute Couture (givenchy.com), including Beyoncé, Erykah Badu and the model Naomi Campbell, accompanied by Riccardo Tisci himself. Oscar winning Lupita Nyong’o, wearing Prada (prada.com), looked like a woman from the Twenties ready for a remake of the Great Gatsby. Chanel’s new muse, Kristen Stewart wore a Haute Couture dress from the French maison. Singer Rihanna and the super top model Cara Delevingne chose Stella McCartney (stellamccartney.com), while Kate Mara e Florence Welch were in Valentino, and Gisele Bündchen was wrapped in a silk lace dress by Balenciaga (balenciaga.com).
This year the rules of the dress code were absolutely rigid and imposed “white tie and decorations”. There were many, very many, free interpretations, but the loyalty awards for having respected the rules to the letter went to Sarah Jessica Parker and Karlie Kloss in Oscar De La Renta, Karen Elson and Dita Von Teese in Zac Posen (zacposen.com), and Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa (marchesa.com).
Their gowns were sumptuous and in perfect accord with Anna Wintour’s intentions. The Editor of Vogue magazine wanted a return to the past elegance of high society, to those outfits that were fashionable for such a long time and which, with a little imagination, everyone can wear again, at least for an important evening. And it is well known that there is not a single frill on a skirt that moves without the consent of the Lady of Fashion – even (or perhaps, above all) on a red carpet as exceptional as that of the Met Ball.