This year, the glamour quotient was raised a notch: Whereas last year’s theme was punk, this time women were focusing on flowing gowns, and men were asked to dress in white tie ― full evening dress, including tails, in other words. Some men brought along their top hats.
The white-tie request was in keeping with the theme of this year’s Costume Institute exhibit, which opens to the public on Thursday: “Charles James: Beyond Fashion.” James, who died in 1978, was a mid-20th century designer who specialized in spectacular, sculptured gowns made with intricate draping techniques. It’s the inaugural exhibit of the new, $40 million Anna Wintour Costume Center, named for the Vogue editor.
Among early arrivals, actress Sarah Jessica Parker seemed to be zeroing right in on the theme of James-like glamour, wearing a sumptuous Oscar de la Renta ball gown with a black bodice and flowing white skirt, with a gridlike pattern on the back; the dress was also emblazoned with de la Renta’s name.
|Sarah Jessica Parker attends the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” on Monday in New York. ( AP-Yonhap News)|
Other guests going for gowns in black and white included actress Hailee Steinfeld in Prabal Gurung, who seemed to be evoking James’ classic 1953 Clover dress, a study in black-and-white color-blocking. Anna Kendrick also chose black and white, from J. Mendel.
There were, though, bursts of color: Actress Emmy Rossum wore a bright, bold floral Carolina Herrera gown in hues of yellow and purple.
One of the busiest designers of the evening seemed to be Ralph Lauren. Not only was Lauren dressing a host of stars; he was dressing his fellow designer, Calvin Klein.
Klein was wearing a Ralph Lauren Purple Label black tuxedo tailcoat with a white pique formal shirt, white pique vest and bowtie. Lauren also dressed actress Rachel McAdams, who wore a pale pink silk evening dress with a chiffon train, and gold leather heels.
Also wearing Lauren: soccer great David Beckham, who wore a white shawl collar tuxedo jacket and black tuxedo pant. The designer also said in a statement that actor Johnny Depp was planning to wear his designs.
TV personality Andy Cohen also wore Lauren as he accompanied Parker on the red carpet. He joked in interviews that, given the size of her outfit, it was like bringing the Statue of Liberty to the ball.
Several couples wore Calvin Klein: They included Anne Hathaway and Adam Shulman, and Christy Turlington Burns and Ed Burns. Also wearing Klein: actors Bryan Cranston and Paul Rudd, and TV late-night host Seth Meyers. The women’s looks were designed by Francisco Costa, and the men’s looks by Italo Zucchelli.