2012 Met Costume Institute Gala, Part 1

Whether you think of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala as the Fashion Industry’s Prom Night (if your idea of prom includes Marc Jacobs wearing a sheer lace dress over boxer shorts) or the Oscars of the East Coast (but the only award you can win is Anna Wintour’s approval of your outfit, and that’s just impossible) or the Gay Superbowl (the attendees included Tom Brady, Tim Tebow, and many gay men, so this might actually be the most accurate description), it’s time to see the most famous names and faces in the industry rocking their fanciest duds for the occasion.

This year’s Costume Institute exhibit (and theme for the Gala) is Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. So look out for dadaist/surrealist-inspired fashion (Elsa Schiaparelli’s pre-World War II aesthetic) and pops of hot pink (her favorite color) – not to mention, of course, a shit-ton of custom-made goodies by 62-year-old Miuccia Prada herself (who almost didn’t make it to the Gala honoring her because she fell in her stilettos)! Now let’s begin the first of four posts (yes, FOUR – that’s how huge this event is!) on the red carpet fashion from the 2012 Met Gala.

Best Dressed
CAREY MULLIGAN // dress and shoes by Prada

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic

It was obvious from the moment Carey Mulligan stepped onto the red carpet that she was officially the woman to beat for Best Dressed at fashion’s biggest night of the year. The dress was custom-made for Carey by Miuccia Prada – and you can tell, because it both physically and aesthetically fits her body and her personal style like a dream. The ombre effect of the gold and silver sequins that get larger towards the bottom of the dress is brilliant, and she practically radiated glitter and fierceness on the red carpet. She was smart to go subtle with the pumps – a dress like this needs little in the way of accessories. And the fucking fabulous hairdo, smoky eyes, and nude lips? Just perfection.

Photo: redcarpet-fashionawards.com

And, like a true red carpet diva, she looked perfect from every angle. She simply blew me away.

BEE SHAFFER // gown by Erdem

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

This is Anna Wintour’s 25-year-old daughter Bee, and her Erdem gown screams, “My mom is the most powerful woman in this room full of fashion’s most powerful people, and I’m going to reap all the benefits in the form of one KILLER gown.” I’m a big fan of Erdem’s elegant silhouettes in unusual prints, and this gown is no exception. Unlike most 25-year-olds, Bee can totally pull off the train on this gown (and I’m no fan of trains, but the Met Gala is the time to whip ’em out). The colors, the fit – they’re all spectacular. Bee, can’t you go into fake acting so I can see you on the red carpet all the time?

Honorable Mention
// gown by L’Wren Scott

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty

Mad Men‘s Megan Draper is so beautiful and brilliant on the show, and she’s here to prove she’s equally fabulous in real life. This gorgeous L’Wren Scott design was my Spring 2012 red carpet prediction for Anne Hathaway, but I’m thrilled to see it on Jessica. It hugs her amazing curves in all the right places, the texture of the gown is exquisite, and the styling is effortless, yet chic. I’m mostly excited at the prospect of seeing her gorgeous self in similarly fabulous clothes on every red carpet in the near future.

EMILY BLUNT and JOHN KRASINSKI // gown and tuxedo by Calvin Klein, purse by Christian Louboutin

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

There are so, SO many reasons to be jealous of Emily Blunt: 1) She’s English, fierce as hell, funny as can be, and she got to use all those talents (while dressing fabulously) to make fun of Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. 2) Her breathtaking bedroom eyes. This bitch was smize-ing before Tyra Banks even knew what smize-ing was. 3) She’s a vision in her perfect pink Calvin Klein gown, and she’s somehow making me not bored of a gown I’ve seen time and time again. 4) Hair, makeup, purse: the styling is simple and glam. 5) She has the most coveted accessory I’ve ever seen: The Office‘s John Krasinski. (He’s also in Calvin Klein – how precious!) Seriously, that man is delicious. 6) In case you didn’t already know, she has an unstoppable body, as evidenced by those mega-flattering cut-outs. Apparently, sex with John Krasinski is great for your figure, as well as being great for a multitude of other reasons that I will not describe, because Democracy Diva already gets enough hits from vulgar Google searches. (Example: two hits this week from the search “gaping vaginas.” I kid you not. And I’ve just guaranteed a few MORE hits from that search by typing this here, so, howdy, pervy Googlers! Enjoy your stay!)

GWYNETH PALTROW // dress, purse, and shoes by Prada

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic

There are elements to this look that I love. The silhouette of the dress itself is lovely, and those spangled pockets are to die for. The shoes with the sequined heel are divine, the halter neckline is gorgeous, and her legs look fucking amazing. But the dress doesn’t fit her perfectly, and the amount of sideboob on display might be too egregious to forgive. Let’s see another angle:

Photo: Styleite.com

Much more adorable from the back, where you can really appreciate the silhouette. The backless effect is so dramatic and sexes up an otherwise precious dress. The shoes – and her legs – look even better from behind, and I’m still drooling over the pockets. Just a tad more coverage around the side of her tits, and I’d be happy.

DAKOTA FANNING // gown by Louis Vuitton

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Dakota’s gown – somewhere between periwinkle and lavender – is absolutely gorgeous. The skirt might be just a bit much on such a young girl, but the bodice fits like a dream and the neckline is lovely. Hair, makeup, and the little floral hairclips  are cute as can be. I’m still waiting for her to wear a color – yes, this is kind of a color, but I mean something bold and bright – but this was a beautiful step forward for Dakota.

RENÉE ZELLWEGER // gown by Emilio Pucci

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

This is the first major event in approximately eight millions years at which Renée did not wear Carolina Herrera. That alone was enough to make people care about her even though she’s basically irrelevant – and she seemed like she was on all kinds of fun pills during her red carpet interview. Regardless, this is one spectacular gown, with an added train that looks kind of unnecessary from the front but was extremely dramatic from the back, with the help of the Met’s famous steps. Case in point:

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Wow, girl. I’m no fan of Ms. Zellweger, but this is a hell of a gown on her.

LEA MICHELE // gown and purse by Diane von Furstenberg, shoes by Christian Louboutin

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

First things first: Lea Michele’s sternum is back on display! It was only gone for a week, but I know you missed it as much as I did. But all tits aside, she looks stunning. The long, wavy bob is excellent on her – never go back to bangs, Lea! – and the makeup is soft and pretty. The gown, aside from being unreasonably low, is spectacular on her. She looks great in this dress (and particularly, in this navy blue), even if she dons way too many sparkly body-hugging plunging-neckline gowns. And even though she’s so adorably petite, this gown only flatters her tiny figure instead of obscuring it. But I know what you’re all wondering: has Lea finally given up on her other favorite skin-baring red carpet trend? Where is the mega-high slit? Could it be that, in spite of her visible sternum, she has turned over a new leaf that does not involve flashing her inner thigh at every paparazzo she sees?

Photo: Elle UK

Of course not, dear readers. Lea Michele will never change, at least not while her thighs still look this good. (Love the shoes, though, darling!)

LESLIE MANN // gown by Nina Ricci

Photo: Styleite.com

Judd Apatow’s lovely wife Leslie looked incredibly chic and romantic in her pink ethereal gown. This was my Pre-Fall 2012 red carpet prediction for Mila Kunis, but Ms. Mann is killing it, bringing some needed hardness to a very soft gown with the sexy black shoes and the gunmetal purse.

MICHELLE DOCKERY // gown by Ralph Lauren

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Why yes, that is Downton Abbey‘s Lady Mary Crawley! This was my Fall 2012 red carpet prediction for Zoe Saldana, but the Ralph Lauren Fall ’12 runway show was inspired by Downton Abbey and even featured the show’s music, so who better to wear a look from that collection than Lady Mary? The gown is perfect, but I don’t like those gloves. I think she could have rocked gloves with this gown, just not those particular gloves, which seem so heavy. A more sheer glove, perhaps a lace one, might have done the trick, or a metallic one to bring out the gold in the gown. A look this simple begs for a necklace, so I wish she’d borrowed some mega-bling, but she’s still so statuesque and classically beautiful. And those eyebrows – I’d punch a kitten in the face for those eyebrows.

ALEXA CHUNG // dress and blouse by Marc Jacobs, shoes by Tabitha Simmons

Photo: Elle UK

Well, it’s not the stupidest she’s ever looked, that’s for sure. The dress itself is really interesting, but the buttoned-up shirt underneath is too puffy and ill-fitting to be paired with a structured, leather-paneled dress. Spaghetti straps over a Mormon blouse? Doesn’t quite work for me. The makeup is fine, the hair is still approaching normalcy, and the shoes are at least interesting, possibly awesome, but the jury’s still out on that one.

MILLA JOVOVICH // gown, purse and shoes by Prada

Photo: Barket-Hahn/Abaca

From the thighs up, this is pretty nice. It’s interesting and event-appropriate and very fashion-y, for lack of a better term. The hair is chic, the eyeliner and nude lip combination works well, and the bodice really is lovely on her. But the way the skirt turns into panels with those horrible black tassels on the bottom – no. It’s just awful, and the black peep-toe pumps are disappointing.

AMY POEHLER // gown by Fotini

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The bodice is fantastic and fits her like a dream, and the peplum skirt is very on-trend. The feathered train, on the other hand, feels tacky and overdone. If the feathers were incorporated in a different way, not just tacked-on to make a mermaid gown out of a normal dress, perhaps it would work, but this silhouette is a mess. And she could use a necklace.

AMBER HEARD and ZAC POSEN // gown by Zac Posen

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty

If you cut the bustle off her ass, and if the hemline didn’t look so much like upholstery, I might like this gown. The color is interesting, even if pink ruffled satin kind of screams “bridesmaid.” The hair is fabulous and the bodice was all kinds of fantastic on her, even if that red lipstick makes her look like a trollop. But sweet Jesus, the ruffled bustle (say that ten times fast) on the back? It’s a disaster, plain and simple. Zac, on the other hand, looks as sharp and delicious as ever in his cranberry velvet blazer that I would very much love to see hanging in my closet.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER // gown by Valentino

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Someone please tell me how Sarah Jessica looked in the mirror while wearing this and DIDN’T think to herself, “Wow, this is what I will look like when I’m a great-grandmother drinking mint juleps on my southern plantation!”

SOFIA VERGARA // gown by Marchesa

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

It’s very Marchesa, and it’s very Sofia. But I’m not sure either one of those is a compliment. Like most Marchesa dresses, it’s very pretty, it’s unreasonably ruffly, and it does more to obscure a woman’s body than it does to emphasize it. Not that this dress isn’t flattering on Sofia – it’s just that it hides her curves behind curtains. I know I’m always telling her to stop with the skin-tight dresses and the mega-cleavage, but I didn’t mean that she should cover up her ladyparts with RUFFLES. Also, the stick-straight hair does nothing for her. She’d be much more beautiful with soft waves and a lighter shade of lipstick.

JESSICA BIEL and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE // dress, purse, and shoes by Prada; tuxedo by Tom Ford

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Did you staple that hemline together yourself, Jessica? What the hell is happening at the bottom of that dress? It hits at such an awkward place, and the crooked bubble hemline looks unintentional and sloppy. The rest of the dress is fine, if underwhelming, but I don’t like the mauve satin pumps. It’s just so disappointing to see someone so style-less next to the über-stylish Justin Timberlake. He is all kinds of amazing in that pitch-perfect Tom Ford tux and his shit-eating grin.

EMMA ROBERTS // gown by Escada

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Poor Emma can never seem to find a hair color that works for her, and always settles for dishwater blonde. I think the color of the gown could be great on her – if she had a different hair color. The combination of those yellows washes her out entirely – but with dark locks, I think that yellow dress would really pop. Unfortunately, Anna Wintour’s limo appears to have run over Emma’s dress on the red carpet – what other explanation could there be for such a sad, wrinkled gown?

FLORENCE WELCH // gown, purse, and shoes by Alexander McQueen

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

This is one of those things you see on the runway and appreciate, and think to yourself, “If there’s anyone who can pull this off – and that’s a big if – it’s Florence Welch.” And then you actually see Florence Welch in it, and you think to yourself, “Well, it’s official – no one can pull this off, Florence Welch included.” Flo, you’re a giant three-tiered wedding cake, and it’s ridiculous. But the Met Gala is the time to be absurdist, and so I respect your boldness even though your dress is  making me crave a vanilla cupcake with pink frosting. But I love your shoes!


Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Have you ever seen so many unflattering elements in one look? Let’s go head to toe: The hair is silly. The lipstick; tacky. The earrings might be great if it weren’t for the giant diamond on her tummy, which we’ll get to in a moment. The puffy shoulder-padded sleeves make her look like an alien, and not in a good way. (There is a good way; see: Tilda Swinton’s entire wardrobe.) And the cut of the jumpsuit makes it look like her breasts don’t actually fill it out, just giant padding slightly beneath her breasts does. Then there’s that silver pendant over her belly, which is all kinds of ridiculous, and doesn’t obscure the fact that the cheap satin fabric pulls and stretches in a very unflattering way. Unreasonable, because her figure is killer, but this just doesn’t fit her at all. The wrinkles in the thighs are a complete disaster, and the shapeless, wide-leg pants that obscure her shoes and make her seem like her legs have been amputated are just plain awful.

Worst Dressed
MARC JACOBS and LORENZO MARTONE // dress by Commes des Garcons, boxers by Brooks Brothers

Photo: Stylelist.com

During his red carpet interview, Marc Jacobs defended his outfit by proclaiming that he was tired of wearing tuxedos. I actually find that reasonable, and I’d never begrudge any man the right to wear a dress. It’s this dress that I take particular issue with, because a buttoned-up lace nightshirt over WHITE BOXERS with SCHOOLGIRL SOCKS does not a Met Gala outfit make. At least he’s got one phenomenal accessory: his delicious PR executive/on-again, off-again boyfriend Lorenzo Martone, and Lorenzo’s awesome old man glasses.

And Marc, darling, I’ve been meaning to tell you: the Native American from the Village People called. He’s quite upset that you stole his gay pilgrim boyfriend’s shoes, and he very much wants them back. Your prompt response is appreciated. Love always, the Democracy Diva.

Keep reading: Part 2 and Part 3 are now up!

© Democracy Diva, 2012.
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7 responses to 2012 Met Costume Institute Gala, Part 1

  1. I’m sorry Ms. Chung, but the last time I wore sleeves under spaghetti straps it was when I was about nine and my mom didn’t want me to wear straps that thin by themselves, still deeming me too young. Then I grew up and she didn’t make me do that anymore. Time for you to grow up!

    I used to have the same problem Emma Roberts has with blond hair. I always had a bad shade of blond. I fixed it by ditching the blond altogether and going to brunette. Maybe she should look into ditching the the blond for another color too…

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