I thought I was immune to celebrity fashion until I came across the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala – aka the Met Ball. Maybe it’s the themes, set to the Museum’s current exhibition, and watching celebrities interpret them: think Madonna’s leftfield interpretation of punk in 2013; Gaga and Sarah Jessica Parker’s theatricality in general; Beyonce and Kim Kardashian vying to look completely naked last year (the theme was China: Through the Looking Glass). This year, the Met Gala Ball takes place on Monday May 2, with a theme rich with possibility: “Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology.” Here are some of my favourite looks for recent years; for a glimpse behind the scenes, visit vogue.co.uk. It’s a great read.
ONE. If you’re built like a Marvel superheroine, you may as well sheath yourself in a shimmering nude Gucci gown and get Ryan Reynolds to father your child. That’s what Blake Lively did in 2014.
TWO. There’s a slight issue of blending into the red carpet but the crop top and skirt in unusual pairing of pinks by Thakoon, worn by pale-skinned Emma Stone in 2014, is a wonder for its freshness and modernity. It’s the plait that makes it for me though. Soft, natural and girlish, it’s the perfect foil to such clean lines.
THREE. Zac Posen paid homage to the Charles James theme that year by dressing three celebrities. While Dita got the headlines, Liu Wen and Karen Elson were head-to-beautiful-head in bringing Old World glamour to the ball in a mighty way.
FOUR. I chose this not so much because of Jessica Stam, the Victoria’s Secret model with a penchant for rock gods, but because this fringed sleeved, Byzantine dress by Dior by John Galliano Haute Couture looks as throat-punchingly good now as it did in 2007.
FIVE. Amidst the Gilbert & Sullivan-esque costuming of other stars, Alexa Chung shone in a floral chine jacquard dress, made for her by British designer Erdem Moralioglu and set off to perfection with the prettiest powder blue shoes.
SIX. You could put Jourdan Dunn in a bin liner and she would look just as regal as she did in this bright yellow custom-made Topshop dress. She was the loveliest of five celebs – including Kendall – dressed by the high street label that night (May 2014).
SEVEN. I’m intrigued by the Olsens: their Goth luxe style, their extraordinary personal and fashion symbiosis; the way they helm their label Elizabeth & James. The twins wore vintage John Galliano for Dior to Met Gala 2015.
EIGHT. Rolling Stones offspring Georgia May Jagger wiped the Chinese-themed floor last year with a Gucci gown embroidered in dragons and phoenix, perfectly styled with lace-up pom pom sandals and floral headdress to create a hint of Western saloon girl.
NINE. While Nicole Richie’s platinum crop, burgundy lips and Topshop gown shook walls in 2013, in 2014 the former Simple Life star took it up a level in a grey, assymetric sheer velvet gown by Donna Karan, with lavender hair and subtle ear cuffs.
TEN. Hats off to Beyonce sibling Solange Knowles for wearing an outfit by our own Giles Deacon, no less, that challenged lots of boundaries in conventional event dressing and looked great. Remember, this is the year that sister Bey made her way up the red carpet in barely there Givenchy; Solange’s outfit was a refreshing offbeat – and beautiful – alternative.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Same year, different star but another British designer: FKA Twigs stunned in Christopher Kane’s twisted dancers gown. ‘FKA’s dress had a penis on it’ was all the media could go on about.
I hate to repeat myself but I did love Emma Stone in the strapless Lanvin column dress decorated in a lush print of monochrome roses and that brush of pink lipstick.