“Technically Speaking”

For years, the Costume Institute Ball has been referred to as the “Oscars of Fashion” and with that in mind, for the first time, E! Entertainment Channel announced that it would air “live” coverage of the red carpet arrivals this year. I tuned in to see the program that aired from 7:30 – 9PM with Giuliana Rancic heading up a 4 person panel. Puzzlingly, “command central” was not somewhere across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but far away, at Rockefeller Center (at least it wasn’t Los Angeles lol) and while some of it was live, much of it was taped.

Unsurprisingly, their focus was really on Hollywood (as opposed to the just plain fabulous). Well let’s face it, everyone who was anyone was there, (including almost all of Hollywood), except for recent Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio and George and Amal Clooney. Perhaps the glamourous couple decided they didn’t want to shell out the $60,000 to attend (tickets were reportedly going for $30,000 each). George did admit that $33,400 was “an obscene amount of money” (this was in reference to the price of a ticket to a fundraiser he hosted for Hillary Clinton at his home last weekend).

Gigi Hadid’s manicure

Though nothing could be more ‘obscene’ than Gigi Hadid’s $2000 couture manicure. The mega model, the face of Tommy Hilfiger, accessorized her custom made Hilfiger gown with sharp edged talons made of pure chrome and included a cluster of crystals underneath each nail. And ironically, probably no body even noticed it!

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Ralph Lauren
Photo: Vogue.com

But while the telecast had a (watered down) award show feeling, looking at the fashionable guests arriving, one would never have mistaken this event for an award show, not even the Academy Awards. This is an evening where playing it safe and just wearing borrowed jewels and a borrowed ‘pretty’ frock would not cut muster (Amber Heard and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley almost got lost in their simple yet elegant Ralph Lauren gowns).

You have to do a lot to really get noticed at the Met Ball and it’s a fashion spectacle of major proportions. Many brought their “A games” and really got into the theme of the evening, “Manus x Machina”: Fashion in an Age of Technology. Karolina Kurukova ‘s high tech Marchesa floral strewn gown came with a battery pack that lit up upon receiving Twitter feedback. The designers Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman teamed up with IBM’s cognitive computer, “Watson”, and the resulting technology allowed the dress to turn different colors (a reflection of how people feel about the dress in real time).

Lupita Nyong’o the higher the hair the closer to God
Photo: Vogue.com

Lupita Nyong’o, clad in a beautiful iridescent green metallic dress, wore a vertiginous hairstyle that was comprised of 4 buns (it easily rivaled that of ‘Fat Jew’). Beyonce, with her hair sleekly styled, looked better than ever and was more covered up than usual in her Givenchy embellished latex dress.

Sarah Jessica Parker
Photo: Vogue.com

Of course, for some, the theme was confusing if not ambiguous. Just recently, Sarah Jessica Parker (who has normally made quite an entrance at this event) remarked that she was flummoxed by the theme this year and was unsure of what it meant and how she would translate it. (Looking at her ill-conceived knicker ensemble by Monse, you could see she was not kidding!).

Alicia Vikander
Photo: Vogue.com

Recent Oscar winners Alicia Vikander and Brie Larson were among the big stars who showed up and both looked decidedly hipper, cooler, edgier, more fashionable, and more youthful than they did when they picked up their Academy Awards this past February (down to their sleek hair). Alicia wore a leggy and colorful Louis Vuitton. Arriving with Nicholas Guesquiere, she accessorized her dress with heavy, flat lace up combat boots, which were shown in the Louis Vuitton runway this past February. You would never see those at the Academy Awards!

Taylor Swift
Photo: Vogue.com

Brie wore a silver pailletted Proenza Schouler and as it turns out, silver was THE color, (or should I say, THE metal) of the evening. Silver is indeed the new black. Among those who wore silver and channeled an edgy futuristic gladiator look: Taylor Swift, in silver Louis Vuitton was almost unrecognizable with her platinum hair and dark dark lips. Rita Ora arrived in a silvery feathered Vera Wang creation with a huge train.

Cindy Crawford
Photo: Vogue.com

Kim and Kanye were a matched pair in their silver Balmain ensembles: Kim in a body hugging dress and Kanye paired his silver embellished jacket with ripped jeans. (Anna must have loved that lol). Lady Gaga chose a Versace silver embellished jacket worn over what looked like a silver bathing suit. She paired this with 10 inch platforms. Cindy Crawford looked better than ever in form fitting silver sequins.

Julie Macklowe
Photo: Vogue.com

Guiliana and her team of ‘fashion experts’ kept saying they were waiting to see a fabulous ‘robot’. If they had paid more attention to those who were not just Hollywood stars and household names, they might have noticed Julie Macklowe in her futuristic silver bodysuit. All I could think is, how will she be able to go to the bathroom in that?

Meanwhile, on Monday the prediction for the weather had indicated it would rain pretty much all day. And while it was a bit soggy early on, the clouds gave way to some sun just as the party got underway. You didn’t really think it would rain on Anna’s ‘Parade of the Fabulous’, did you?

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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