Met Gala: The Brave & The Beautiful

The dress code for the Met Gala was avant-garde, which of course, can be broadly defined in many ways. And because the honoree was Rei Kawakubo, who is the definition of thinking out of the box, being rebellious, and staying true to oneself, it was truly a night where ‘anything goes’. And it did.

Caroline Kennedy in Comme des Garcons  


At the top of the list were the few brave souls who thankfully went all out and paid tribute to Rei by wearing one of her museum worthy designs. Probably the biggest surprise of the evening was Caroline Kennedy, the former Ambassador to Japan who calls Rei Kawakubo a good friend. She is usually very classic and rather conservative sartorially but for the event, she donned one of Rei’s more out there pieces.

Rihanna in Comme des Garcons  


Less surprising is that Rihanna would also select one of Rei’s more colorful, sculptural pieces. But being RiRi, she put her own sexy spin on it. Rather than wearing flat grounded shoes, a Comme des Garcons signature, she sexed it up a bit with red lace up high heeled sandals.

Helen Lasichanh & Pharrell Williams

Met Gala co-chairs Pharrell Williams and his wife Helen Lasichanh, an avant-garde couple if ever there was one, also arrived wearing Comme des Garcons.

Anna Cleveland

Anna Cleveland looked beautiful in a white Comme des Garcons dress that somehow did not overpower her, and perfectly suited her.

Co-chair and May Vogue cover girl Katy Perry is the ultimate risk taker, never disappoints on red carpets and this time was no exception – see lead photo. While she was not wearing Comme des Garcons, her edgy red ensemble, complete with veil, designed by Maison Margiela, easily could easily have been. 

Rita Ora in Marchesa

Red is a symbolic and important color for Rei (as much so as black), and it was not surprising that several women, including Rose Byrne, and Rita Ora in Marchesa wore red. Since the red carpet was not red but blue and cream, the red really popped.

Amy Fine Collins in Thom Browne

Thom Browne dressed two women for the evening, and hit it out of the ball park with his subversive take on black tie. There was Solange Knowles in Thom’s black puffer coat complete with dramatic train. And  Amy Fine Collins wore Thom’s trompe l’oeil beaded take on black tie. Perfection, down to the hair and my personal favorite.

Hailee Steinfeld in Vera Wang
Young Hailee Steinfeld has the legs to pull off Vera Wang’s black shorts underneath a long coat, punctuated with exaggerated sleeves embroidered with military insignia. It was cool, hip, young, and right on point.
Lily Aldridge
Lily Aldridge gets high marks for her white Balenciaga ensemble complete with edgy red stocking boots.
Kate Bosworth in Tory Burch

Kate Bosworth nailed it with a black dress designed by Tory Burch that easily could have been a Comme des Garcons design. Who knew Tory Burch had that edgy side in her? I don’t think she’s ever used black in her entire life (she prefers preppy navy).

Priyanka Chopra in Ralph Lauren


I loved that Priyanka Chopra really factored in the theme of the night and thought out of the box with Ralph Lauren’s dramatic trench coat dress with train.

Jennifer Lopez in Valentino 


Ruth Negga and J.Lo both wore Valentino’s covered up, cape like designs which suited them and paid homage to the evening’s honoree at the same time.

Cara Delevingne in Chanel

Cara Delevingne rocked it in a Chanel silver metallic pantsuit.

But as I previously mentioned, if you are truly avant-garde, you won’t follow dress codes but will go your own way. Which means the more classic and simple, the more counter -intuitive, the more avant-garde, right?  Hmm. Not necessarily.

Kim Kardashian in Vivienne Westwood

Kim Kardashian made a statement and certainly went against type with her simple white Vivienne Westwood dress, no bling in sight. And no Kanye in sight either (he was not up for the red carpet this year). But she almost got lost in the crowd, as did Gwyneth Paltrow in pale pink one shoulder Calvin Klein, and Jessica Chastain with her too subdued, pale yellow Prada gown.

Kendall Jenner in La Perla in Haute Couture


One woman who certainly could not have gotten lost in the crowd was Kendall Jenner. She was also perhaps the most counter intuitive in her choice of dress, given that Rei Kawakubo is a designer whose clothes are not made to appeal or attract the opposite sex, and if anything, she is all about covering up with her often out sized, cocooning, sculptural pieces. Kendall really went against the theme of the evening by showing up in a dress by La Perla “Haute Couture” with what looked like a lace thong and breast pasties beneath and left nothing to the imagination.

– 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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