New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

“Far From the Maddening Crowd”

“Anna turn around!”
Photo Laurel Marcus

It’s official! New York has now caught up with Los Angeles in its celebrity sighting scene. That’s what a few hours standing outside the #Metball (#Meatball says autocorrect) tells me. I attempted this same feat last year to better results but thought I may as well document Monday’s lost-two-hours-of-my-life here for posterity. Arriving in the vicinity of 5:40 p.m. I observed that the best standing room would be across the street from the entrance tent where most limos drop off rather than in front of the red carpet. So did I stand there? No, I did not, preferring to immerse myself in the crowds flanking the middle of 82nd Street. My strong powers of reasoning advanced a theory that there would be just one moment to spy those alighting from a vehicle versus many more opportunities to sight them on the long red carpet; a theory that I lived to regret.

Anna Wintour’s back

I also hoped to replicate something akin to last year’s snarkfest but alas, it was not to be “A Face In the Crowd” article. A strong police presence shifted us from one side to another (Ha! won that one) but did not tell us to vacate the street altogether. No, they left that little tidbit of important information for later, when they parked their police vans directly in our line of vision, at which point there was nowhere to watch the arrivals that wasn’t already blanketed with humanity and/or cameramen standing on step stools with huge telephoto lenses and refrigerator-sized view-obliterating TV cameras.

I managed to steal a photo of Anna Wintour’s back as she crossed Fifth Avenue. I later read that she almost collided with a bicyclist but didn’t see the near calamity. Incidentally, her shimmery thematic dress was beautiful–far nicer than it photographed. I had also read about her ban on social media inside the ball and wondered how that would work out amongst the ever-ready bunnies and self-obsessed Instagrammers with itchy trigger fingers in attendance.It seems they still fired a few shots off (Kanye got a “rump roast of Kim and J. Lo ” while the “celebumodels” put it on lock in the bathroom mirror) however the selfies ended up on begging the question of some sort of collusion.

Best seats in the house

In my new precarious perch standing half in the street and half on the sidewalk I could kind of glimpse a sliver of the red carpet goings-on particularly when the TV camera above me was lifted off of its tripod and hoisted in the air; otherwise nada! Which was appropriate because this year, instead of the fashion industry homies in my ear, I heard mostly French (which I understand a bit of) and other languages ranging from what I believe was Dutch, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, pretty much running the gamut in this sidewalk/melting pot microcosm. Temperature wise it was also near boiling so the close proximity of sweating flesh was not exactly an olfactory benefit. A brave woman asks a cameraman atop a large stepladder to please take a photo with her camera. When he obliges, several more ask as well. Another woman makes a move to stand on the bottom rung of his ladder to which he tells her to get off. “If I fall it’s gonna cost you a lot of money!” he says. A random guy, toting his own stepstool, grabs the shoulder of the unsuspecting woman in front of him for leverage as he pulls himself up

I was able to spy the early birds including Larry David, Kenneth Cole, Jennifer Lawrence, Katie Holmes with Zac Posen, Sarah Jessica Parker with Andy Cohen and “Der-ek Jet-er” (as the chant went up) with GF/model Hannah Davis. It was particularly easy to spot those that had “Culturally Appropriated” ie. worn headdresses with flames, flowers or gold spikes so thank you to SJP, Blair Clarke, Selena Gomez and Karen Elson among others. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, I could not easily ID those who committed the egregious faux pas of drawing on “the exaggerated cat’s eye liner” but some were given a pass if they were of partial Asian heritage themselves (Alexa Chung’s father is 3/4’s Chinese). Dragons, poppies (sorry Poppy Delevingne who said she was dressed as opium!), the color yellow which only emperors and Rihanna could wear, otherwise best dressed nominee Dakota Johnson toting a China Doll purse; all of these were CA no-no’s according to those who like to fling blame.

Press at work

Don’t even get me started on the hair chopsticks that Emma Roberts was shamed into removing shortly after arrival due to negative feedback on social media. Rihanna in her omelet-memed cloak which must have made her feel warm as toast on the 80-plus degree night did receive props for researching and wearing Chinese Couture Designer Guo Pei. For those who wonder how she ate dinner with one hand holding the unwieldy garment, the answer is, she didn’t but changed into a strapless Stella McCartney crumb-catcher red dress, changing again for her performance and after party. That’s one committed fashionista! (see article) /

Metaphorically and physically doing the walk-back, I’m still out here on the sidewalk where I continue to miss the sharp-tongued acidic yet informed commentary of last year. In its stead, that is, when I actually hear snippets of English, it’s full of misinformation (no, that was not Kate Bosworth) and inanities like “Wow! I didn’t know Katie Holmes had so much junk in the trunk!” There’s no one yelling at Former Mayor Bloomberg as he swans around the carpet with GF Diana Taylor and daughter Georgina; no one telling him to “Go home! It’s not your city anymore!” as one of the guys did last year (maybe London will be his future city)?

Of course, you have those of the younger set, screaming and all but passing out over how good Irina Shayk looks but really it’s a bit of a sight-obstructed snooze fest out there. When I find myself searching on my phone to compare whatever sliver of an outfit I see in order to figure out who it is, I realize it is time to go home and watch the rest online. Forget Periscope, nothing short of a telescope will save the night here. I am safely home well before 9:45 p.m.; the ridiculous hour which the official press had to camp out on the red carpet for a near-naked Beyonce sighting. Can’t imagine it was worth it to see the emperor’s new clothes er, make that strategically placed jeweled bits.

Lady Gaga

My best dressed: Fan Bingbing in Chris by Christopher Bu.  Also not at the Met Gala but worn by Lady Gaga during the day: Manga sunglasses and Minna Parikka’s sushi shoes! Cultural appropriation or commitment to fashion? You be the judge.

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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