While some celebrities have been complaining about reporters focusing on their outfits at red carpet events such as the Oscars (when they'd much rather talk about cinema), there's one occasion that is really all about the fabrics draping everyone's backs: The annual Met Gala, officially the Costume Institute Gala. Kicking off a new exhibit dedicated to fashion every year, the event is meant as a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, and is known for the extreme sartorial lengths that its guest go to to impress the crowd.
This year, the theme was in honor of Rei Kawakubo, the Japanese designer behind the Comme des Garçons label who becomes the second one to inspire the Met Gala's theme during her lifetime after Yves Saint Laurent. While the exhibit is titled "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between," the main keyword for the Met Gala would be avant-garde, as Kawakubo is famous for her trendsetting and fearless ideas.
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In an interview with the New York Times, she explained how the brand Comme des Garçons was about "proposing a new beauty," challenging our notion of what is beautiful by reinventing the notion of clothes with every collection. But this proposition must remain somewhat incomprehensible. As her husband Adrian Joffe puts it, "if everyone came and saw the beauty of it and tried it on and felt amazing, that's the end. If everybody thought it was beautiful, it would be time for Rei to stop." In short? As soon as Kawakubo's work was chosen as the theme for this year's gala, it was clear that there'd be some straight-up bonkers get-ups on the red carpet.
You'd think it'd be hard to outdo what became known as the "Omelette Dress," which Rihanna wore to the 2015 Met Gala, but that'd be underestimating her.
This year, Rihanna clearly wore the most arresting outfit of the night with a look straight out of the exhibit that this gala is celebrating, from the Fall 2016 Comme des Garçons collection. Part wild flower, part Tinker Bell gone mad, she topped it all off with pink makeup and thigh-high laces. If there's one outfit you needed to see from this year's Met Gala, it's this one.
Katy Perry posed for Vogue's May issue all decked out in Comme des Garçons, which is probably why she went to another designer for this event. In Maison Martin Margiela, she clearly looks like she believes there's no such thing as over the top — and that even rear mirrors can be repurposed as super subtle fashion accessories.
While model Lily Aldridge's outfit is undoubtedly weird, it also perfectly fits the night's theme and is a hundred times more fascinating than the celebrities that showed up in the usual ball gown.
At 20 years old, Zendaya's already got more taste than most celebrities, and she didn't disappoint in Dolce & Gabbana. While Comme des Garçons is a brand mostly perceived as punk, Kawakubo's work is also all about femininity, and Zendaya's gown is as bold as it is elegant.
Now, deconstructing fashion doesn't necessarily mean you should wrap one half of your body in tulle and the other in leftover bits from a satin pillowcase crafting contest, but model Gigi Hadid doesn't fear asymmetry — or showing off the elastic of her stocking.
She's a stunning person, but model Chrissy Teigen's gown looks like a more or less acceptable lace number that got moldy on the edges, like a luxe reinterpretation of an old shower curtain.
How do you make sure you stay relevant with the youths when you've already peaked as a pop star? You post Instagram captions calling your fans "bitches" and show up at the year's most high-fashiony event in a strapped camo dress with camouflage leaves in lieu of a train. Well played, Madonna.
How do you draw the attention to you when your elders show up in military couture and a grill? You use your former hair as an accessory, obviously. Never one to shy away from ridicule, Jaden Smith reinvented the clutch by holding on to his dreadlocks all night.
Singer and actress Hailee Steinfeld took the majorette uniform to new heights (as well as her heels) in an ensemble that's part tube, part cape, part emblazoned sleeves. Now if only she would have brought a twirling baton.
Model Cara Delevingne, who'd been sticking to her blonde locks for years, recently shaved her hair off for an upcoming movie role. Probably aware that we were all dying to see what that new 'do makes her look like, she teased us once again by covering her skull in silver spray. With her glittery, belted Chanel suit, she's even subtly promoting the space saga that she's starring in, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
She held her own next to the dusty, dirty cowboys of the Magnificent Seven remake, but on the Met Gala red carpet, Haley Bennett ditched all signs of the Wild West in favor of an ethereal fairy look.
Probably too busy scratching her head at the Pepsi debacle to find time to not follow in her family's grand tradition of naked outfits, Kendall Jenner seemed to forget that deconstructing fashion is also, in a sense, about reconstructing, taking the term very literally instead by simply removing as much fabric as possible.
Singer Solange always perfectly navigates that fine line between "this is actually my personal style" and "I'm just testing how far I can take this madness." An event in honor of Rei Kawakubo was the perfect match for her, and she delivered. In a Thom Browne puffer pants and coat that comes with a train that you'd easily confuse with an inflatable mattress, if it weren't attached to the rest of her outfit.
"You said avant-garde and deconstructed, so I went ahead and used the kitchen scissors on that black fabric swatch you sent me. Good thing I kept my old figure skating one-piece, I wasn't in the mood to glue stuff directly onto my body."
Sean 'Diddy' Combs
When a matching blazer and coat aren't enough, former P. Diddy has one last trick up his sleeve to make sure all the cameras are pointed at him: Lounging in the middle of the stairs. Now that is a bad boy for life.
We're more used to the unlikely proportions coming from Pharrell Williams's hats, but this time his wife, Helen Lasichanh, dove head first into the risky theme. As co-chair of this year's edition, kudos to her for wearing the most Kawakubesque Comme des Garçons piece ever.
Priyanka Chopra took it upon herself to challenge the notion of the trench coat as a coat, or the notion of a tent as a non red carpet-appropriate item. I hope she met up with Solange to discuss a camping-inspired fashion line.
There was surprisingly little Monse at this Met Gala, when the label is known for producing outfits that look like they've been shredded to pieces and stapled back together. Claire Danes, thankfully, was here to introduce the "Toilet Paper as Tuxedo" look to the masses.
Though she stuck to her usual princess aesthetic with the dress, Lily Collins's haircut couldn't have been more faithful to Kawakubo's iconic black fringed bob. If that isn't an homage!
What's more original, the fact that rapper Nicki Minaj showed up in H&M at a gala for the prestigious Costume Institute or that her belt features Rei Kawakubo's face? Never change, Nicki.
What was your favorite outfit at this year's Met Gala?