I have to admit, I awaited the procession of Met Gala 2015 red carpet looks with hope and fear. When the annual Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art first called the theme "Chinese Whispers" I could only imagine the offensive parade of misguided cultural appropriation that it would invite.
The morning of the China: Through the Looking Glass preview, I saw many an elderly, caucasian museum fan wearing awful polyester pajamas, qi paos from Pearl River Mart or other cheap souvenir shops from their travels. I didn't have much hope the night ahead.
Thankfully, the socialites and celebrities rose above. I was very impressed with how many people were able to express their love of Haute Couture and acknowledge the theme without going into poor stereotypes (that often are not even the correct ethnicity).
Met Gala guests were either red, embroidered or heavy on the headThe classic hue associated with Chinese culture was red. This was the most popular color of the night, and everyone looked stunning in it. Kris Jenner wore Balmain, Vanessa Hudgens wore a custom H&M dress, Amal Clooney was stunning in John Galliano for Margiela and Rita Ora wore Tom Ford.
Embroidery and embellishment were heavily featured on many gowns. Some took Chinese motifs literally, but may not have been executed in traditional silhouettes. Others were heavily embellished in beautiful techniques but stayed in spirit. Lizzy Caplan looked beautiful in a pink Donna Karan gown. Hailey Baldwin looked very modern in a custom short Topshop dress. Kim Kardashian had very revealing, but infinitely more flattering dress than previous Met Galas in her beaded Roberto Cavalli with a long train and architectural motifs. Bee Schaffer was in my favorite gown of the night from Alexander McQueen and Brie Larson wore Dolce & Gabbana.
The 'IT' accessory of the night was clearly an elaborate headdress that echoed the traditions of Chinese Opera. I'm glad they were more sculptural, not too literal. The mannequins of the exhibit itself had very contemporary shapes to accompany the fashions as well. Philip Treacy must have been working overtime. Rihanna wore an enormous yellow ensemble by Guo Pei. Sarah Jessica Parker wore a Philip Treacy headdress but a custom H&M gown. Karen Elson's gold and red ensemble was from Dolce & Gabbana as was Tabitha Simmons.
So bravo socialites and celebrities. You have succeeded in looking awesome and culturally sensitive.
Until next year's Met Gala, stay fabulous!
Photos by Andrew Toth, Larry Busacca/getty