By Megan Wallace
While only a privileged few get to attend in person, the Met Gala is the most hotly anticipated event on any fashion lover’s calendar. It’s the time of the year where we get to see all our favourite celebrities, from musicians to models, in truly out of this world red-carpet ensembles. Every year, the event’s theme invites attendees to up their fashion game. Past galas have set the task of dressing in response to Cubism, Punk and Superheroes and there’s always a divisive split between those who really engage with the theme and those who do not. And the clothes seen at this year’s Comme des Garçons themed gala were no exception to the rule.
The Japanese label, founded by visionary designer Rei Kawakubo, is renowned for its subversive approach to fashion but only a handful of guests delivered something show-stopping which captured the brand’s rebellious spirit. Unsurprisingly, the leader of the pack was Rihanna in Comme des Garçons Couture. Those who remembered the fur-trimmed yellow Guo Pei cape she wore at her last gala, were expecting nothing less than perfection — and perfection it was. The voluminous sculptural dress was also perfectly accessorised with strappy red stilettos and complemented with a red makeup look on eyes and lips.
As co-chair Katy Perry was also under pressure to deliver something breath-taking. And her outfit, designed by John Galliano at Maison Margiela, was every inch avant-garde: a red dress of ruffles and beaded embellishments, finished off with a trailing tulle veil. The choice embodied Kawakubo’s theatrical designs even if it wasn’t a Comme de Garçons piece.
Singer Solange Knowles defied expectations in a Thom Browne black puffer coat with train over an crisp white button down with oversized cuffs. About at far away from black-tie attire as you can get but, as always, Solange gets it right. Priyanka Chopra was another champion of subversion in a Ralph Lauren trench-coat inspired dress with an expansive train, worn with ankle booties and a nonchalant top-knot.
Voluminous shapes and trains were certainly unifying trends amongst the ensembles on display, with the stunning Oscar de la Renta gown spotted on Zoë Kravitz being testament to this. Composed of pink and black satin, the look was embellished with real flowers and topped off with a flowing black train. Zendaya’s off-the-shoulder, neo baroque Dolce & Gabbana ballgown was an impressive effort in off-kilter red carpet dressing, despite not exactly hitting on the Comme des Garçons aesthetic.
However, while more conventional evening wear choices were a bit safer, they were also truly elegant. Casing point being actress Tracee Ellis Ross, who made an excellent choice with her royal blue Comme des Garçons dress. The garment’s asymmetrical silhouette and high collar are representative of the type of experimentation the brand does best, but the lustrous fabric with its delicate floral pattern give the piece a ladylike finish.
Elsewhere, Rose Byrne’s red Ralph Lauren dress was an interesting mix, with a plunging neckline and cut-outs at the bodice meeting a full tulle skirt. Laura Osnes wore a dress by Christian Siriano, comprised of a delicate body coupled with a skirt composed of gauzy pink flowers. Mindy Kaling opted for something slinkier, donning a blue Prabal Garung piece with a sequinned body and tassels in the lower half of the skirt.
Makeup looks deserve a mention too, in particular the hair and makeup sported by Grace Hartzel. The model sported a recreation of a 2004 Dior catwalk look with heavy white foundation, red eyes and lips and ringlets.
While Lily Collin’s Giambattista Valli gown was a more sedate choice, she paired it with a dark burgundy lip and a sharp black bob, significantly toughening up her look for the night.
Finally, men’s fashion, normally a sea of uniform black tuxedoes, stepped up a gear in the name of Kawakubo. Actor Rami Malek wowed in a red Dior Homme slim-line suit. Worn without a tie, and with deep lapels and an embroidered flower, Malek gave traditional menswear an interesting twist. Sean Combs (aka P Diddy) also turned heads in a Rick Owens ensemble with cape.
Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons, Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi, image via Metropolitan Museum
Rihanna, Katy Perry, Solange and Zendaya via the Metropolitan Museum of Art official Instagram page
Grace Hazel via @graziehazel Instagram page