White Tie may have seemed like a fairly simple theme, but the Met Ball has a special place in our style-critique hearts for allowing people to throw out some cad-like interpretations (Erykah Badu, THAT HAT! You know, when we saw Pharrell in his nifty Vivienne Westwood number, we also thought: hell, I bet you could go bigger. Well done Erykah. Excellent, out-giant-hatting. We can but commend you).
What we will say, is that fashion is subjective. We bet lots of these ladies left the house thinking: ‘I look swell’ when those deft trolling Tweeters were to voice their opinions to the contrary. The tricky bit of the theme was the Charles James element, a man who gave the 50s an edge with his visionary gowns. And that’s the thing – surely the best interpretation of this theme, is not to ape an old school ageing over the top ball gown à la a Disney Princess (looking at you, SJP and Katie Holmes), but to envisage what a visionary gown looks like today, in 2014. In that spirit, here are the top ten ladies who chose frocks which succeeded on that measure.
Cara Delevingne in Stella McCartney
Cleverly up-ending the White Tie theme with her sexy take on the tuxedo. Who says suits are just for the boys? We like to think of this as the feminist take on ball dressing – look how easy she can walk for one! Nothing makes us more tense than trying to figure out how the hell anyone can move around in a thick satin fish-tail.
Victoria and David Beckham in Victoria Beckham and Ralph Lauren
OMG, they did matching outfits. We wish they would do this more often. We love it so. Also clever old VB has managed to whip up a column-type dress without it looking boring – see the square cut bodice and subtle full length back-zip. We think Victoria’s hair is super good, too. How glossy! Lovely.
Beyoncé in Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy
Good grief this dress makes us want to spend the rest of the week sweating up a storm in a spinning session. It’s elegant, yet cool and actually looks dead comfy. But it’s the netting over her face that’s really got us. A little bit diva-in-a-dressing-gown, a lot hot.
Suki Waterhouse in Burberry
There is something about this, that while it should scream fairytale nightmare, actually looks super modern and a little bit scruffy. Maybe it’s the way Suki wears it. But we’re into it.
Kim Kardashian in Lanvin
Oh Kim. What a difference a year makes! Ms Kardashian shows how complete her fashion education is with this classic Lanvin gown (albeit with enough of a slit and decolletage to make her feel at home) in a delicious rich blue that screams class.
Hailee Steinfeld in Prabal Gurung
Now, THIS. This is how you do an homage to a man who sculpted his gowns but with a modern eye on it. Very cool.
Emma Stone in Thakoon
Oh, Emma Stone. You’re our favourite! So on the money, so perfect for her and makes her look ace. We love. And the best accessory of all – Andrew Garfield! Yum.
Lily Allen in Chanel
Proving that nothing can ever go wrong if you are wearing Chanel Haute Couture. Sheezus Lily. Sheezus.
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Jessica Pare and Zoe Saldana in Michael Kors
Now, what we don’t know is whether or not they were fussed that MK gave them frocks that are a little similar… But nay matter, pouffy without being too silly, printed without being too shouty. Both winners.
Karen Elson in Zac Posen
Ok, so we’re going to give you one ballgown. Because it’s Karen and she is one of the coolest women on the planet. But also because it’s by Zac Posen, who in New York is Charles James’ most natural successor to the uber-frock crown. It might be candy-floss pink, and full skirted, but check out that high, modern neckline, check out how the folds fall so perfectly and how it photographs well from every angle. Check out how it doesn’t make her look one, older than she is and two, like something out of a 1950s musical. That, is how to do a big old number. Full points to Karen and Zac.
See every single look from the Met Ball 2014…