Sarah Jessia Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker in a dragtastic Phillip Treacy headdress and (kind of basic, to be honest) gown she designed in collaboration with H&M (all images via unless otherwise noted)

The fashion world’s elite came out last night in what is likely one of the most important events in the industry, as well as a huge fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In absorbing last night’s festivities, I had a few questions.

Who put on yellow face for the occasion?

The evening’s theme — Chinese fashion — accompanied the Met’s exhibit China: Through the Looking Glass, which has been raising eyebrows of those worried about cultural appropriation for the past few months. Given that the past two years’ dress codes — Punk and White Tie — were evidently difficult for guests to grasp, it was easy to assume the worst when a predominantly white crowd was told to dress “Chinese inspired.”

Though some trotted out in their chinoiserie, like Sarah Jessica Parker in a blasé H&M gown and spiky headdress that looks like she borrowed it from a drag queen named Ming Vase, or Jennifer Lopez in an Atelier Versace dragon mess, most guests played it safe, simply wearing a Communist red frock (Amal Clooney in Margiela) or flat out eschewing any kind of reference to Chinese design elements at all (Dakota Johnson in Chanel).


Jennifer Lopez serving Dragon Lady Realness thanks to Atelier Versace


Amal Clooney making Mao proud in a Margiela gown, with George Clooney

Are tech and fashion growing ever closer?

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue and trustee of the Met, always has her usual guests of honor at the Met Gala, with Jennifer Lawrence getting the coveted seat this year as gala co-host and Gong Li as the token Chinese actress to tie in with the exhibition. But this year had a surprising guest: Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Yahoo. Given the huge advertising tie-in Conde Nast did with Apple to promote the hottest piece of wearable tech, having Yahoo co-sponsor the exhibition makes Anna seem very savvy about the very real future intersection of fashion and technology.

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs slaying in a Christopher Kane gown, with Cedric Diggory (er, Robert Pattinson)

Why is FKA Twigs so amazing?

Strutting out in a dress designed by Christopher Kane that looks like Matisse figures wrapped around your body is one thing. Having a visible penis above your thigh brings it to a new level of amazing.

What the hell did Rihanna’s Guo Pei couture coat resemble?

Pizza? A sous chef’s omelette being poured into a cast iron pan? The internet may not reach a consensus, but at least we have a hilarious new fashion meme.

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Pure genius, via Twitter

Alexander Cavaluzzo is a Pop Poet, Cultural Critic and Sartorial Scholar. He received his BS in Art History from FIT and his MA in Arts Politics at NYU. His interests focus on the intersection of fashion,...

6 replies on “Four Lingering Questions from Last Night’s Metropolitan Museum Gala”

  1. Hmm . . . no wonder Alexander McQueen committed suicide. . . maybe it’s
    time for a middle class gala #middle #hope #payless #America

  2. Yet somehow, americans dressing “chinese” seems more ridiculous looking than chinese dressing “american”. why is that???? hmmmmm

  3. All your commentary was snarky. Wasn’t anything beautiful and imaginative? I admit that the whole red carpet thing, wherever it is, is repulsive and invites sarcasm. Women should resist. And yet, I love clothes and dressing up.

    1. I agree, Kathleen. I love fashion, even at its most ridiculous. For example, I neglected to say that I do actually love the Guo Pei coat Rihanna wore, but I’ve had criticisms of this particular event for a while and it just all poured out of me for this short article. I do think there’s a place for spectacle and adornment, and they’re very important practices in my opinion, but in covering this I just unleashed the sassafras.

      1. i wouldnt apologize for snark where this event is concerned. I mean this is a monetized bit of 1%er validation. And to answer Sittingbytheriver above….its because it takes place in the US….if Beijing asked chinese to dresk american is might also be weird. Additionally of course, this is the new seat of empire and the colonial meme hangs over everything. Which speaks to the tone deaf met.

        1. Alexander is part of long rich tradition of witty retorts and edged barbs and jaded bon motts about fashion…As Oscar Wilde once put it “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” The decadence of fashion is absurd when 1.2 billion people on this planet still live in extreme poverty — on less than $1.25 per day – it’s only fitting and right for a critic like Alexander to poke some fun at fashion.

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