Red Eye Makeup and Cotton Candy Hair? 6 Beauty Predictions for the Met Gala Red Carpet

3:26 PM 4/28/2017

by Meg Hemphill

Hollywood hair and makeup pros predict how Rei Kawakubo’s avant-garde spirit could inspire the faces and tresses of attendees.

Sarah Jessica Parker - China: Through The Looking Glass 2015 - Getty-H 2017
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Beauty pros often call the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Gala their favorite red carpet. Why? "There are no rules," says makeup artist Lauren Andersen, who is prepping Elizabeth Banks for this year's fashionable fundraiser. And with the 2017 theme paying tribute to boundary-pushing Comme des Garcons designer, Rei Kawakubo, gala-watchers can expect some serious avant-garde flair.

Makeup pro Vincent Oquendo, who's working with Paris Jackson for the event, predicts makeup will mimic "how Rei works with makeup in her collections." Notes Andersen: "I think we will be blown away this year with beauty. I can’t wait to see how creative this red carpet gets."

Here, a few predictions of where Kawakubo’s inspiration might lead on the faces and tresses of attendees.

  • Red Eye Makeup

    The Inspiration: Comme des Garcons, Spring 1997 Ready to Wear

    Who Should Try It: Rita Ora.

    Ora, who wore a striking silver eye last year, would be the one to sample another strong eye shadow look. Her makeup artist Kathy Jeung hints at a "daring, strong" look for the 2017 gala as well, and points to the "extreme boldness in color" that Kawakubo often displays on the runway. She notes, "A graphic eye, strongly shaped eyebrows with pale or nude lips will give a nod to the theme" — without going overboard, of course.

  • Architectural Headpieces

    The Inspiration: Spring 2014 

    Who Should Try It: Sarah Jessica Parker.

    This gala regular is a fearless fashion flyer, and loves to interpret a theme, including in 2015 wearing that extravagant Philip Treacy headpiece in perfectly coiffed locks by Serge Normant. The NYC-based hairstylist told THR of the headlining headpiece that "it had a personality of its own." While Normant insists "we never have a set idea, we always leave a bit to last minute thought," undoubtedly Parker has studied Kawakubo’s career and will interpret it, headpiece to toe, with her fashionable eye.

  • Cotton Candy Wigs

    The Inspiration: The candy-colored parade on the Spring '96 runway

    Who Should Try It: Katy Perry

    Although she's currently sporting a blonde crop, Perry — an event co-chair — has dabbled in a variety of hair colors, including pink back in 2011, and a playful hair hue suits her. Her hairstylist, Chris Appleton, loves to run the gamut of edgy rock 'n' roll styles to extreme extensions (he also works with Kim Kardashian and Ariana Grande), so a flouncy, colorful wig would suit his repertoire. Plus, Perry loves to go bold by embracing the gala's theme (think last year’s no-eyebrow look with a big beehive).

  • Pastel Eye Color

    The Inspiration: Fall 2007

    Who Should Try It: Paris Jackson.

    Her makeup man, Oquendo, calls the '07 show of his favorites because Kawakubo "wanted to transport her audience to another world. She showed something you would get out of the dream of a young girl, including the big and frizzy hair and bold pastel eyeshadow paired with a bleached brow and blended to perfection like two pastel clouds on the eyes." Oquendo's used pastels on clients including Jackson and Charlotte Le Bon in recent months, so it’s a strong possibility he’ll play it up here. Although Jackson tends toward the more natural when it comes to beauty — save for spiky faux eyelashes — what better opportunity to make a bold statement than at her debut Met Gala?

  • Clean Skin

    The Inspiration: Fall 2011 

    Who Should Try It: Ruth Negga

    Throughout the 2016/17 awards season, makeup pro Melanie Inglessis kept the Loving nominee’s skin luminous and fresh, creating a clean canvas for a pop of color on lips or eyes. As Inglessis tells Pret-a-Reporter, even though the Met Gala “is the one event of the year that makeup artists and hair stylists feel they can do something fun," she is drawn to Kawakubo's "very minimal" makeup look that's "all about skin." And that suits flawless-complexioned Negga to a T.

  • Disheveled Hair

    The Inspiration: Fall '94

    We Should Try It: Dakota Johnson

    For the last three galas she’s attended, the Fifty Shades actress has gone for simple hair worn down. It’s time for a switch-up from her go-to hairstylist, Mark Townsend. A slightly mussed, age-appropriate hairstyle would help capture what Johnson’s makeup pro, Pati Dubroff, calls the "angelic, mystical and magical" beauty seen on the Comme des Garcons runways.