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Some of the biggest names in fashion and the entertainment industry donned their best formal attire, including sweeping ball gowns and the white-tie-and-tails ensembles men were told to wear, at the 2014 Met Gala on Monday night.
The annual star-studded benefit this year also celebrated the opening of the new Anna Wintour Costume Center and its first exhibit, Charles James: Beyond Fashion. While stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift stunned in voluminous gowns reminiscent of those James designed, others, like Olivia Munn, showed off sleeker interpretations of the style.
The Newsroom star told The Hollywood Reporter that her bright yellow dress, with its plunging neckline, was a collaboration between her stylist, Micaela Erlanger, and designer Diane Von Furstenberg.
Munn boasted that she loved wearing the comfortable, lightweight gown, but that she wouldn’t get to enjoy it forever.
When THR asked the actress about the first ball gown she ever owned, she mused, “I don’t think I’ve ever owned a ball gown — including now. I think this goes back anyway.”
J. Crew creative designer Jenna Lyons also dared to be different, showing off her interpretation of the white-tie-and-tails look men were told to wear.
Although she explained that her look had elements of James’ aesthetic, she decided she didn’t want to risk wearing a ball gown.
“I did my best to sort of have an ode to what would have been a translation,” Lyons said of her suit. “So that’s why the pants have a lot of volume to them, and the duchess satin, which I thought was an important piece to it.”
She added: “I knew I was going to get stuck on the red carpet with someone’s heel on my gown if I wasn’t careful.”
Indeed, the James-esque voluminous skirts made walking up the Met steps a bit of a challenge, with several women seen dramatically lifting up their layers of fabric as they climbed the stairs.
One, Hayden Panettiere, proudly gathered up her skirt and quickly climbed the stairs, raising her arms triumphantly over her head when she reached the last landing before the Metropolitan Museum of Art entrance.
Sarah Silverman didn’t have as much of a handle on her dress, making somewhat of a grand show of the difficulty she was having walking in it.
When a reporter asked Silverman how her dress feels, she joked, “It feels like a f—ing second skin.”
Also seen on the red carpet: Anna Kendrick sneaking up behind Pitch Perfect 2 cast member Hailee Steinfeld and giving her new co-star a hug.
While Steinfeld stunned in a James-inspired Prabal Gurung black-and-white number, Zac Posen dressed at least two women in James-inspired gowns: Dita Von Teese, with whom the designer walked the red carpet, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch star Lena Hall, who wore an intricate-looking pale-pink gown that also served as the finale to Posen’s spring 2014 collection, she said.
Posen, meanwhile, incorporated James’ work designing capes into his white-tie-and-tails look, an outfit that he explained was made for him in collaboration with fellow designer Ralph Rucci.
“I feel so honored to have the experience of having a piece designed for me for a specific event,” Posen told THR. “It’s a rare moment in my life, and it’s important for men to be able to wear fashion, have fun and enjoy it, and to have another designer be that open to let me in their studio was really humbling.”
When asked why he took that route instead of, for instance, designing his own cape, Posen said, “I had the opportunity to collaborate with him, and he’s a hero of mine. I think he’s a genius, and while we’re celebrating another genius, Charles James, I think it’s important to celebrate other great American living geniuses.”
While Posen went above and beyond the men’s dress code, THR spotted a few stars who didn’t sport the required white-tie and tails, either opting for white tuxedo jackets or traditional tuxes.
Designer Derek Lam was among those who went the traditional route, but it wasn’t for lack of trying, he told THR.
After testing a few white-tie-and-tail options, Lam decided none of them looked right. “So I just put on my trusty tuxedo and kept it simple,” he said.
But he vowed to keep searching for the right white-tie look. “I’m still going to look for the right one for me, because I think it’s wonderful,” Lam said. “I think it’s a great occasion to do something traditional and very elegant.”