Gucci's Alessandro Michele Triumphs at LACMA's Fifth Film & Art Gala

Salma Hayek - P 2015
Venturelli/Getty Images For LACMA

The new creative director's first big Hollywood outing was at one of tinsel town's best annual fashion events.

The fifth annual LACMA Film & Art Gala, this year honoring artist James Turrell and director Alejandro Innaritu, is a serious fine art and fine filmmaking celebration benefiting LACMA’s film program. But the fact that it’s been sponsored by Gucci for five years straight — and that Gucci is having a major moment right now — guaranteed it would be a convergence of fashion folk (all the Gucci brass, stylists, L.A. society fashionistas) and fashion-loving actresses, wearing couture or ready-to-wear looks from Gucci cruise and spring.

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But this year, it was actually more: A convergence of major designers representing Europe and L.A. and the coronation of newish Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele as not only a star (graduating from rising star), but as new red-carpet king. In a Gucci black and gold silk embroidered brocade tux and long black locks and facial hair, Michele was resplendent — but also a little overwhelmed. “Yes, I know the significance of tonight,” he told THR, as actresses and artists alike tugged on his shoulder to meet him. “I realize what it means in terms of Hollywood. And I am just so happy — this is so beautiful, the ladies look so beautiful — that I do not think I could be any happier at this moment. Yes, I am truly truly happy.” Whether he’s supremely superlative or doesn’t speak much English was hard to tell, but it was nice to see a fashion star be so appreciative and bubbly as opposed to arrogant and distant.

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L.A.’s fashion community was represented by Moschino director Jeremy Scott, and speaking of coronations, he donned his own jeweled crown of multi-colored stones (Was it real? We'd guess it was) with his black and gold tux. Arriving with Scott was date China Chow — daughter of Michael (Mr. Chow) and late wife Tina Chow — in a Moschino dress. She’s just one of the reasons the Chow family has now ascended not just to L.A. royalty, but L.A. fashion royalty; Eva Chow, Michael’s wife, has co-hosted this event every year with Leo DiCaprio, pushing her into the upper ranks of L.A. society and fashion hoi poloi. Her light blue Gucci high-waisted gown, covered in rose and colored embroidery — with ruffled sleeves — was a real stand out. Also on hand was top L.A. stylist and costume designer Arianne Phillips.

Representing Paris was the startling arrival of Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci (“I spend a lot of time in L.A., I have many friends here”), who strutted up the carpet with a controversial lady on each arm: Naomi Campbell, in a very covered-up white Givenchy number with subtle high neck and long sleeves and, of course, Kim Kardashian, pregnant and practically naked in a black lace see-through Givenchy gown and nary an undergarment in sight. She did wear a black Givenchy silk robe coat from the 2016 spring collection — but left it open all night so her swelling belly, boobs and other significant assets were fully on display. Meanwhile, international A-list fashion PR woman Karla Otto had Tisci’s ear for much of the evening, as did shoe designer Christian Louboutin, in town for his own cocktail party on November 9. It was a real Parisian meeting of the fashion minds. Oh, and London was represented, too, in the form of Elizabeth Saltzman, who dresses Paltrow and can’t resist a major fashion moment: “There aren’t many events I’d fly in for 25 hours for,” the New York to London transplant laughed.

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At least Kardashian was the only half-naked woman there. Most of the others — Dakota Johnson, Chloe Sevigny, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosie Huntingly-Whitely, Saoise Ronan — were in high-necked gowns with long sleeves, a modest display in Hollywood if there ever was one.

Tisci’s arrival was pretty daring considering it was Michele’s big coming out party, but he attempted to stay in the background and low-key it, even though that’s pretty hard to do with Naomi and Kim on your arm. At least Tisci is based in Paris and the two labels couldn’t be more different. Except that they’re both red carpet-pursuant — and what a convenient time to show up: The dawn of awards season. No accidents here. The early bird gets the worm — and the red-carpet credits.

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The Gucci clad girls, which included Johnson, SevignyHuntingly-WhitelyPaltrow, Saoirse Ronan and Brit Marling, were the best-dressed of the evening — bringing color (a lot of mauve and pink), and romanticism to the proceedings. Sevigny’s high-necked long-sleeve yellow gown was from cruise 2016, with tons of whimsical embroidery and a flower brooch at the neck — she was probably the best dress of the night — was followed by Johnson's cruise number — a one-of-a-kind honey silk long-sleeved gown with a black grosgrain bow and a red and purple silk flower at her neck. Johnson made it even more dramatic by pairing it with very dark red lipstick and a girly high ponytail.

Huntington-Whiteley was also in cruise 2016, a purplish-pink azalia silk chiffon embroidered sleeveless deep v-neck gown with ruffles. Both Marling and Ronan donned a special Gucci pink: Marling in a crisp pink suit from cruise 2016, and Ronan in a cruise 2016 pink silk crepe cocktail dress with a grosgrain bow at the neck. This color pink could not have been more flattering on these ladies – and while they were both covered up in sleeves and high necks, both looked feminine and fresh — like anti-Kardashians. Paltrow of course went short, as she does, in an aquamarine cruise paillettes tulle cocktail dress with lots of ruffles and a red brooch at the neck.

Aside from designers Michele and Scott, there was another male peacock in the crowd of men in appropriate somber black and white classics: Jared Leto sported fuschia slicked back hair to match his red/fuchsia silk Gucci shirt with his Gucci black wool blazer. Yes, the shoes were fuchsia too, and yes, he’s the only guy in the world who could pull this off.

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Both Reese Witherspoon and Amber Valletta eschewed the Gucci dress code for subtle black strapless gowns. One thing the new Gucci doesn’t really do: stark.

Diane Kruger chose an odd evening to wear one of her only rare fashion missteps: a risky azure blue strapless peplum top over cobalt silk belled pants by Monique L’hullier — which she sort of destroyed by wearing with clashing bright red lipstick. This might have worked in Cannes — but actually, no. It just didn’t work. Her longtime love, Joshua Jackson, in a Gucci tux, eclipsed her for once. The Affair star has been getting his own share of fashion media lately — and it’s well-deserved in a masculine, understated way.

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And Salma Hayek — wife of Kering owner Francois-Henri Pinault — also known as Mrs. Gucci — was a disappointment, too. Breaking the subtle ethereal fairy-tale-esque fashion vibe of the evening, she came in a coral Gucci cruise corset dress with a red sequin belt. There was much cleavage on display — as well as massive curls — a bit cliché for her, and unnecessary for the tone of the event. Cannes, yes. LACMA, no. But no matter, it was a triumphant night for Gucci, for Michele, and for fashion in general. Lots of Gucci girls for awards season this year? We can’t help but think so.