Unless you've been living under a rock, you'd already been inundated with pictures and online discussions about the Met Gala 2015 that took place in New York on Monday. Held at the Metropolitan Museum of The Arts, this year's Met Gala theme looked to the far east for inspiration. Called China: Through the Looking Glass, this year's event saw celebrities, models as well as industry's movers and shakers dressed in their finery. The twist: They all have to add some sort of eastern element to their ensembles.
Trawling online, I discovered that the dress code for the evening's gala was set as Chinese White Tie. What does that even mean, you ask? Well, you're not alone. In her appearance on the Late Night Show with Seth Myers, Ms Wintour revealed that her office received so many calls regarding the dress code she set. Most of the attendees were panicking over what that dress code meant. And seriously, if you're attending a ball that is hosted by Anna Wintour, you'd be freaking out, too, and would want to dress according to theme.
On the show, Wintour revealed that she made the dress code up (of course, she did. She is Anna. And whatever Anna says, Anna gets!). She wanted her guests to have a bit of fun and incorporate Chinese elements to their dressing.
Of course, as with all events that calls for sartorial drama, many of the attendees brought their A-game onto the red carpet. On the flip side, however, many should have just stayed home. Case in point: Sarah Jessica Parker who arrive at the Met Gala in a custom H&M Conscious gown and a very dramatic flame-like headdress that was custom-made by Philip Treacy. Needless to say, she got - hem hem - flamed for it. I must commend SJP for taking risk but sometimes she takes it too far and I'm left wondering, "does someone in her team really hate her?".
Comparisons were made of her to the mythical Dragon lady (which, to many East Asians, was seen as reducing Chinese women to its stereotype and setting them decades back. The Asian feminists weren't happy. Not at all). Others compared her dramatic ensemble to that of the Beijing Olympic mascot (really? that mascot should not be a point of reference!). SJP has yet to comment on the haters.
But let's not dwell on the negative and, instead, focus on those who made a positive statement on the red carpet. Here's our list of the best-dressed at the Met Gala 2015.
One of my favourites for the night was Rihanna. Dressed in a dramatic over-sized embroidered cape that was designed by Chinese couturier Guo Pei, Riri made an entrance that no one could forget. Of course, there were jokes made about this ensemble. Many have since called it the "Omelette Gown" because of its colour. I have to admit that, when I first saw it, I didn't know whether to like it or not. Colour aside, I thought the gown was too overwhelming for her petite body. And yes, I wished it came in a different colour.
However, this shade of yellow, which has tinges of orange and gold, is the shade that's worn by the imperial kings of China. Plus, Rihanna was one of the very few to wear a gown made by someone who is actually a Chinese designer from China (not to be confused with Chinese-American designers, but we'll get to that later). In actuality, Rihanna made a bold choice and a bold statement. She was dressed according to theme and paid homage to Chinese designs as well as Guo Pei herself, whose creations are on display at the museum.
I have to say that I never quite like Zhang Ziyi. Like Taylor Swift on the red carpet, her outfit choices have always been rather blah to me. Most of them are not worth noticing or mentioning. They're not horrible, let's get that clear, but they're not memorable either.
However, this custom Carolina Herrera gown, took my breath away. Inspired by the traditional cheongsam, the pristine white ball gown had Chinese embroidered buttons as well as stunning embroidery on the full skirt. To me, this was a great showing of how Western and Eastern design elements can come together to create an awe-inspiring creation. The gown paid homage to impeccable Chinese tailoring - as seen on the cut of the bodice and how it clings to Zhang's body like second skin. Plus, it showed off Herrera's signature design - the full, ball gown skirt. If anything, Zhang Ziyi should be at the top of everybody's best-dressed list.
Sexy yet tasteful, Karolina Kurkova red-and-gold embroidered number captured the event's theme of perfectly. The Czech top model wore a Chinese-inspired gown that was made by Tommy Hilfiger. It featured a ruby red custom designed bell sleeve silk tunic dress and a voluminous flared mini skirt and gold jacquard details. Although I'm not fully sure about the obi belt (that's more of a Japanese reference than it is Chinese), I applaud her effort to dress to the theme. The dress looked modern, classy and, for all intent and purposes, pretty much screams China.
I'm really in love with this gown. It has drama and good design all rolled into one stunning gold-sequined column gown that's worn under a gorgeous embroidered cape. Designed by Chinese designer Christopher Bu, the ensemble combined western ideals with the intricacies of Chinese design elements. Like Guo Pei, Bu is not a household name in the Western world but back in the Far East, his designs have been seen on only the most A-list of East Asian stars.
This dress is by far the best one on the red carpet. It's not as dramatic as Rihanna's but it set the tone and made a point - you don't have to wear a huge gown just to make a statement.
Well played, Bing Bing!
I must say that I'm always drawn to chic women who wear pants. Especially, when it's on the red carpet and they are surrounded by a sea of frock-wearing ladies. Liya Kebede arrived at the Met Gala in a quiet and unassuming white ensemble custom-made by Chinese-American designer Philip Lim.
In an interview prior to the Met Gala, Lim was quoted as saying, "I'm Chinese, I've got this", when asked what he will dress the Ethiopian top model in. And got it, he did! The three-time Vogue cover girl looked resplendent that evening, looking simple yet chic. I love the silver embroidery on the cheongsam-inspired top and the pairing with the tailored pants and heels made the look fresh and modern, while still retaining the traditional Chinese elements.