Another Met Gala has come and gone, and in case you decided to tune out of all forms of social media in the past 24 hours, this year’s gala celebrated the Costume Institute‘s latest exhibition, ‘China: Through the Looking Glass‘. Celebrating the East’s influence on Western fashion and art throughout history, the exhibition set the tone and theme for the gala, and the red carpet arrivals did not fail to fascinate.
Despite inciting some controversy and opinion over the cultural-sensitivity of certain guests’ attire (some questionable, others intelligible and in-depth), I believe for the most-part that all who attended did so in the spirit of celebrating the beautiful Eastern aesthetic and its impact on Western arts. With that said, here is my summation of last night’s looks, where the ‘Best Dressed’ constitutes those that dressed appropriately to the theme, to the formal level of the event (it is one of the biggest Fashion Nights after all), and to the ability to look downright amazing.
These four looks were exactly what last night’s Gala called for, with each woman giving a subtle nod (or an outright explicit shout out in the case of Rihanna) to the theme. I loved the references to traditional Chinese dress in Kate Hudson’s modern rendition of a Cheongsam; the unique decorative detailing in Jess Hart’s gown was exquisite; the use of vibrant red and gold, the colors strongly associated with luck in Chinese culture was on-point for all four women; and Rihanna demonstrated her fashion chops by showcasing one of China’s foremost couturiers, Guo Pei. These looks truly were the stand-outs, paying homage not only to the theme, but also to the cultural institution that is the Met Gala.
Diane Kruger and Sienna Miller’s trouser get-ups were not only red carpet appropriate, but in my mind also subtly referenced the beautiful silk pajamas associated with Eastern culture. I admired most of the women who donned silk in reference to the theme, however Alexa Chung and Emily Blunt’s embroidered silk, as well as Lily Aldridge’s collared silk gown, stood out. Sarah Jessica Parker’s headpiece was beyond wonderful, and it couldn’t help but conjure thoughts of the Dancing Dragons that emerge for each Chinese New Year (shout out to my sisters and brothers-in-law who are heavily involved in this!). While Anne Hathaway’s look was daring, I loved it for the silk and the gold, again a color so prominent and important in the East – to me it was a fantastic, modernized interpretation. And while Amanda Seyfried’s white graduating hem-gown sadly wasn’t on theme, she just looked so damn beautiful, and her gown so gorgeous, I couldn’t help but give her a special mention.
NICE TRY, BUT NOT FOR THE MET GALA
Don’t get me wrong, I thought JLo, Kim and Beyonce all looked AMAZING! But, and it’s a big but, (no pun intended there shapely ladies!), the looks either had nothing that referenced the theme, or even if they did (here’s looking at you JLo), they just were not Met Gala appropriate. These are the kind of gowns perfect for a premiere, or even a Met Gala celebrating trend-forward fashion, but for a Met Gala celebrating the Eastern Culture’s influence on the West? It’s just doesn’t sit right. Better luck next year ladies!
FORGOT WHERE YOU WERE GOING?
I get it – dressing for the Met Gala would be hard, but come on, these looks were better left for anything other than walking the red carpet at the Met Gala! With the exception of Jennifer Lawrence, who I only included as I found her dress so underwhelming for such an event, I wouldn’t flutter an eyelid if I saw some of these outfits out and about around town. Chloe Moretz, who usually gets it so right, looked like she was headed off to a nice Sunday barbecue; Miranda Kerr and Dakota Johnson looked like they were girls on their way to dance their little hearts out at the club; Constance Jablonski looked set to enjoy a nice boozy brunch in her pool slides; and Cara Delevingne, who perhaps forgot she won favor for being daring in trousers last year, looked like she just wore the same thing but in black and with some fake tatts – it just made me go meh! Here’s hoping next year these guys remember they are going to one of the most important fashion events, and you know, dress up?
And, that’s it! My wrap up of the Met Gala done for another year. Now let’s get the countdown started for 2016!
Following her domination at the Fall 2015 fashion runway shows, where she walked the catwalks for no less than 15 collections, and her crowning by US Vogue as a member of the new ‘Bratpack’ (so defined as being a member of the “Instagram Aristocracy”), Kendall Jenner’s plans to completely rule the fashion world have been taken to the next level. Calvin Klein have just announced that the brunette beauty is the face of their new campaign, and it can’t be denied that she, and the images from the campaign, look amazing.
The thing that makes Kendall so likable as a model is that she appears ‘accessible’. Her looks have that down-to-earth quality, and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to imagine having Kendall in your inner circle, or to some, even looking like her. Her beauty is natural and familiar, creating the opportunity for people to fill in the blank with their own minds about what, or who, the model represents. Combine that with her versatility to transform into a whole breadth of different characters – such March Jacobs’ futuristic, alien-esque normcorist or Estee Lauder’s cool Parisian – plus her demeanor suggesting she wants to make a legitimate career out of modeling (and is not hungry for down and dirty fame like other members of her clan), and it is no wonder this model is one of the most in-demand for fashion and beauty brands today. Now, if she could just nudge her big half-sister out of the way….
In the past week, in my travels across the wide lands known as the internet, I came across a coat for which I instantly developed a deep affinity. The coat, a double-breasted knee-length creation, is well constructed, works with the female form to make a satisfyingly flattering silhouette, and has beautiful stylized details to make it that much more interesting. It almost has an air of Mondrian to it, albeit updated and intermixed with the designer’s own personal interpretation, making me respect the designer a great deal more (subdued references to a great designer referencing a great artist will get me every time). It’s a beautiful coat, and its designer, the NYC-based Charles Eilliott Harbison, evidently shows a great deal of talent.
And I am not the only one to think this way, as those quite well-known sisters belonging to the Knowles family (ahem, that’s Beyonce and Solange to you and me), were also spotted sporting this fine creation of a coat.The sisters styled tit up in very different manners, but either way, it looked amazing on both of them, adding even more weight to the argument that this coat rocks, and that its designer is definitely one to note, and, if you can, start wearing his designs now!
Beyond the coat, the rest of his Spring 2015 collection is smart, well-tailored and not something to be ignored. It gives the impression of being designed for women who hold a reputation of being stylish, and the designs would work as well making a statement in the office (but not too big of a statement) as they would at after-work drinks. In today’s industry, where almost anyone can be called a designer, and where we either see the same re-hashing of ideas and trends (has anybody not referenced the 70’s this season?) or where there is no clear direction at all, it is very unique to find a designer that well and truly knows who it is they are designing for, and exactly what they are missing from their current wardrobes. If you are looking for something new and exciting, then Harbison is it.
For stockists and to view the full Harbison Spring 2015 collection, visit harbisoncollection.com.
Ah the fashion industry. We cop a lot of flack for being shallow, promoting unrealistic image standards and for generally exploiting anything and everything. Now I am not saying these accusations are unfounded (I am certainly an advocate for more diversity in the media as well as fair conditions for all workers), but if there is one thing that we can commend the fashion industry on, it’s the ability to have a good ol’ laugh at ourselves, particularly at our own expense.
Case in point? Valentino’s Fall 2015 Runway Show. ICYMI, yesterday’s show in Paris was the talk of the town, (and tweeter feeds), not least because of the beautiful Emilie Flöge- and Celia Birtwell-inspired collection. The main buzz, however, was the surprise appearance of two industry-stalwarts taking the runway before the final bow. Yes, that’s right, Hansel and Zoolander are back and in fine form, as evidenced by their pre-show interview with fashion legend Anna Wintour. And oh how they rocked and owned that Valentino runway. Kudos, fashion industry, kudos.
So, there’s quite a heavy debate happening across the social stratosphere regarding Calvin Klein’s so called ‘plus-sized’ model, and I have decided to weigh in on the subject (ok, enough of the weight cliches, I just couldn’t help myself). The biggest (sorry!) problem? Calvin Klein weren’t the ones to label her plus size, the digital lynch mob was.
If you have missed the trending topic, Calvin Klein recently launched their ‘Perfectly Fit’ underwear campaign and on Sunday, elle.com featured an interview with one of the models, a US size 10 Myla Dalbesio. What transpired were numerous comments across social networks blaming Calvin Klein and the fashion industry at large for causing poor self-esteem amongst girls and women by using a healthy size 10 as a plus size model. But here’s the clincher: Calvin Klein never called her plus size, nor did they promote the model or the range as plus size. In fact there was never any allusion to plus size by the brand, but a rather inclusive statement asserting “these images are intended to communicate that our new line is more inclusive and available in several silhouettes in an extensive range of sizes.”
Now, I am not giving the fashion industry a free pass and saying they have no impact whatsoever on society’s standards of beauty and acceptance, however I do think this is a positive move from Calvin Klein and that should be acknowledged. They have released a range which they have endorsed as inclusive for all women, with no distinction between average and plus size. I have to re-iterate this point – they are not making any distinction between sizes, big or small. They have backed this up by using a model that is not the usual model size 0, and haven’t labeled her as plus size or bigger. In fact, Ms Dalbesio herself acknowledges she was treated as just one of the other models on set. She wasn’t, in the view of Calvin Klein, the bigger one there to promote the range for bigger women. She was another beautiful girl there to take a beautiful image.
So why then is everyone hashtagging their anger at the brand like it’s going out of fashion (hey hey all over the cliches today!)? Because like the traditional lynch mob, people see ‘Calvin Klein’ and the words ‘plus size’, make their own conclusions and decide it’s time to get their pitchforks and torches and burn that House of Calvin Klein to the ground – without knowing all the facts. Of course, it certainly doesn’t help when the original article on elle.com refers to the model as ‘plus size’, even though Ms Dalbesio calls herself an ‘in-betweener’. And perhaps it’s a case of mis-understanding when people read Ms Dalbesio’s own observations on being a bigger model than those featured before her, but then ignore her observations that Calvin Klein never treated her as such.
Which is why it is so important to read, and I mean really read, all the facts before making an extremely harsh judgement. Sure, the industry needs to be more accommodating, but it’s a disappointing moment when once a positive step is taken, it is unjustly criticized by a public who so demands it in the first place. It makes you wonder whether its worth the big industry players following suit (and right now, it’s looking like perhaps not).
So, in recognition of Calvin Klein’s nondiscriminatory actions, I applaud and commend the brand for using a beautiful, healthy model for their campaign and for doing so without any distinction from the other gorgeous models they have used. Let’s hope it leads to more wonderful inclusive campaigns, and less stone-throwing and abuse-hurling. Calvin Klein, you, your models and your campaign are the true beauty. Ill-informed Lynch Mob, well you know where you stand.