The heroes, villains and the bare cheek of the Met ball

In preparation for this year’s Met Gala, here is a reminder of last year’s best and worst outfits

At last year’s Met ball were: Chloë Sevigny; Beyoncé; Kim Kardashian West, who wore a nude dress; and Cara Delevigne, who railed against Met gown etiquette. Photographs: Getty Images

This is a big year for the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Benefit, or the Met, as it’s more commonly known. A documentary about the ball is being released, and this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Costume Institute, for which the ball raises funds.

The theme of this year’s ball is “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”. This will not necessarily mean lots of robot outfits. We expect to see machine-made technologies such as laser-cutting and thermo-shaping juxtaposed with hand-made techniques such as embroidery and lacework. The dress code, as supplied by Anna Wintour, is “tech white-tie”, so prepare to see metallics, textural tailoring and 3D shape-work.

The event will be hosted by Idris Elba, Jonathan Ive, Taylor Swift, and Anna Wintour. We know Wintour will be wearing Chanel, and we are putting our money on seeing Swift in Prada, Chanel or Vuitton.

At last year’s Met ball were Sarah Jessica Parker, who featured on the best- and worst-dressed lists; and Helen Mirren, who proved that sexy has no age limit. Photographs: Getty Images

Year after year the Met Gala ups the style stakes, and then some. The best-known designers dress the best-known stars, and the whole world dissects the outfits that walk up those famous red stairs the following day. The sartorial boat is pushed out as everyone competes for “best-dressed” and the approval of Wintour, who greets every guest at the top of the red stairs. Rumour has it that she will smile only if she approves of your outfit.


A kind of theatre

As Wintour says, “Fashion can create a dream, can create a fantasy. It’s a kind theatre.” Last year’s dresses lived up to expectation. The theme was, “China: Through a Looking Glass”, and the outfits ranged from modern China to full Ming dynasty.

Rihanna’s was the outfit that stole the show. When everyone else was wearing some version of the naked dress that she had worn the year before, Rihanna was wearing 55lb-worth of canary-yellow fabric. And she found the dress online. The Chinese designer Guo Pei took two years to make the masterpiece, and the internet had a field day with imaginative tributes, memes and gifs. Omelette comparisons aside, this was an outfit worthy of a queen.

Cartoon villain?

Sarah Jessica Parker’s H&M dress and intricate Philip Treacy custom headpiece were also stars of the internet in the days following the ball. The highly detailed hat succeeded in making both the best- and worst-dressed lists; some compared her look to that of a cartoon villain.

Beyoncé quite literally shone in Givenchy, and continued her reign as the woman who can do no fashion wrong. There were quite a few “naked” dresses on the night, but Beyoncé won that race hands down. She looked incredible and exuded confidence. What we really fell for, though, was that high pony.

Kim Kardashian West was another nudie in Roberto Cavalli, citing the Bob Mackie dress that Cher wore to the first Met in 1974 as her inspiration.

Chloë Sevigny has immaculate fashion taste, but her outfit last year followed the brief a little too closely. The floral patterns in the JW Anderson designs would be better worn separately and the top was ill- fitting.

Although Cara Delevigne’s jumpsuit was also ill-fitting, we still love the outfit. The trousers-and-tattoos combination railed against Met ball gown etiquette, and anything a little different is good by us.

Helen Mirren was stunning in a red lace Dolce & Gabbana dress that revealed her matching underwear and proved that sexy has no age limit. All hail.