15 May 2016

The Met Gala 2016: Full of metallics, robot arms and light up dresses

I was meant to blog about this last week, but have been busy sorting out a very special lady's birthday, no not the Queen but she's as important, my beautiful Mumma Bear. I will blog about aspects of her birthday at a later date, that's if she lets me. Trust me you don't want to get on the wrong side of Mummy SHR, death stare is an understatement.

On the 2nd May the most decadent and exclusive couture event of the year was held, the Met Gala. Anyone who's anyone and also people who aren't really anyone would adore to get an invitation to this magical event. Even some A-list celebrities have described the evening as surreal and a place where dreams come true, so it's highly unlikely any TOWIE stars who will go the opening of an envelope will be getting an invite anytime soon.

Officially it's the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit's extravaganza held on the first Monday in May to raise money for the Costume Institute, which is the only part of the museums department that has to fund itself. It consists of an elaborate red carpet with a hell of a lot of stairs for stars in tight somewhat awkward costumes to have to walk up, which can be amusing in itself. The Met Gala hasn't always been so lavish and full of A-list stars.
The Met Gala 1948: Courtesy of ursulinemagazine.com

It all began in December 1948 when a publicist called Eleanor Lambert started the gala, called then the 'Costume Institute Gala'. It was started as a philanthropic endeavour and all the people who were part of New York Society were invited. Women paid $50 ($505.39 or £351.97 in 2016) to wear gowns from the Costume Institute's archive. That doesn't seem too much to spend on wearing one of the archives beautiful gowns.
Then in 1960, the event was called the “Metropolitan Museum Fashion Ball” which hosted a select group of celebs and Manhattan’s elite members of society. In 1971 when Diana Vreeland who worked for Vogue became a consultant to the Costume Institute to the Museum and took the gala to a new level, charging $150 ($891.42 or £620.81 in 2016). The gala became more extravagant, more people then just a few celebs and New York society were invited, such as a lot of A-list actors, musicians and politicians. The idea of a theme for the event began, the theme of dress each year coincided with the exhibition that was taking place at the museum that year. Themes allowed for guests to dress accordingly to the theme in ostentatious constructed outfits to illustrate the theme of the event. Themes throughout the years included 1973-1974 The World of Balenciaga, 1974-1975 Romantic and Glamarous Hollywood Design and 1979-1980 Fashions of the Hasburg Era Austria-Hungary. The success of the event rose and it ended up being called "The Party of the Year".
Angela Lansbury & Jackie O: 1979-1980 "Fashions of the Hasburg Era"
Courtesy of shrimptoncouture.com
Pat Buckley took over as chairwoman in 1979 and then in 1995 the most powerful and influential woman in fashion took over as chairwoman, Anna Wintour, the editor of American Vogue.
She transformed the Met Gala into what is has become today an, event everyone is dying to be invited to.

Anna has been at the driving force in turning the Met Gala from a local philanthropic event into a spectacular heavily photographed affair that is globally reviewed, critiqued and talked about. People from the arts, fashion, film, politics, business, music and high society attend the gala. It has become a major fundraising event for the museum and raised $12.5 million in 2015. It also serves as an opening celebration for the Institute's annual fashion exhibit and following the gala, the exhibition runs for several months.

Anna Wintour oversees both the benefit committee and the guest list, with her staff helping her assemble the list of invitees. The annual guest list includes 650-700 people which makes those elaborate Sweet 16 parties on TV we used to watch on MTV look like tea parties. The cost of a ticket rose to $30,000 (£20,823) and $275,000 (£190,883) this year for those outside the official guest list, to increase the exclusivity of the event. The party and exhibit this year are sponsored by Apple, so all the money will go to the Costume Institute.

Cher- 1985-1986 Costumes of Royal India
Courtesy of shrimptoncouture.com
There is one way to get into the gala without a ticket, if a brand invites a celebrity to be their guest and sit at their table. Non negotiable the celebrity has to wear clothes from that brand, so the brands try and get the best celebrities. You will find that the celebrity has the designer as their date, such as last year Jeremy Scott took Katy Perry and Marc Jacobs took Cher.

The only other way to get in without having to save up is that Anna Wintour often invites up and coming designers who might not be able to afford a pot noodle let alone a ticket to the Gala, so it shows she does have somewhat of a heart.

There is a waiting list to even get on the invite list and whether you're invited has to do more with achievement and beauty (but I don't think anyone would admit the last part) rather then how much money you have. Anna has say over every invite and attendee, even if a brand buys a table it cannot choose everyone who sits at the table. The brand must clear it with her and Vogue, she oversees every detail, down to the timed entrances for guests, the word controlling comes to mind.

This year the exhibit is "Manus x Machina" nope me neither. It's all about fashion in the age of technology and Jonathan Ive, chief design officer of Apple, Taylor Swift and Idris Elba were on the committee. The theme is meant to celebrate the beauty of both hand-made haute couture and machine made clothing. Technology is becoming a big part of fashion with laser cutting, laser design and 3D printing, so high fashion and high functioning technology which some call "android couture" (I bet Apple weren't too pleased) are merging more then ever before.

Generally, it is advisable to play it safe and just get really, really dressed up. Each year celebs don't have to follow the theme and can just get really, really dressed up instead, but it's a bit like going to your friends 60's party where everyone has dressed up and all you've done is put on a slightly shorter skirt then normal.

So this Met Gala there were dresses with hand-sewn metallic details, fairy tale dress trains, metal robot arms and some beautifully coutured gowns and stars that lit up the red carpet, literally.

There were tables set up with beautiful rose china inside the Temple of Dendur containing a rose archway inside the Museum. Celebrities were allowed to admire the exhibit and celebrities had the possibility to film short videos in the Vogue "ManusxMachina experience" photo booth, which had wild light displays, techno music and even a director, just like the photo booths you've been in at a friends wedding then.

My Verdict: Yes, there were some beautiful gowns with amazing detail, but mostly I was pretty underwhelmed due to either lack of effort or predictability. It's like the stars didn't follow the memo or simply understand it. A lot of them turned up in dresses that were gorgeous but only had the tiniest amount of detail to go with the theme or none at all and let's not even talk about Madonna or Lady Gaga, can we have the Lady Gaga at the Oscars back please! Anyway, I've rattled down all the dresses to a top five, with some extra ones being deserved a mention.

Naomi Campbell: Wore a dazzling Roberto Cavalli jewel encrusted glittering charcoal coloured gown, with a large cut-out at the waist, making us all feel bad for not doing our crunches. The dress had a stunning fishtail train which was embellished with silver sequins running along the seams. Photo from eonline.com

Jourdan Dunn: Wore a Balmain corset-like creation that has a futuristic feel so her gown was in tune with the theme. The model shimmered in the figure hugging slim-fitting column glittery silver gown, also with cut-outs. The dress contained thousands of intricate rhinestones and was simply beautiful. She also featured ash and lilac highlights in her simple yet amazing looking bob haircut, which went perfectly with her dress. Photo from dailymail.co.uk

Ciara: Simply sparkled and shined in a jewelled illusion gown by H&M. She also debuted silver hair for the Gala, which made her look like the hottest Grandma I've ever seen. I adore the jewelled creation by H&M, but I don't think we will be finding the couture dress in any of our local H&M's anytime soon, sadly. We will just have to stick to their skater dresses and basic tank tops and dream. Photo from usmagazine.com
Courtesy of justjared.com
Courtesy of eonline.com
Nina Dobrev: Wore a champagne tulle gown made my Marchesa that was embellished with floral appliqué and shimmering beads. There were a lot of flying birds and botanical features in the fine gold thread work scattered within the mirror fragments.
I like this dress as it doesn't go with the generic metallic silver look of the night, but still contains aspects of the theme, it isn't just a beautiful dress with no content. Nina also had a nude metallic clutch bag and headpiece made by Marchesa and look at the back of that dress, it's just simply stunning.

Claire Danes: Was the highlight for me but she wasn't even mentioned on some best dressed lists, it was all the generic silver ones and Kanye with his ripped jeans, I mean this is the Met Gala, he could at least have worn a suit!
Back to Claire she collaborated with Zac Posen to create a powder blue ball gown that had a gorgeous silhouette. The dress was hand sewn and made with organza & fiber optics to create a dress that glowed inside the Gala. This was a high-tech garment combined with beautiful hand made artistry and encapsulated the theme the best for me. If you're a Homeland fan, I don't think we will be seeing Claire as Carrie Matheson wearing this running after terrorists anytime soon though.
Courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

So they are my top five, but there are a couple more that deserve a mention for their creativity.

Karolina Kurkova wore a gown that was created by Marchesa who collaborated with IBM Watson and the dress included 150 hand-placed LED lights. IBM analysed hundreds of images assosciated with Marchesa dresses to learn the brand's colour palette & correlated this data with the analysis of social media sentiment, yeah my heads hurting too. Anyway it was wearable technology with changing coloured LED lights, it was so wearable she couldn't even sit down in it! She must have had pretty sore feet by the end of the night!
Courtesy of Elle.com

Emma Watson collaborated with Calvin Klein and the Green Carpet Challenge to create a sustainable red carpet look. It was a monochrome look with a full skirt that actually had trousers underneath, with a fitted bodice and off-the-shoulder sleeves. The outfit was made from recycled plastic bottles and Emma wanted to use the Gala as an opportunity to highlight the advancements in Eco fashion. Everything from the lining to the unique yarn, which was also created using plastic bottles, was made from sustainable materials. Now that is a commitment to Eco fashion and was a great twist on the theme.

Courtesy of hautetoday.com
I'm not sure how this dress goes with the theme, but I just want to give a shout out to Adriana Lima in a Giambattista Valli Haute Couture dress as I adore the 50's style full skirt look of it and the red lipstick to go with it.

For me these ladies above beat some of the other obvious dresses on show at the Gala out of the park and even though there were some that looked stunning such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, they didn't really embrace the theme completely, they just had a pretty dress and if there is any event you go all out at its the Met Gala. It's not the time to wear a simple fitted dress.

What were your favourites from the Met Gala? Apart from Tom Hiddleston, Bradley Cooper and Orlando Bloom in tuxedos of course. Drool overload.

Second Hand Rose


  1. What an entertaining read!!! It's a delight to hear someone put Anna Wintour in her place so utterly and yet so gently. Apparently there is a movie called The First Friday in May about all of it but I can't seem to locate it being on anywhere. Oh well straight to video as they say?! LOL!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I've heard about the movie, The first Momday in May came out in April and apparently was in cinemas in the US then. All I can find is trailers for it, but will have a look around, no DVD release details yet either. Even just the trailer looks magical, so I'd adore to watch it! Thank you for reading my article! XxxX

  2. What a fabulously fun post! Does Angela Lansbury ever age? I'm joking of course, but was struck by how similar she appeared in the late 70s to how she looks still to this day. She falls into that same sort of camp with other talented ladies such as Julie Andrews, Betty White, and Sophia Loren.

    Many thanks for your terrific recent blog comments. Have a splendid weekend!

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Goodness I had never heard of this gala before but it looks and sounds epic if maybe just a little (a lot) intimidating! I love all the dresses you have picked I certainly think Clare Danes dress is my favourite, it captures the elegance of a red carpet gown but with a wonderful technological twist! xx

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