A tattooed FKA twigs, a futuristic Grimes and Beyoncé in Givenchy latex – here’s what you missed
Ah, the Met Gala. Taking over your Instagram feed every year on the first Monday in May, the annual ball is pretty much the most exclusive exhibition opening you can think of. Created to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, each year it sees designers, models and other superstars dress to the theme of the Institute’s new show – in this case, it was Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology. But how did that translate to the guests?
TWIGS WORE CUSTOM TATS BY MAXIME BUCHI
Wearing an Atelier Versace bodice dress, British auteur FKA twigs (who last year donned Christopher Kane) took to the red carpet complete with custom, hand-painted temporary tattoos. The work of Maxime Buchi – the tattoo artist known for founding Sang Bleu magazine, which played with the lines between body modification, fashion and fetishism – the markings seemed to hover somewhere between robot circuit boards and the graphic linework Buchi is known for.
KIM AND KANYE WERE VOTED BEST DRESSED
Pop culture’s most notorious couple caused a stir back in 2014 when Anna Wintour decided to put them on the cover of Vogue, and although Kardashian is now a regular attendee at the Gala, it was rumoured that she’d been blacklisted by the editor for years. Still, it seems Kimye are firmly in favour – last night, the magazine named them the best-dressed couple at the event. Both were in custom Balmain, with designer Olivier Rousteing having bedazzled a jacket for Kanye and made a grand total of four dresses for Kim to choose from – two of which were cut in half to create last night’s look.
AMANDLA STENBERG DID AFROFUTURISM
If there’s one thing you should know about Amandla Stenberg, it’s that she does things her way. Last night was no exception, as the young actress, Dazed cover star and activist channelled the future theme in a less obvious direction – to Afrofuturism, the cultural and aesthetic movement that sees the “black cultural experience of freedom achieved through sci-fi, ancient African cosmology and magical realism”. Wearing a red silk Calvin Klein suit and metallic jewellery, the teenager’s outfit was a welcome change from the parade of sparkly silver.
WILLOW AND JADEN ROCKED THEIR RESPECTIVE HOUSES
With designers dropping $175k for a table and inviting their muses, the Met Gala is a good time to see where sartorial loyalties lie. The Smith siblings were the best example of this – Willow was in Chanel as their recently announced ambassador (alongside other brand faces including Lily-Rose Depp and Kristen Stewart, as well as Anna Wintour herself), while Jaden opted for Louis Vuitton. Although Jaden has yet to score a campaign for Chanel, he recently fronted Vuitton’s AW15 womenswear ads.
GRIMES LOOKED LIKE A FUTURISTIC FOOTBALLER (IN THE BEST WAY)
Also in Vuitton was Grimes, who looked like a futuristic, fairytale footballer in a graphic t-shirt dress and combat boots. The singer joined Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Connelly, Lea Seydoux and other friends and muses in being dressed by the house, with designer Nicolas Ghesquière acting as one of the event’s co-hosts alongside names including Miuccia Prada and Idris Elba. Luckily for us, legendary French fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier was on hand to capture photographs of all the LV looks for their Instagram.
BEYONCÉ, MADONNA, AND BELLA HADID ALL WORE GIVENCHY
After singing about recklessly rocking her Givenchy dress on “Formation”, there was no other option for Beyoncé. Repping for the French house was none other than Queen Bey herself, who wore a skin-coloured latex dress covered with studs and flowers. Also dressed by designer Riccardo Tisci was pop legend Madonna, new-era supermodel Bella Hadid and her boyfriend The Weeknd, who was the event’s musical performer.
THE BALMAIN ARMY WAS OUT IN FULL FORCE
Olivier Rousteing’s brand of high octane glamour was practically made for the Met Gala. Last night, the troops of his #BalmainArmy included not just Kim and Kanye but a roster of supermodels – including Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Cindy Crawford, Doutzen Kroes, Sean O’Pry and Alessandra Ambrosio.
HIGH-TECH DRESSES RULED THE RED CARPET
The theme was man and machine, so it shouldn’t be surprising that some attendees opted for high-tech dresses (or, like Zayn Malik, took things pretty literally with a pair of metal robot arms over his suit). Claire Danes’s relatively simple Zac Posen gown was transformed when the lights went down, revealing that it glowed with fibre optic thread. Emma Watson’s five-piece Calvin Klein outfit was made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles and came with a detachable skirt, so she could ditch her train when she got off the red carpet. Most impressive? Karolina Kurkova’s dress created in collaboration with IBM, which, according to Vogue, changed colour depending on the mood of the tweets it was aggregating.
RIHANNA WASN’T THERE, BUT LAST YEAR’S LOOK WAS
Rihanna’s appearance last year in a colossal Guo Pei cape (followed by a performance in Margiela) was so renowned that it’s the major plot point of the new documentary about the event. Last night, BadGalRiRi was nowhere to be seen – although as the singer pointed out on her Instagram, there were some NYC locals willing to carry her torch in tribute outfits to some of her most iconic looks.
AND THE EXHIBITION LOOKED PRETTY GOOD TOO
With all the hype surrounding the guests, it’s easy to forget that the Met Ball isn’t just a party for no reason – it’s to open the museum’s new exhibition and raise the vital funds that keep its Costume Institute going. From the sneak peeks posted on Instagram, Manus x Machina looks set to be a brilliant retrospective of fashion’s relationship with technology, and how it’s been used to shape the body and push style forward. A case in point – iconic looks from Dior, Paco Rabanne, and Hussein Chalayan, separated by decades but united with a shared vision of modernism.