Red Carpet Fashion Review: The Met Gala 2011

Daphne Guinness in Alexander McQueen; Anna Wintour in Chanel

For an event hosted in honor of the upcoming Alexander McQueen "Savage Beauty" exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, this year’s Met Gala had surprisingly few red carpet McQueen moments. Even Anna Wintour opted to wear Chanel over something from the designer’s archives. Sure, Wintour opts for Chanel every year, but you’d think for such an occasion she would deviate. Even more surprising was the number of monochromatic, relatively simple gowns that the stars opted for. While one would think that if not McQueen, we’d see Marchesa, Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, and couture creations in droves, instead we saw more Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, and Ralph Lauren – there was even some Tommy Hilfiger on the red carpet.

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Naomi Campbell and Gisele Bundchen in Alexander McQueen

The night’s best dressed however were the women who embraced the occasion to wear something bold. Whether pushing the envelope in terms of cut, color, embellishment or overall design, Gisele Bundchen, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Campbell, Hamish Bowles, and of course, Daphne Guinness, who got ready for the occasion in the windows of Barneys New York, all stunned in Alexander McQueen creations.

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Miranda Kerr in Marchesa; Madonna in Stella McCartney

Miranda Kerr and Fergie went with intricate Marchesa looks, while Liv Tyler, Mariacarla Boscono, and Mary-Kate Olsen (in vintage), dazzled in Givenchy. Showing off her fabulous legs and a prominent trend for the season was Diane Kruger in a high-slit Jason Wu floor-length gown, while Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna went understated but with high-glam sparkle embellishments in Stella McCartney.

More understated were Dianna Agron, Emma Roberts, and Brooklyn Decker all of whom opted for Michael Kors, and Claire Danes, Zoe Saldana, Lara Stone, and Dree Hemingway all of whom went for Calvin Klein. While there’s no denying that the likes of Zoe Saldana looked gorgeous, they might have been better off taking a cue from Doutzen Kroes who spiced things up in Fall 2011 Giambattista Valli – if you’re going to an event honoring a designer that pushes the envelope and you opt to go monochromatic, go for a bold color and silhouette (though Kroes’ look did lack in the diamond department).

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Brooklyn Decker in Michael Kors; Live Tyler in Givenchy

Another surprise was that Jessica Szohr, Maggie Grace, and Ginnifer Goodwin all went with looks from Topshop Unique, a brand that’s far from being a regular on A-list red carpets. That said, Goodwin was one of the best dressed of the night in a vibrant green, cut-out silk twist front gown. Unfortunately, it was a custom dress, but I’m still crossing my fingers that it gets produced at some point.

Diane Kruger in Jason Wu; Ginnifer Goodwin in Topshop Unique

Also in the running for best dressed, aside from the aforementioned ladies in Marchesa, Givenchy, and McQueen, were a pregnant Jessica Alba who was beaming in a champagne colored Ralph Lauren strapless gown with embellished details, Penelope Cruz in a black silk organza, chiffon, and tulle tiered Oscar de la Renta gown, and Jennifer Hudson – who has never looked better – in a custom Vera Wang.

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Penelope Cruz in Oscar de la Renta; Jennifer Hudson in Vera Wang

Less impressive were Rihanna in a one-sleeve lace Stella McCartney dress, Blake Lively in an illusion bodice and silver pailette embroidered draped Chanel gown, Kristen Stewart in Proenza Schouler, and Michelle Williams in Miu Miu.

Lastly, while I wasn’t a fan of Ashley Olsen’s vintage Dior or Beyonce’s Emilio Pucci, both gowns felt appropriate for an occasion honoring McQueen given their somewhat Victorian design.

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Blake Lively in Chanel (with Karl Lagerfeld); Beyonce in Emilio Pucci

As for the men, Marc Jacobs showed up appropriately enough in a kilt and, according to WWD, asked Philip Treacy, one of McQueen’s longtime friends, what the designer himself would have thought of all the fuss. “He wouldn’t have come,” Treacy said. Let’s hope that’s not true.

Images: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com, NYMag.com