Penny McCormick looks ahead to the annual Met Gala and examines who will wear what on the biggest night in fashion …
This weekend will be a busy one for guests of the forthcoming Met Gala, New York – held on Monday, September 13, having been postponed from May due to Covid-19. Final fittings of gowns, not to mention last minute tweakments, are all necessary preparations, for what is regarded as one of the first official red carpet events of the season.
One person, who is already ahead on tweakments is designer Marc Jacobs, 58, who recently documented his facelift on Instagram – posting a photo of himself in the NYC office of Dr Andrew Jaceno with his head wrapped in gauze. He later shared a photo of himself in an oxygen tank at Hyperbaric Medical Solutions, where he recovered from his surgery. (Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is described as “an all-natural, non-invasive treatment where a patient simply breathes 100 per cent medical-grade oxygen at an increased atmospheric pressure”).
Not quite so drastic, while on holiday in Paris, Gywneth Paltrow popped into see Dr Dray, a cosmetic dermatologist who often gives women lip fillers. “No stop to Paris complete without a visit to the maestro Dr Dray,” she noted on Instagram. Dray’s lip refresh, “consists of injections of a fluid, non-volumising and vitamin E, which smooth out lines around the mouth, and rehydrate and redefine the lips.”
The guest list of the gala, founded in 1948 by publicist Eleanor Lambert, is smaller and more intimate this year and includes co-chairs Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka. Designer Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour will serve as the honorary chairs.
I wonder if Ms Wintour will bring actor Bill Nighy as her date and if she will wear Carolina Herrera rather than her usual choice of bespoke Chanel gown? The reason: this year’s theme celebrates American fashion. Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, felt it was time to reexamine American identity and fashion. He told Vogue, “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance. I think young designers in particular are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”
Translated to the red carpet, expect to see a colour palette straight out of Tommy Hilfiger’s playbook of red, white and blue. No doubt all of the major American designers will be represented. Met Gala stalwarts such as Oscar de la Renta, Zac Posen and Ralph Lauren have always brought the glamour, while others such as Tory Burch and Adam Lippes have reworked waspish good taste. Younger designers such as Rosie Assoulin, Rodarte and Proenza Schouler add whimsy and fantastical twists as at Jason Wu, Anna Sui and Vera Wang. Brandon Maxwell is sure to be worn by some of the model guests such as Gigi and Bella Hadid or Lady Gaga, one of his biggest fans. I’m hoping Bennifer (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) fly in from Venice Film Festival for the event. No one works the red carpet better than JLo. I’d love to see her in Tom Ford.
I suspect that many guests may wear vintage (it is #SecondhandSeptember after all) and there are plenty of fabulous vintage stores in Manhattan including the high end New York Vintage Inc for couture and Pilgrim New York, though William Vintage in London and The Way We Wore in LA has the sort of rare pieces celebrities require. If I were a guest, I’d be eyeing some original designs by Donna Karan or Halston, who has enjoyed a revival this year and whose current chief creative officer, Robert Rodriguez, has reinterpreted and modernised key styles.
Rihanna, whose Met Gala form is undeniably dramatic (her Guo Pei “egg yolk” dress being a case in point), has just announced she is hosting one of the after parties. If you’re not on her list (perhaps count that as a blessing!), my guess is guests will head to the Upper East Side institution The Carlyle, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary and a recent renovation by designer Tony Chi. Having welcomed countless moguls, royalty and socialites such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the hotel is the subject of a new book published this month by Assouline with a foreword by musician, Lenny Kravitz, from which this image is drawn. (The Carlyle, introduction by James Reginato, foreword by Lenny Kravitz, Assouline)
I’m looking forward to Tuesday morning and waking up to see who wore what: recent events have been somewhat lacklustre to say the least. Post gala, there will be a two-part exhibition “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” opening on September 18 at the Anna Wintour Costume Center featuring pieces from Christopher John Rogers, Sterling Ruby, Conner Ives, Prabal Gurung, and Andre Walker. Following that “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” will take place in February 2022; www.metmuseum.org.
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