Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Met Ball 2012: Impossible Conversations, Fairytale Dresses

Met Ball 2012 Bosworth Prada Kane Lauren
 [Getty Images].
 Burgundy on Ice
Kate Bosworth in Prada, Caroline Sieber in Christopher Kane, Mia Wasikowska in Prada, Camille Belle in Ralph Lauren.

The Metropolitan Museum, a giant in the cultural world, is also home to a yearly ball which honours the cream of the crop in the fashion industry. It's always a myriad of colours, shapes and risks, with everyone's eyes on the celebrities and their stylists. 2012 has seen Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli's combined retrospective setting the evening's theme, so plenty of celebs turned up in a nice bit of Prada. First up on my radar: the juxtaposition of burgundy lips and fabric with icy whites and blues, embellished with crystals, stones and sequins. This was glamour with a vintage edge, with an unusually brave lead by Kate Bosworth who was sporting a dress dyed in the same two-tone colours as my hair was during Spring 2011 (thank you, Schwarzkopf).

Met Ball 2012 Roberts Escada Banks Katrantzou Versace
 Structured, Not Stirred
Emma Roberts in Escada, Elizabeth Banks in Mary Katrantzou, January Jones in Atelier Versace.

The pesky peplum has been very much on everyone's lips when it comes to this season's fashion, but it's been well and truly propelled into your agenda for the next six months with these efforts of varying hip-accentuated degrees. Expect to see high street stores adorning your curves with boxy pleated sections for quite some time, either with a belt or a very well-defined bust. Perhaps not one for the apple shapes amongst us, but this is a trend that just won't die. If you want a quirkier take on the look then channel Elizabeth Banks in Mary Katrantzou's eye-popping graphic print.

Met Ball 2012 Fanning Vuitton Mara Givenchy Valli Olsen
 Fairytale of New York
Dakota Fanning in Louis Vuitton, Rooney Mara in Givenchy by Ricardo Tisci, Amy Adams in Giambattista Valli, Mary-Kate Olsen in The Row.

Yep, thanks to all of those 'heroes and villains' cinematic epics at the moment (double points if they reference Snow White), fashion is firmly focused on all things traditionally 'pure' or 'deadly'. Go really literal with an injection of frothy lilac a la Dakota Fanning, or seductive satin from Mary-Kate Olsen. Take your cues from the film heroines of days gone by and enter rooms with a dramatic sweep, especially if you're feeling evil (add your own cackle as you see fit).

Met Ball 2012 Stam Dior Knowles Roy
 Strike a Structural Pose
Jessica Stam in Christian Dior Haute Couture, Solange Knowles in Rachel Roy.

I'd say that this is the definitive pose, judging by how expertly both Jessica and Solange can do the dropped hip and one leg effect. Not only does it seemingly lengthen your pins, but it emphasises your arms and the strong architectural folds around your waist, which most definitely aren't signs of a muffin top (but would quite nicely conceal one - good tip, ladies). Props to Solange for leaving her amazing hair au naturel and not bowing to the pressure of the GHD straightening brigade.

Met Ball Hemingway Topshop Kebede Mulligan Prada
 Sparkling Things
Dree Hemingway in Topshop, Liya Kebede, Carey Mulligan in custom-made Prada.

Causing something of a field day for any magpies in the area, these three women added some sparkle to the evening with their dresses. I love that Dree plumped for Topshop (as did Jaime King), which admittedly looks far more comfortable than Carey's custom-made Prada affair. Having said that, I am incredibly jealous of the latter's quiff.

Met Ball Chung Elson Jacobs Dawson Klein
Bargain Bin
Alexa Chung in Marc Jacobs, Karen Elson in Marc Jacobs, Rosario Dawson in Calvin Klein.

Lastly, three who didn't quite work for me. I know that Alexa is seen as the high priestess of fashion in many circles, but I find a lot of her outfits can be too formulaic at times. It's great to see her stepping out of her comfort zone here and trying a shirt under a dress, but the whole two-tone style of the Marc Jacobs number doesn't quite work on any level. Surprisingly I picked out another Jacobs disappointment on Karen Elson, where the shape and the finish left me unmistakably reminded of the bargain bins at Jane Norman that some chavvy friends tried to drag me into as a teenager. It's really disappointing that Marc Jacobs has performed so uncharacteristically on such an important night. As for the third candidate, poor Rosario Dawson is left with one half of a 1990s Posh and Becks leather outfit, possibly reclaimed from Furniture Village remnants, only her Becks seems to have run away with embarrassment. Or he may be hiding under her big panelled leather skirt. Either way, it's not looking bright for 2013 if these three have anything to do with the fashion rules.

As you can probably tell, I devoured the Met Ball photos like a child at Christmas. I think it was a particularly interesting year for celebrities trying something new (albeit at the behest of their stylists), and it was refreshing to see fewer sensible LBDs or prom dresses and more of the quirky or artistically minded pieces that make fashion intriguing. If you get the chance to visit the Met and check out the Prada and Schiaparelli exhibition, I'm sure you'll be similarly captivated.

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