Beyond Fashion – Met Gala 2014

Post by CM

The Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibtion at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art kicked off with the annual Met Gala on Monday night. The event affectionately referred to by some as the ‘Fashion Oscars’ was, as always, awash with beautiful people being beautiful.

Charles James by Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton’s photograph of Charles James’s ball gowns for ‘Vogue.’ Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art

The theme of the ball is always an homage to the year’s exhibit, this year’s was “White Tie and Decorations”, and some were disappointed with the seemingly boring and staid subject. But on closer look, there was a lot that could be done with classic designs that influenced Dior’s New Look. James, in his time, did go beyond fashion – his designs live up to Yves Saint Laurent’s famous assertion that “fashions fade, style is eternal” creating new and exciting and now timeless shapes.

Lily Donaldson


Amongst all the monochrome (there was a lot) this was the gown that fitted into the original Charles James aesthetic the best. A sweetly classic Burberry number, model Lily Donaldson plays it rather safe, but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry (I’m looking at you Maggie Gyllenhaal)

Greta Gerwig


Admittedly Greta hasn’t been on many best dressed lists, but I’d like to put that right. It’s a directional, very modern look whilst ticking all the boxes – black and white, sheer, slick and current while being suitable for a white tie affair.

Victoria Beckham


Vicky B does look good though, doesn’t she? I wonder if she answers ‘myself’ when asked who she’s wearing on the red carpet… Cannabalistic musings aside, Victoria wears her updated column dress very well, continuing her startlingly effective brand representation. Who else is imagining dozens of her disciples walking down the aisle in something similar some time soon?

Dakota Johnson


Miss Anastasia Steele is nodding very subtly to her upcoming movie here – not 50 shades, just the one, but clashed gorgeously with navy in a gown by Jason Wu. There were quite a number of gloves on display but this was the only look I loved them with, and her tousled, nonchalant hair indicates that, unlike her alter-ego, Dakota Johnson is totally in control.

Janelle Monae


Apart from the yukky shoes I was very taken with Janelle’s cool take on the theme. While not the only one forgoing a dress for trousers the addition of this intricately detailed cloak and crisp white shirt with brooch gives such her such a regal and no nonsense edge that, just like the courtiers of old adopting a trendy lisp in emulation of their prince we’ll be rushing out to copy the look come autumn.

Emma Stone


I was wondering what this look reminded me of until last night when ‘Let it Go’ popped into my head, as it is wont to do on a periodic basis. It’s Frozen’s Elsa warmed up, right down to the natty braid! Check out that sassy pose – Emma’s choice has been critised a little for being too casual for the ocassion, but I think this young starlet has it down – the dress code never bothered her anyway.


Favourite Couple Looks

blake-lively-ryan-reynolds-vogue-6may14-pa_b_592x888 14117166712_400d5467ff_c chanel-iman-vogue-6may14-getty_b_592x888 claire-danes-hugh-dancy-vogue-6may14-pa_b_592x888

 Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, Scott Campbell and Lake Bell, Chanel Iman and ASAP Rocky, Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy

These twosomes doubled the style when they teamed up. Blake and Ryan know it, Lake is rocking the best pregnancy look since Kerry Washington, Chanel Iman is exquisite (in Topshop!) and her fiance compliments her perfectly, Claire and Hugh look the picture of serenity and poise.

Notable Mentions

13933625648_830e73a81e_c ashley-mary-kate-olsen-vogue-6may14-pa_b_592x888 stella-tennant-mario-testino-vogue-6may14-pa_b_592x888 rihanna-vogue-6may14-pa_b_592x888

Florence Welsh, Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, Stella Tenant with Mario Testino, Rhianna

Another different but delightful look from Florence, MK and A wear vintage in gowns that have divided the critics (I love them), Stella Tenant is radiant and Rhianna just looks amazing.

Definitely Beyond Fashion

14098032426_ac4657e641_c article-2621064-1D993F8E00000578-713_306x686 kirsten-dunst-vogue-6may14-pa_b_592x888

Stacey Martin, Brie Larson, Kirsten Dunst

Clashing colours, gold lamé and a death star. That is all…

(..but for the record I dig them all, although Kirsten should have kept her makeup much simpler)

As it happens, this year the Costume Institute added The Anna Wintour Costume Centre in honour of the eponymous US Vogue editor. Opened by Michelle Obama herself the morning of the gala, Wintour’s iconic status has been cemented (literally!) in this corner of the Met.

How about you, do you agree with my picks? Let us know in the comments below!

Posts return to normal next week, with TM on Tuesday!


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