'Possessed by female ghost', 'Qing time travel': Chinese media rip into Hollywood stars at Met ball

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker arrives for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala 2015 celebrating the opening of "China: Through the Looking Glass," in Manhattan, New York on May 4, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker arrives for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala 2015 celebrating the opening of "China: Through the Looking Glass," in Manhattan, New York on May 4, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - "How is one to dress in the Chinese style and not be like a waitress?" asked a headline on the Chinese website Sohu.

Another, on the NetEase website, declared: "Chinese style that gives you the shivers! Foreign actresses collectively dressed abnormally".

That was the Chinese media shaking their heads at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gala on Monday in New York, where Hollywood stars dressed according to the museum's theme of China to mind-boggling - or eyeball-rolling - effect.

Not only did Sarah Jessica Parker's Philip Treacy flame headdress go viral on the Chinese Internet, inspiring references to Huanhuan, a Beijing Olympics mascot, other stars also came under fire for their awful China references.

Actress Chloe Sevigny, in a J.W. Anderson mishmash of silks, and model Georgia May Jagger, in a Gucci embroidered robe, were mocked for their vintage choices on Sohu. Sevigny was one of the stars captioned "possessed by female ghost", and Jagger's dress was tagged "Qing palace time travel".

In addition to headdresses and silks, capes, gold gowns and red dresses were the top trends at the gala.

However, although singer Lady Gaga (in a Balenciaga cape) and actress Anne Hathaway (in a gold Ralph Lauren) were praised in the American media for their picks, the Chinese media wondered if they had the right country.

Lady Gaga's dress was more Japanese than Chinese, and Hathaway's Middle Eastern, said Sohu.

But the Chinese stars were not spared either. To the disappointment of the Chinese website CRI Online, for instance, actresses including Gao Yuanyuan, Vicki Zhao and Ni Ni did not seize the chance to do China proud but wore anonymous gowns by foreign brands.

Instead, the faces of Chinese cinema who were left to keep the flag flying were Gong Li (in a Roberto Cavalli qipao), Zhang Ziyi (a Carolina Herrara frog-buttoned dress) and Fan Bingbing (a gold-sequinned gown and cape by Chinese designer Christopher Bu).

CRI Online had praise for foreign stars such as Rihanna, Emily Blunt and Rita Ora, however.

Blunt and Ora were cited for choosing modern-looking Chinese-style dresses by Prada and Tom Ford.

Although Rihanna's grand robe by Chinese designer Guo Pei was ridiculed on the Internet for its resemblance to an omelette, the website said it was a "serious, pure interpretation of the so-called Chinese style".

Defending the singer, it added: "When you see a Chinese model in it, you will suddenly find that the draggy fur robe, whoever wears it, becomes an egg pancake."