NEW YORK • This year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute paid tribute to Rei Kawakubo, the Japanese designer with a penchant for all things edgy and asymmetrical.
There were wedding gowns that suggested Like A Virgin by way of Tim Burton. There were jackets that appeared to have been made from pipe cleaners.
So, what was the shiny gown that Anna Wintour, the gatekeeper for the gala, rolled in wearing at 6pm on Monday? "Chanel," she said.
And the last time she wore Kawakubo's line, Comme des Garcons?
"Sometime back in the 1980s," the Vogue editor said, letting that hang out there with all the implicit meaning one might read into it.
Anyway, she was not alone. In years past, celebrities have taken the themes very seriously. This time, it was more like a general invitation to let the freak flags fly, so lots of celebrities, aside from Wintour, did.
This year's co-host, singer Katy Perry, wore a red veil and dress by John Galliano for Maison Martin Margiela that left her looking like the bride of Frankenstein.
Hip-hop star Nicki Minaj was more Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark by way of a Las Vegas showgirl in a caped black-and-red dress designed with H&M.
Rihanna wore a kaleidoscopic Comme des Garcons dress with swirling layers of floral flounces. The singer earned the most mentions on social media, said analyst Kellan Terry at social media analytics firm Brandwatch.
Model Helen Lasichanh, the wife of another co-host, musician Pharrell Williams, was stuffed into a bright red Comme des Garcons gown that had no arms. He stood by her talking about how easy it was to put on his ripped jeans and plaid CDG jacket ("I'm a man," he said).
By 8pm, the stairs leading up to the event were filled with celebrities. One minute, model Kendall Jenner ascended, wearing a La Perla gown that showed off pretty much everything underneath it.
Just behind her was actress Lena Dunham, in an Elizabeth Kennedy- designed, gingham-accented gown with ruffles that definitely had a Comme des Garcons influence.
"We really took the theme to heart," she said. "We even forced Ms Wintour to weigh in."
Of course, because the Met Gala serves as Vogue's biggest branding opportunity and because the money it raises for the Costume Institute makes up the centre's entire budget, many glittery attendees wore designers that the magazine effectively paired them with.
And every big celebrity had a big fashion date. Singer Jennifer Lopez arrived in a sky blue Valentino gown, flanked not just by her new boyfriend, baseball player Alex Rodriguez, but also by Valentino himself.
Actress Kerry Washington arrived with Michael Kors and wore one of his gowns, which had lots of metallic details, along with holes that were cut into it to pay homage to Kawakubo.
Many of the people whom reporters wanted to hear from ran up the stairs. These included Rihanna, departing Met director Thomas Campbell and former Fox News star Megyn Kelly.
The evening's last big arrivals occurred: first, singer Celine Dion, and then, pop star Madonna, who has been showing Dion contempt for nearly 20 years.
Naturally, Madonna got a big reaction, even though she is a fixture at the event. She wore a slinky camouflage-patterned gown and was flanked by its designer, Jeremy Scott.
But she was not doing a lot of interviews either.
"Sorry," she said, making her way inside as she blamed her publicist. "I have to do whatever he says."