NEW YORK • The theme of the exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Anna Wintour Costume Center this year was fashion and technology. This meant that people like the museum's head curator Andrew Bolton, along with Apple's chief design officer Jonathan Ive - who served as a sponsor - spoke in lofty tones about the dichotomies of man versus machine, haute couture versus ready-to-wear, hand-sewn versus mass-produced.
For laypeople, it meant an exhibit of wild designer gowns and a gala celebration on Monday night, at which the bulk of celebrity attendants wore metallics.
Rapper Kanye West wore a loose metallic jacket and contact lenses that turned his eyes iridescent blue. His wife, Kim Kardashian West, wore metallic, beaded Balmain.
And Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o donned a celerygreen, metallic Calvin Klein dress, her hair in an updo that seemed to recall both Star Wars and Nina Simone.
At most major red-carpet events, choices like these would be referred to as misfires. Here at the Met, they imply merely that the attendants took the theme to heart and paid fealty to the queen, whom even the most famous women in the house still approach with trepidation.
"She doesn't speak to me," said pop star Madonna, when asked whether her black lace Givenchy dress by Riccardo Tisci that showed almost the entirety of her bust and backside had been approved by Vogue editor Wintour. "She does speak to Riccardo, though."
The evening began on the red carpet just before 6pm, when Wintour arrived in a simple, cream Chanel gown.
Singer Lady Gaga ascended the stairs in a bustier-like top with platform shoes, along with fishnet stockings and no pants. Actress Kate Hudson was inches away from her, wearing a white dress that seemed to have been constructed entirely from shards of plexiglass. In came Claire Danes, in a baby blue dress with a train so long, it took a bus to get her there.
As in years past, the last major celebrity arrival was singer Beyonce, who walked onto the red carpet at 8.40pm in a nude- coloured Givenchy dress.
Arriving fashionably late seemed apropos this year, a week after the release of her new album Lemonade, which hints strongly at possible past infidelity and discord in her marriage.
But she was not here to talk about that, or why her husband Jay Z was not on her arm. The only question she answered was about how long it took to get ready. "It was actually a lot easier than last year," she said.
NEW YORK TIMES