The Met Gala red carpet is fraught with danger.
The annual event’s extravagant theme and top-tier guest list bring a very specific set of challenges. Try too hard and you’re desperate, try too little and you become irrelevant.
Nail the theme and the red carpet, however, and you’ll be remembered for years to come – inducted into Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s exclusive in-crowd.
Success requires striking the delicate balance between being on-theme without looking like a caricature.
It’s hard but, then again, these are some of the richest people in the world with stylists, makeup artists and designers at their disposal.
This year’s theme – Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination – was always going to produce some doozies and, boy, did it deliver.
The hall of shame
First thing’s first, we need to name and shame a few people. These are the deserters – the celebrities who chose to entirely ignore the theme and proceed as if they were attending a regular red carpet event.
Ladies, hang your heads.
Scarlett Johansson: This Marchesa number is more ‘mother of the bride’ than ‘fashion event of the year’. But Johansson’s choice of designer was possibly even more controversial, given Marchesa is a little on the nose due to its ties to disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein. The label was founded by Georgina Chapman, Weinstein’s ex-wife. Although the couple have since divorced, the brand is still tainted from allegations by actresses including Sienna Miller that Weinstein forced them to wear his wife’s designs on the red carpet.
Cindy Crawford: This red Versace gown looks like everything Crawford has ever worn. Yawn.
Ashley Graham: Her Prabal Gurung strapless gown is perfect … for the Logies. Get on the right level, girl.
Brooke Shields: Shields should have diverted her limo and headed to a formal dinner at the White House instead.
Salma Hayek: It beggars belief that Hayek, who is married to François-Henri Pinault – chairman of one of the biggest fashion conglomerates in the world – would not use those resources to her advantage.
The best dressed
Rihanna: As co-chair of this year’s event and reigning queen of the Met Gala, Rihanna had pressure on her to deliver a ‘wow’ moment. She somehow managed to exceed those already high expectations in this incredible Maison Margiela by John Galliano artwork (‘outfit’ doesn’t quite do it justice).
Kate Bosworth: As a Catholic bride in frothy Oscar de la Renta with full veil and train, Bosworth demonstrated that she not only understood the theme, she was the theme.
Blake Lively: The blonde actress had us shouting ‘Hallelujah!’ in a ruby Versace dress that took 600 hours to make. She somehow managed to strike the perfect balance between ecclesiastical and sexy. No easy feat.
Amanda Seyfried: In her floaty Prada gown, Seyfried looked like one of Botticelli’s angels. Basking in the glow of new motherhood (she gave birth to a daughter last year) and clearly comfortable and relaxed, Seyfried was a ray of metaphorical sunshine. #Blessed.
Zendaya: From her hair to her armoured shoulder pads, the 21-year-old was a modern-day Joan of Arc in Versace. Nailed it.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: From Victoria’s Secret angel to actual angel. This is a look that deserves the halo it comes with.
The worst dressed
Amal Clooney: Amal, honey, we expected better. As the host of this year’s event and a constant source of style inspiration, this pants-meets-corset-meets-ballgown look was wildly disappointing.
Doutzen Kroes: This dress would make a great prop for an interpretative dance.
Kylie Jenner: Kylie, we know you think you’ve got God-like status, but that doesn’t excuse you ignoring the theme to wear your own weird combination of printed stockings and tiny sunglasses.
Mindy Kaling: The idea is there, but it’s poorly executed. Unless the comedienne is being funny in which case – we don’t get the joke.
Lena Dunham: No, no. No. No, no, no, no.
In a league of their own
These stars can’t be compared to anyone because they were operating on another level. Praise be.
Shailene Woodley: The actress didn’t have a knight in shining armour, so she became one herself.
Katy Perry: Someone had to do angel wings so it may as well have been Katy Perry.
Sarah Jessica Parker: This is what you call commitment.
Frances McDormand: The Oscar winner was working to her own theme, her own schedule and her own vibe.
Cardi B: Accompanied by designer Jeremy Scott, the pregnant rapper was jewel-encrusted and holier than thou.
Greta Gerwig: This was something else.
Lana del Rey and Jared Leto: Jared Leto’s long locks regularly earn him comparisons to Jesus Christ, so he couldn’t be better suited to the theme. Lana del Rey, meanwhile, wasn’t afraid to go all out with bird headdress and sword chest-piece.