Pretty, not Punk

The best of the "worst" at the Met Ball

The annual Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Benefit Gala tends to be the one place celebrities experiment with their fashion choices. Of course, this means the press’s worst-dressed lists are twice as long as best-dressed ones. But they’re SO wrong. Sure, pretty much no one stuck to the night’s “Art Punk: Chaos to Couture” theme, and in their failed attempts and pure disregard for it, the collective group of attendees managed to pull together one of the most lackluster, all-over-the-place set of gowns I’ve seen in a while. But luckily some people had the good sense (and you might be surprised who) to embrace the experience and show some life with their choices. In the end these controversial pieces made our best-dressed list.

1 // Kim Kardashian, Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy

When I first saw this dress on Monday night I thought it was awful, but I couldn’t really look away. The dress’s built-in gloves and peony floral print put me into an optical illusion-type daze from which I somehow emerged a fan (okay, it also took a little cajoling from some fellow Wornettes who pointed out that this may just be the best thing Kardashian has ever worn). It breaks all the so-called rules of wearing prints or dressing during pregnancy. It’s adventurous and sophisticated and hugs every-last curve. Kanye West was heard singing, “Let nobody bring you down, you’re so awesome” to Kardashian during his performance at the event and I couldn’t agree more. By not letting her pregnancy dictate her style, she’s suddenly become a role model for us all.


2 // Katy Perry, Dolce and Gabbanna

Over-the-top accessories aside, Perry managed to dress up without over doing it in this Fall 2013 beaded and sequined dress. It shines and sparkles with religious glory and makes a canvas out of Perry’s form. She’s known for her theatrical costumes, so the unconventional choice doesn’t surprise me, but just how much I love it kind of does. Maybe it’s my pleasant memories of gleaming mosaics in Venice’s San Marco Cathedral (the designers were inspired by the walls of Sicily’s Catedral de Monreale). Or maybe it’s the teased curls, pale skin, and burgundy lips that are just dramatic enough to stand up against the dress while inspiring images of a castle-dwelling renaissance woman. Either way, she looks like the kind of sparkly religious idol you’d gladly take home as a souvenir.


3 // Kristen Stewart, Stella McCartney

Looking closely at the first three entries on this list, I’m surprised at how my expectations have been defied by women who are not typically commended for their fashion choices. Granted, K-Stew is often styled in admirable pieces, but the visible discomfort with which she wears them almost always undermines the effort. In the case of this jumpsuit however, the choice of pants over a dress seems to put Stewart more at ease. Meanwhile, the lace paneling adds a feminine touch, and the matching burgundy eye shadow brings out her signature steely gaze.


4// Zachary Quinto, Designer Unknown

Blue hair does not a worst-dressed candidate make, though that is what some other lists would have you believe. God forbid any of the men in attendance try to dress in line with the night’s theme. The history of men’s fashion has a lot more to offer than just slim-cut tuxedos, after all. Quinto’s tailored vest and crisp white shirt paired with satin paneled pants and gold detailed loafers gave him a pirate-like appeal, while the blue-tipped diagonal Mohawk reminded everyone that dressing up should be fun.


5 // PSY, Designer Unknown

Why Psy was at the Met Ball at all remains a mystery to me, but he put some A-list celebrities to shame with his attire. A short red and black checkered jacket with thin lapels and a single button harkened the punk theme while his black and white wing-tipped shoes and round sunglasses added a touch of ’50s glamour. This is how to do put-together punk.


6 // Solange Knowles, Kenzo

So both Knowles sisters missed the theme of the night, but Solange out-wowed her sister by far. Staying true to her bold print, big hair style in a black and mazarine wave jacquard split-front dress by Kenzo, she looked like she took a cue from her sister’s Foxy Cleopatra wardrobe. It was one of the few blue dresses on the carpet and Solange’s confidence sold it. She looks like a sexy ’70s goddess and we love it.

WORN Cinema Society: 1970s In Why See & Anton Perich


In the late 60s, Anton Perich ran an underground film program in Paris that screened the early works of Andy Warhol and Jonas Mekas. When he moved to New York City in the 1970s, he freelanced photography gigs for Interview Magazine and ran one of the very first ‘underground’ cable access shows. He was even an ‘early pioneer’ of digital art, having invented in the late ’70s an ‘electric painting machine’ that was a precursor to the ink-jet printer.

Mr. Perich’s most accessible legacy however, lies in is his YouTube channel, and the uploaded classic fashion show footage he shot during that hedonistic Loft Party/Studio 54 era (the above photo is a Perich — see Andy, Jerry, Paloma and Truman). The videos are shaky and even blurry at times, but don’t let that get in the way of your viewing pleasure. It’s a wonderful documentation of how ye old fashion show might have been presented — on a stage, minus the runway. Given the recent inclination for designers to eschew the typical Fashion Week presentation for more creative events and installations, it’s a wonderful reveal that the more things might change, the more they’ll stay the same (ie. let’s put on a show!).

There’s a Kenzo show where the models prance out in high leather boots, twirling with style to the deep disco and if you look closely, you might spot Jerry Hall, Iman, Patti Hansen (cause everyone was there). Perich even caught a few historical firsts, such as Issey Miyake’s 1975 FIT show (his first in NY). It’s high drama via fuzzy black and white video: models coolly stride out (oh my, is that Pat Cleveland?) to wailing Robert Fripp guitars and Kraftwerk blips (a perfect accompaniment for his billowing and transformative windcoat shapes).

My favourite footage? Grace Jones getting her hair cut. Srsly. It’s a quiet moment between performer and hair dresser that’s incredibly intimate. Get thee to Perich’s channel and watch it for yourself.

-Rea McNamara