About two weeks ago, one of the most important United States fashion gala events took place, The Metropolitan Ball or as its more commonly known, the Met Ball. This is one of the few gala events that takes place in the US that could stand up to the traditional European balls, even prior to when the US and New York City Fashion Week became the premier international fashion statement. Many forget or don't realize that it's only in the last 15 years (or so) that NYC Fashion Week and the US became the Mecca for fashion. A lot of the reasons why we weren’t prior are due to two main challenges.
I believe that one is history and sometimes understanding it too - the USA is not that old hence, either is our fashion, heck the French have been creating couture longer than we've been a country. Second, sometimes we just try too hard, a mistake I have made in my career. This year’s Met Ball was a great example of this, instead of great dos, we had a ton of don'ts and the hair just tried too hard.
This year’s Met Ball was hosted by Beyoncé, who is an amazingly talented, beautiful, fashionable, and will be historically important because of all she can do as a person. But, she is also as smart of a choice to host a "Punk Fashion Gala" as serving Chick-Fil-A sandwiches at a Gay Pride Parade. Sometimes things just don't make sense, not bad, but not a congruent choice either, almost like, “ Why?” Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
I learned this lesson when I went back to NYC in the late 1990's to be color director for Nick Arrojo & Rodney Cutler at ARROJO CUTLER on 57th St. Like some of the people I’ll be talking about, I had achieved some notoriety when Allure recognized me in their best of the best for colorists across the US and I had more ideas and opportunities… just because you can doesn't mean you should. This is what I believe happens often when things turn out, not necessarily "bad," but you look at it and know it’s not GOOD. This year’s Met Ball looked more like a Rube Goldberg machine, just because you can doesn't mean you should try THAT hard.
This year’s Met Ball theme was PUNK: Chaos To Couture, again who thought Beyoncé? Was it the same person who thought Northwest Airlines should be changed to NWA (there was a band with those initials that had nothing to do with flying), and from there it was all down hill. Let’s break down some of the looks.
With all the fashionable people, this unfortunately is the short list.
Rooney Mara and Sarah Jessica Parker nailed it. They were both themselves and the appropriate punk version of themselves. Rooney Mara took it to a minimum in Givenchy, using make-up, simple dark hair and some well-placed zippers to create couture punk. While SJP went with more and hit the mark with a Giles Deacon dress, a Philip Treacy feather Mohawk headpiece and velvet tartan thigh-high Louboutins. And, her hair did not disappoint either, creating a silhouette that balanced perfectly the Philip Treacy head piece while also creating a base that had interest with its braiding without distracting from what was already a lot, that just worked. From the front, SJP was spectacular from the top of her feathers to the tip of her toes, balancing her beauty with shape, form and fashion, but she was one of the few smart ones.
This list has been edited already in 2 ways, first there were too many bad to list and this could have been called the ugly.
Miley Cyrus, does she think a Chia Pet is punk? This, I think, is what happens when you don't understand history, just because your hair is spiky doesn't make it punk, she looked like she put her finger in an electrical socket or one of those play-dough heads you can cut.
Madonna looked like a cheap lady of the night trying to be incognito, so no one will recognize her at her next PTA meeting or maybe she thought, “Would Natasha Fatale from Rocky & Bullwinkle wear this?” It was too much and too old.
Nicole Richie, she wasn't the right color to be punk, in fact she was so orange she wasn't even the right color to be human. From the white hair that would have been more appropriate at a British Barristers meeting, to the dress that was more a Nancy Reagan style (it just needed to be red for Nancy) than punk, how could Nicole be so off? Joel Madden is the father to her children.
Kim Kardashian, did she think it was a Mrs. Doubtfire convention? Hasn't Kim ever heard that patterns aren't slimming? I know when my wife was pregnant she always laughed that pregnancy makes you lose brain cells/common sense (temporarily); I think pregnancy has caused Kim to lose her fashion sense. After this outfit choice, the baby is going to slap her.
In life, with fashion and hair we have choices. Sometimes because we can doesn't mean we should and the Met Gala was a great example of this. You need to know your audience (Beyoncé hosting Punk), be age appropriate (Madonna), understand balance (Nicole Ritchie) and know when to say no (Kim).