Hits and misses of the fashion Oscars
The Met Gala marks the biggest night in the fashion calendar. Meadhbh McGrath ranks the good, the bad and the avant garde
Faced with the most challenging dress code yet, guests at this year's Met Gala had their work cut out for them. The 'Oscars of fashion' celebrates the opening of the Costume Institute's annual exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the 2017 edition honoured a retrospective on designer Rei Kawakubo, the 74-year-old Japanese avant-gardist behind cult label Comme des Garcons.
As co-chair for the night, Katy Perry was duty-bound to dress accordingly, and she certainly took the theme and ran with it. Swathed in blood-red Maison Margiela, the newly-shorn singer took the opportunity to continue her rebrand from cheery pop star to moody political provocateur with a metal headpiece bearing the word 'WITNESS'.
Madonna has never shied away from an outlandish Met gown - opting for bum-flashing looks in 2013 and again last year - and she was ready for battle on Monday, declaring war on the theme with an ill-fitting camouflage creation by Moschino's Jeremy Scott, replete with gun holsters and a diamond-encrusted grill.
Last year, Amy Schumer called the Met Gala a "punishment" but she was back again, this time in some sort of patent Halloween costume by Zac Posen. Blake Lively turned up in her signature shade of gold with a load of incongruous blue feathers tacked on, like an unwelcome mermaid-peacock hybrid.
Victoria's Secret models Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have worked hard for their bodies and made sure we all knew it. We'll spare you the back view of Kendall's 'visible thong' sheath by La Perla - ditto Bella's Alexander Wang body stocking, which she had to be sewn into on the night.
Their colleague Lily Aldridge, however, was an unexpected treat in a slashed Ralph Lauren gown and red Balenciaga boots. Red ruled on the tan carpet - model Doutzen Kroes has been quietly shedding her sleek supermodel look in recent months, and showed there's more to her style by making a difficult off-the-shoulder Brock Collection gown, undone hair and make-up look effortlessly elegant.
Karl Lagerfeld muse Lily Rose Depp nodded to the theme in a shocking pink Chanel gown (one of Kawakubo's favoured accent hues) with creeping silver camellias, while the ever-theatrical Solange Knowles paid fitting tribute in a Thom Browne parka-as-dress - climate change be damned.
Tracee Ellis Ross, the Golden Globe-winning star of Blackish and Diana's daughter, has been on a red carpet roll this year, and she stunned in a bold blue sculptural mini - one of the few attendees to actually wear Comme des Garcons on the night.
But leave it to Rihanna to steal the show. The Bajan beauty's enormous gold cape by Guo Pei in 2015 established her as the undisputed queen of the Met Gala, and anticipation was high on Monday night. But she outdid everyone once again in an architectural wonder, fresh off Comme des Garcon's AW2016 runway, that no mere mortal could dream of pulling off. Long may she reign.