2012 Met Costume Institute Gala

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute exhibition is often reduced to little more than a footnote in articles dedicated to the fashion hits and misses worn at the  gala honoring the exhibit.

Warning: this post will be no different.

I’m presenting my picks for best and worst looks at the 2012 Met Costume Institute Gala. Note – I’m taking into account the whole look – not JUST the dress. In the end, a great piece of clothing can be destroyed by an unsupportive hairstyle, competing jewelry or garish makeup – and overdone can be just as tragic as underdone.


First pick – Hilary Swank in Michael Kors

Hilary Swank in Michael Kors at MET Costume Institute gala 2012. Credit: Getty

Hilary Swank is – without argument – a beautiful woman, but her toned, athletic physique often reads masculine. This look, however, doesn’t even begin to lean that direction. Over the years, Swank has been no stranger to stage-stealing gowns, but this is one of the few times she comes off entirely feminine. The shape and drape of this gown are beyond flattering – not to mention the color compliments her skin and hair perfectly. Swank is elegant, fresh, but best of all – she appears completely at ease in the look.


Another favorite: Solange Knowles in Rachel Roy

Solange Knowles in Rachel Roy at MET Costume Institute gala 2012. Credit: Kevin Mazur WireImage

The word that keeps coming into my mind is polished. Knowles’ look is flawless. The smooth, sleek dress glides over her figure, showing off every fantastic curve and angle without even touching the territories of too-tight, too-small, or too-skimpy. There’s no need to mention the perfection of this color yellow with Knowles’ skin (but I clearly can’t help myself). The minimal accessories and spectacular-but-simple clutch allow the color, the shape of the dress and Knowles’ hair (perfection) to share the spotlight. Each complimenting rather than competing. Flawless but not fake… polished.


And on the other end of the spectrum?



Rachel Zoe in Rachel Zoe

Rachel Zoe in Rachel Zoe at MET Costume Institute gala 2012. Credit: Kevin Mazur, Wireimage

Do I need to elaborate? The dress may very well be gorgeous on an actual person with an actual body. However, it hangs too far down Zoe’s skeletal frame, and trails on the floor. I’m assuming this is not how the piece is intended to appear when worn by anyone else, rather another incident of Rachel Zoe wearing clothes that are at least two sizes larger than she. I’ll admit, my problem with this look is Zoe, herself. I shouldn’t be looking at her shoulders and wondering if I’m looking at the front or back of her body. Skinny is fine. This is not.


In the end, the best looks are those that celebrate both the pieces of the outfit and the person wearing them. When there is harmony of a beautiful dress and a woman that feels beautiful in it, then you have something truly fabulous.


For more information on the Metropolitan Costume Institute exhibit: http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/impossible-conversations/introduction

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