The steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art turned blue and white last night for the 2017 Met Gala red carpet, celebrating the opening of the Costume Institute’s new exhibition “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.” Hollywood’s and fashion’s biggest names, some dressed in Kawakubo’s most outrageous Comme des Garçons designs (here’s to you, Rihanna!), made their way up the 150-foot-long carpet into the museum’s Temple of Dendur for the party of the year, also known as the most competitive red carpet for us in the media. Whether you’re Jenna Bush with The Today Show, Brad Goreski with E!, or a New York Times or fashion magazine reporter, you’re all in the same boat: standing outside for at least four hours and competing in a shouting match to catch attendees’ attention and get that coveted soundbite. We were situated on the south side of the steps (aka the left) next to a reporter from Bloomberg News. Needless to say, we had different ideas about a “good get” — she was focused on the billionaires and society types, where we were focused on models, designers, and celebrities.
As per tradition, Vogue’s editor-in-chief and driving force behind the Met Gala Anna Wintour graced the carpet first, wearing a bejeweled gold Chanel gown. Following was her daughter Bee Shaffer (in Alexander McQueen) and fiancé Francesco Carrozzini. Last night marked the couple’s first public appearance since announcing their engagement a little over a month ago. Next up was Pharrell (no south side of the steps for him!) and his wife Helen Lashichanh, followed by Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen. After Brady and Bündchen posed for paparazzi together—they even gave the shutterbugs a peck on the lips—Brady went straight over to Good Morning America‘s special contributor Jesse Palmer. After a few more TV interviews, the couple skipped the print reporters. “I think we have to go and say hi to everyone who arrives. We are the co-hosts this year!” Bündchen shouted to us. Another grand entrance of the eve? Katy Perry, co-host and co-chair, who arrived looking like a piece of artwork in Maison Margiela Artisanal. She was silent upon walking up the stairs at what looked like a turtle’s pace, but as reporters and photographers shouted for her, she stopped, turned, and gave a subtle pose. It felt rehearsed, in an impressive way!
Mods du moment Presley Gerber, Jordan Barrett, and Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis brought their sexy stares to the carpet. They were dressed in Topman and posed with their dates (also in Topshop): Candice Swanepoel, Sofia Richie, Sistine Stallone, Joan Smalls and Behati Prinsloo. “We had to wait for the girls….we were very patient,” Barrett told me on how long it took the group to get ready. “It took a while, but it was fun!” This year was Barrett’s and Gerber’s first Met Gala. “We’re here with our friends, so it’s not that bad. They look out for us and tell us what to do,” Barrett added. As for their plans tomorrow? “I’m probably just going to want to sleep,” Gerber said. “Then we’re back to L.A.!”
Socialite and fashion risk-taker Julie Macklowe, who’s known for the most outrageous of Met Gala looks, stopped by to say hi. As always, she went all out in a Comme des Garçons plaid, armless ensemble from the last collection, paired with Gucci platforms. “I’ve gone as a flying squirrel with no arms tonight and am wearing special underwear that you can pee in,” Macklowe told us. “It only took about an hour [to get ready]…very easy! I feel like I need a beer-bong helmut since I don’t have arms, so I can drink. I just hope someone who sits next to me will feed me.”
Tracee Ellis Ross was another star to rock the carpet in Comme des Garçons, styled by Karla Welch. As she was getting her picture taken, she broke news that media and celebs alike were pretty shaken up about. “Instagram stories is down! It’s devastating! It’s the the saddest day ever!” We documented the carpet on The Daily’s feed instead. But it worked out—our video of Selena Gomez and The Weeknd walking up the stairs hand-in-hand (with Gomez rocking the same hairstyle as The Weeknd’s ex, Bella Hadid) has garnered 82,285 views—and counting! Couples were definitely trending on the social media front, like JLO and A-Rod and Tom and Gisele. Bella arriving with date Alexander Wang, who dressed her in a sheer, bejeweled bodysuit, has also gotten lots of love. Instagram’s founder Kevin Systrom walked in with Karlie Kloss and her longtime boyfriend Joshua Kushner. We were eager to ask Kevin about the Instagram crash (it’s the second year in a row that the app has had technical difficulties on Met Gala day), but instead, got a word with its head of fashion partnerships, Eva Chen (dressed in Erdem). “There was a little big of a bug. It went down. People were freaking out. I probably got more texts than I’ve ever gotten in my life, but apparently it’s back up,” Chen told me. When I told her this is the second year it’s happened, she replied, “Don’t say it! Fashion’s cursed!”
Another Comme des Garçons-clad guest was mod Anna Cleveland, who was wearing a design hand-picked for her by Kawakubo. “I’ve been working with her in close proximity for the past four seasons. I feel like today is a present, so I’m wrapped up in bows. It’s a big present to stand here and celebrate art and the art of fashion and to be here for Rei. I’ve learned to stand strong on your point of view from Rei, and that sooner or later people will believe in who you are as long as you believe in yourself.” The duo have known each other for quite some time. “Rei is a woman of few words because she has a lot to speak for in her garments. I met Rei in Paris at a fitting with her. My mother [Pat] did a campaign for Comme des Garçons back in the ’70s. When I met her she looked at me with a spark in her eyes and told me I’m one of them [who would be chosen to work with her].”
The night before the Met, we met Céline Dion at the Harper’s Bazaar book-tour kick-off party at The Carlyle. This would be her first Met Gala, and she told us she would be wearing a design by Donatella Versace. As Donatella walked the red carpet last night sans-Céline and instead with Kylie Jenner, I asked her what it was like to dress her. “She’s going to be so fierce, you’ll see! You’ll hardly recognize her!” Indeed, Céline brought her new wave of style (thanks to the help of stylist Law Roach) to the carpet, and was loving it so much that she started singing to the press, “I want to meet everybody at The Met!” The paparazzi went wild.
As always, there are the stars who walk by without acknowledging the media. The usual suspects: Jake Gyllenhaal, the Olsen twins, Sarah Paulson, JLO, and more. Members of the Kardashian clan walked in separately—Kim, Kendall, and Kylie—but they didn’t generate the usual buzz that they typically get from the paparazzi. Kanye West, as was previously announced, was missing, as were Beyoncé and Sarah Jessica Parker (who was filming her HBO show Divorce). Once the carpet ended and everyone was inside, journalists got their annual red carpet picture along the steps before being shuffled out by security and heading on home to write—and eat!