2014 Met Gala Fashion: Beyond Charles James, The Heritage!

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When you say Charles James dresses, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? I was little familiar with the grand designer’s work up until Anna Wintour announced the theme of the 2014 Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala theme ‘ Charles James: Beyond Fashion’. As the D-day approached, I was looking more and more into the couturier’s archives, trying to get as much of his fashion as possible.

So the first thing I imagine when I think of a Charles James dress, is a glamorous ballgown with a dramatic sculptured, ample skirt, very pretentious occasions and Haute ladies (do tell me your sartorial vision of Charles James style in the comments, I can’t wait to read them all!)

Met Gala 2014 most beautiful dreses

Zac Posen 2014 Met Gala Karen Elson Dita von Teese

Who embodied best Charles James’ sublime couture spirit in my opinion? First and foremost, the Zac Posen girls! Zac Posen is definitely the true heir of Mr. James’ sartorial throne! And not necessarily because he has the same fashion vision but because he seems to honestly believe that more a woman’s outfit revolves around her hips, and her hourglass silhouette, more she’s fashionable and irresistible.

Dita von Teese 2014 Met Gala Zac Posen

See also: Most beautiful and fashionable couples on the 2014 Met Gala Red Carpet!

Dita von Teese, Karen Elson, Liu Wen and Lena Hall in Zac Posen at the 2014 Met Gala The absolute vision of a long forgotten art of glamour and fashion, Dita von Teese seems to be made for her Zac Posen dress and the other way around!

Dita von Teese 2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Zac Posen dress

Karen Elson’s gown seems to be like a second skin to her. A fabulous, very voluminous gown that doesn’t dominate the model / singer! She owns the Zac Posen dress, and she’s doing it with such natural ease and elegance, she’s truly a pleasure to watch!

2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Karen Elson Zac Posen dress

Liu Wen’s fabulous emerald dress, although very much in the spirit of Charles James couture, does little impression on the audience. Perhaps because although a stunning beauty, Liu is little known to the world outside the fashion circles. However, what she lacks in celebrity makes up for in color – that green is definitely the most beautiful color I’ve seen in a dress all night!

2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Liu Wen Zac Posen emerald dress

Lena Hall wearing yet another skin-toned gown designed by Zac Posen conformed with the night’s theme but looked twice her young age and, I’m afraid, she let herself carried away by the frock, despite the immense talent she constantly manifests on the theater stage.

2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Lena Hall Zac Posen dress

Karolina Kurkova in that fabulous Marchesa dress looked like the Queen of the 2014 Met Gala Fashion Garden. Granted, she needed assistance to get out of the car, but once liberated from the confines of her transportation, she grew wildly fierce on the Red Carpet, much to the admiration of everyone, fashion amateur or not.

2014 Met Gala Red carpet Karolina Kurkova Marchesa dress

2014 Met Gala Karolina Kurkova fabulous Marchesa dress

Hailee Seifeld was wearing a Prabal Gurung black and white dress, a very touching homage to the sartorial talent showcased by Charles James during his entire fashion career. The unexpectedly sporty back added a much needed twist to the gown. Hailee was the expression of True Fashion Grit walking the 2014 Red Carpet accompanied by the designer himself.

Hailee Seinfeld Prabal Gurung 2014 Met Gala Red Carpet

2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Hailee Seinfeld Prabal Gurung dress

Hailee Seinfeld 2014 Met Gala

Zoe Saldana wears a black and white gown from Michael Kors, very much into the spirit of the 2014 Met Gala exhibition, all draped up like a double balloon. At least she didn’t have to worry about someone stepping on her gown like many others did!

2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Zoe Saldana Michael Kors

Zoe Saldana black white dress Michael Kors 2014 Met Gala

Solange Knowles was the short exception to the ballgown rule. Both she and the wonderful Lupita N’Yongo opted for shorter, more unusual dresses and wore them with unparalleled grace on the 2014 Met Gala Red Carpet. While Solange wore a peachy number from 3.1 Philip Lim, her stylist missed a note on the star’s normally natural hair, much to everyone’s sadness.

2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Solange Knowles peachy dress Philip Lim

Lupita N’Yongo was wearing Prada at the 2014 Met Gala: a wonderfully refreshing number designed by Miuccia especially for this occasion, something Lupita refused wearing at first but was instantly charmed when actually saw the item. Although everyone went crazy with references about Josephine Baker, the somewhat flapper green dress, was inspired by Charles James’ famous ‘Taxi Dress’. A creation concocted by the designer to help women get all glammed up in the backseat of a taxi cab. Whilst the original looks nothing like Lupita’s fabulous emerald web, there’s still the enchantment of inspiration as translated by Miuccia Prada.

2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Lupita Nyongo green dress Prada

See also: Lupita’s Prada Ad Campaign!

Giovanna Bataglia was definitely one of the most beautiful guests attending the 2014 Met Gala with her Dolce & Gabbana flowery dress. Outstandingly beautiful and very Charles James, the gown’s fabulous air was only surpassed by Giovanna’s hairdo: an inspirational work of hair art with roses buds embedded in the added tresses and butterfly earrings. Absolutely breathtaking, my favorite hairdo at this year’s Met Ball!

2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Giovanna Battaglia Dolce Gabbana dress hair roses

Bee Shaffer makes my best-dressed list although her mother, Anna Wintour, was, as always, wearing Chanel. Much like Charles James himself, who wouldn’t listen to the trends or the seasonal rigueurs of fashion, Anna remains faithful to Lagerfeld’s creations, regardless of the sartorial indications of any of her Met Gala editions. Bee, however, her beautiful daughter, seems less bound by her mother’s unique and consistent style, so she went for an Alexander McQueen dress this year. Lovely pale blue with a wildly white tulle underskirt popping rebelliously from underneath.

2014 Met Gala Red Carpet Bee Shaffer McQueen dress


#1 Adriana V on 05.07.14 at 5:13 pm

“When you say Charles James dresses, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?” – Why, oh why trying to revive the aesthetic of Charles James Mr Weinstein? Although I get it….. money talks all the time of the Mogul. Plus I believe the pretentious fashion hot shots are feeling melancholy when it comes to the old days of fashion, the old way Haute Couture could manifest itself. Let’s face a lot of us fashion lovers feel the same but times has changed. Today’s Haute Couture buyers are a different breed
I so wish people were able to forgive one man, a man that made a mistake…..his name is so familiar and it’s none other than John Galliano, the last of the “fashion Mohicans” of this way of creating great dresses. In my humble opinion he’s the one who has that talent. Although Harvey Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman is not that bad but miles away from the work of Charles James.
Really, if I was filthy rich I would install John Galliano to give it a try. I would demand though he let go of the outrageous designs and focus on his early design aesthetic that blew my mind when he appeared on the scene. But who am I other than an ordinary woman who’s in still in love with great fashion the old way.

OK, let’s get into your choices then. Karolina Kurova’s Marchesa gown is an absolute winner. Here gown has that old great master crafts aesthetic feel it’s truly wonderful.
The Zac Posen gowns come close. I love Dita von Teese’s gown and you put it yet so well same goes for a Karen Elson. As you I am also impressed by Liu Wen’s gown. All three so close to Charles James spirit.
Zoe Saldana deserves better than this Michael Kors balloon. She has that special ability to show off that old grandeur. I wish she had a great stylist who give her that chance.
I am not that impressed with the other gowns and my biggest disappoint was my first “WT* what was your stylist thinking you lovely Lupita?” moment. This looks more like an outfit for fancy night clubbing in the ’80s or something. The outfit is kinda fun and Lupita looks still great in a bin liner but I don’t think this is suitable for the occasion.

#2 Ellington on 05.15.14 at 7:04 pm

I loved Haiiee Siefled’s gown it was so pretty on her and did not age her.
I also like the unusualness of Lupita’s gown the green was fun and the flapper theme made her stand out, but then she does not need a statement dress for that. : ) But I think that Adriana V is right about this not the right dress for this themed evening.
Zoe Saldana is always so fashion smart and stylish but I found her Michael Korrs gown to be rather lacking.
I love the peachy colour of Solange’s dress. she always dresses for herself and I like that.
Dita looks amazing, her dress I find it to be Barbie doll perfect.

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