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!)
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, 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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.