The Met Gala has always proven to be an artistically, stylish event. Monday, May 5, 2014, the Metropolitan Museum of Art launched the exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, in correlation with the grand opening of the newly renovated Costume Institute. However, the exhibit pieces were not the only ones on display for the evening.
As usual the evening was star-studded, some of the most elite in the fashion, film, television, music, and sports world could be seen walking the red carpet in some of today’s top fashions. The theme of the evening was white tie and diamonds, yet the party began a bit more modest earlier that day.
The day began with the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially kick off the opening of The Costume Institute’s new Anna Wintour Costume Center. The First Lady, Michelle Obama was on hand to speak and cut the ribbon to the new center. Looking absolutely gorgeous as always, the First Lady graced the stage in a green floral dress by Naeem Khan. Three-quarter sleeve, silk organza marks the 15th time, she has worn this label.
Power couple and regular attendees of the event, Beyoncé and Jay Z took to the Met Gala red carpet in Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci. David and Victoria Beckham posed for cameras hand-in-hand on the red carpet. Victoria wore her own label, Victoria, while David wore a white Ralph Lauren Black Label Jacket and smart black trousers. Tom Brady and Gisele elegantly collaborated in matching outfits. Gisele wore a custom Balenciaga; “Marble” lace gown in black silk and velvet guipure and Tom wore Tom Ford.
Many others were also stunningly appropriate as always graced the red carpet of the Met Gala event including host, Ann Wintour, Vogue Editor and co-chair of the yearly benefit, wore a Chanel Couture dress. Jessica Alba showed up in a lace dress, by Diane Von Furstenberg, whereas, Sarah Jessica Parker and Taylor Swift was stunned in Oscar de la Renta gowns. While Blake Lively was lovely on husbands, Ryan Reynolds arm wearing Gucci and Rihanna wore a gorgeous custom-made top and skirt by Stella McCartney.
The night was definitely a night of beautiful people with a list that goes on and on. But the evening was to honor one of fashion’s greats, the late Charles James and the exhibit of some of his work.
The late designer, who was not a household name, was still a legend in his own right during the 20th century. Born in 1906 in the town Camberley, England, he attended Harrow Boys’ School in 1919 for only three years. He was eventually expelled from school, but not before getting to know the photographer, Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton, who would later illustrate and photograph James’s work for Vogue. The two would establish a lifelong friendship with each other.
In 1924, he was shipped to Chicago where he worked in the architectural design department of a utilities company where he started sketching and selling patterned scarves from his desk. Afterwards in 1930, he began selling his designs to manufacturers and department stores in London, New York, and Paris. From that point, his success continued to grow and his work would eventually grace stores such as Harrods, Lord & Taylor, and Bergdorf Goodman. He designed for French ribbon maker Colcombet and designed custom creations for Elizabeth Arden as well.
By time he passed away in 1978, he had graced the cover of Vogue three times. He numerous designs continue to be displayed and talked about even today.
With the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit: Charles James: Beyond Fashion, they are bringing yet another iconic piece of history to the world’s audience so everyone will have a chance to admire and learn from the fashion and its creator. Since 1971, the Met Gala has always been the premiere event and the 2014 event proved to be no different. The exhibit will be on display for the public from May 8, 2014 through August 10, 2014.
By Virgini Snowden