The Met Gala Looks That Did The Theme Proud

"China: Through The Looking Glass" is a compelling, timely, and worthy topic for a museum exhibit. But, we’ll be frank: We were hesitant about how it would translate to the Met Gala red carpet tonight. After all, Eastern cultures have been famously misappropriated in the past (and still in the present), so the risk of a major snafu seemed high. For the sake of not being sorry, tonight’s red carpet played it safe.

We’ll stress that safe doesn’t mean boring — far from it in most cases. Some guests, like Karolina Kurkova, kept to the evening's theme, while others — like J.Lo and Miley Cyrus, unsurprisingly — seemed to eschew it altogether for looks so flashy that they hardly fit into any theme at all. In true Met Gala fashion, the theatrics were high, but in many cases, the risks were low as far as traditional Chinese fashion goes. It's a move we respect (and prefer) over a tasteless green-army-jacket moment.

Click on for the most solid, standout looks from fashion's biggest red carpet of the year — ones we don't mind calling "safe."
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Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.
If there ever was a lady who liked an excuse to go all out with her ensemble, it’s the endlessly fearless Rihanna. But, her Met-staircase-swallowing look wasn’t heart-stopping just for the sake of it. The dress it covered was a creation from Chinese designer Guo Pei, and especially fitting for the celebration at hand.

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Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.
In custom Tommy Hilfiger and a shade of red that nearly blended into the carpet, Karolina Kurkova choose to forgo a statement train and instead, opted for sleeves. It’s a look that bodes well for the model with legs. for. days.

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Emily Blunt’s powder blue Prada dress is covered in itty-bitty rhinestone twigs that match her cornflower cape. The shape is vaguely reminiscent of a cheongsam, but with a modern, boxier silhouette.

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Photo: David Fisher/REX Shutterstock.
Sure, very little about Kristen Wiig’s ensemble suggests the Met Gala’s theme, but for the funny lady that always leans minimal, this Prabal Gurung look was a big leap. The color was joyful and that train — a mere snippet compared to Rihanna’s — was the perfect amount of drama.

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Cher can really do no wrong on the red carpet. It’s not because what she wears is always beautiful, but it is always Cher — provocative, statement-making, and unapologetically her. Tonight that meant a slim-fit, shiny-printed, Marc Jacobs number that looked dazzling on the 68 (!!) year old.

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Sadly, we don’t see enough women in sparkly pants on the Met Gala red carpet. But, Diane Kruger proved that the look has legs. Her Chanel ensemble was festive without heading into red-carpet-engulfing-silhouette extremes.

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Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.
There are two constants in life: Firstly, J. Lo will choose to wear Versace to a major red carpet event. And, secondly, she will continue to push the limits of simultaneously showing skin and remaining covered. Tonight, she didn’t disappoint on either count.

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Solange’s Giles Deacon dress was amazing on several different levels. But, was it practical for, say, eating, sitting, or walking through tight spaces? Definitely not. But, we can look past that.

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Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.
If there’s one thing Grace Coddington is good at, it’s comfort. In fact, you’ll pretty much always catch her in a two-piece (and not the bikini kind). This Michael Kors take on her usual silk suit not only fit the night’s theme, but also made us want to put on our jammies and watch The September Issue all over again.

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Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.
Gong Li, actress and the Gala’s co-chair, wore the always-luxe combination of velvet and lace. Furthermore, she helped prove that Peter Dundas’ tenure at Roberto Cavalli is off to a beautiful start.

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Looking like a rare bird of beauty, Keri Russell delivered major red-carpet theatrics in this dark and romantic Joseph Altuzarra design in a deep green hue.

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This sequin-fringed Thakoon suit is like a Spanish matador’s uniform, but the silk-tassel cummerbund and earrings are a nod to the evening’s theme.

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Teaming with Vera Wang, a designer of Chinese descent, Selena Gomez kept to a simple white and black color palette. The tassel detail on her shoulder straps and that gorgeous orchid headpiece made this minimal look something truly special.

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In a deep, vibrant ombré, Olivia Munn’s J. Mendel gown combines a few popular Chinese motifs — halter-neck, pleating, and a dramatic sleeve — into a red carpet stunner.

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There is no coven in the world more exclusive than The Olsen’s, and we’re digging their all-black, vintage John Galliano gowns. Ashley’s comes with feathers and lace, while Mary-Kate’s features a pearl-dotted brooch at the hip.

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Yes, that is a penis on FKA Twigs’ dress, let’s get that out of the way first. But, this Christopher Kane gown is one of the most surreal, bizarre creations we’ve ever seen on a red carpet, so we almost don’t care that it has absolutely nothing to do with the night’s theme.

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Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.
Sarah Jessica Parker loves a costume party. Need evidence? She wore a mohawk for the Met Gala’s punk theme and an autographed Oscar de la Renta ball gown for Charles James’ retrospective. Tonight, the actress paired an H&M dress with a custom Philip Treacy headpiece that was a thoughtful homage to the evening’s sensitive theme.

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Though there was plenty of talk about how Kim Kardashian recreated a vintage Beyoncé look for this year’s red carpet, Bey showed up in a look that was even more sheer, sparklier, and more jaw-dropping than her feathered ensemble three years ago. In a springy, bud-splashed Givenchy creation, Beyoncé looked like the love child of Queen Hippolyta and Queen Cher.

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Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.
If you’ve seen Fan Bing Bing on the red carpet before, you remember her. It’s hard not to when the Chinese actress makes such a statement in everything she does. Naturally, she pulled out the stops for the Met Gala in this intricate jewel tone cape by Chinese designer Christopher Bu that helped cement her reputation as red carpet royalty.

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Admittedly, Cara Delevingne’s Stella McCartney number looked so badass because of the perfect combination of body art and a cutout jumpsuit. It was a winning look all around.

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Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
We thought Poppy Delevingne looked stunning in this Marchesa dress that bore flowers — although quite controversial ones — on the neckline. It just so happens that the blooms share a name with the model herself.
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Typically, “rolled right out of bed,” isn’t the nicest thing to say about someone’s party look, but Jenna Lyons’ J.Crew pajama set, covered with a chain mail overlay, is absolutely magical. We’ve also been coveting that oil-spill-effect clutch since its debut at Fashion Week in February.

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This strapless, patchwork-style JW Anderson dress showcases a few different styles of intricate embroidery and traditional silk cord closures. This kind of design is exactly the sort of East-by-West interpretation the entire exhibit is about.

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While red was one of the most popular shades of the evening, Joan Smalls swooped in wearing a regal purple Roberto Cavalli number. With its choker neckline, the dress also brought a welcome nod to the ‘90s.

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While you’d be hard pressed to find Emily Ratajkowski’s dress in any old Topshop store, the ornate number was, in fact, a design from the high-street brand. The midi length and long sleeves were a demure choice, but also a lovely and welcome change from Ratajkowski’s usual fare.

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It’s no surprise Kendall Jenner wore Calvin Klein to the Met Gala — she is the face of the brand, after all — but what we didn’t see coming was the shape of this moss green look. The lace-up details and sideboob made for a daring silhouette on this year’s It model.

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Photo: David Fisher/REX Shutterstock.
As the reigning queen of not giving AF, Miley Cyrus did not stick with the Met Gala theme last night. Instead, she strolled in wearing a studded, high-neck, Alexander Wang dress. Frankly, that’s the way we like to see her.

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Olivia Wilde wore a jewel-dripping Prada look, complete with elbow-length gloves, a mini clutch, and a throwback turban headband from seasons ago. It goes to show that Prada never really goes out of style.

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This super-stiff, structured Fausto Puglisi skirt definitely wasn’t going to make sitting down for dinner easy, but Zendaya was definitely enjoying every minute she spent on the carpet. A studded belt and spiked headband pushed this look into lewk territory.

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