Costume Institute Gala 2012 – Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations

As usual, I was so looking forward to the Costume Institute Gala but when I saw pictures from the red carpet, all my enthusiasm went out. Is it only me or this event is becoming more and more boring and the outfits sported by celebrities predictable? Even when someone wants to play the bold card, most of the time the results are far from being interesting or relevant. To tell the truth, I wasn’t even sure to write a post about it, but I love traditions, so here we go.

Before starting, just a consideration: when it comes to events like this, I think elegance is important, but I often appreciate even those who dare to be different – and by “different” I don’t mean ridiculous or half-naked. I’m sure you won’t approve of my list, so I cannot wait to read your comments about my choices.

Ladies in Black

I think nobody can deny the fact that supermodel Gisele Bundchen was the best dressed of the evening. I’ve often disapproved of her outfits on this red carpet, but this time she was simply flawless. She wore Coronas, a black Givenchy Haute Couture dress from the fall 2010 collection. She completed this piece of sartorial art with black clutch and sandals by Givenchy and David Yurman jewellery. A slick updo and nude make-up perfectly complemented her look.

Ok, I must admit this comes totally predictable – Rooney Mara wearing ANOTHER black dress, but she looked adorable and elegant – leaving her out of my list would be a shame. She wore a custom-made Givenchy Haute Couture one-shoulder lace dress with leather accents, which she paired to Givenchy sandals and a slicked-back hairdo. Carrying a clutch on the red carpet has never been her thing, so she didn’t complement the look with any accessories.

I’m a die-hard fan of Dr. Lisa Airan, one of my favourite Upper East Side princesses: she often wears Rodarte dresses at important social events, but this time she opted for a vampy outfit, which included an amazing long-sleeved lace dress with intricate embroidery on the bodice and a crystal-accented belt. She completed the look with a black clutch, diamond earrings, a refined chignon and lovely white gardenias.

Ladies in Yellow & Gold

Miuccia Prada, one of the honorees of the evening, made a quick appearance on the red carpet but didn’t stop to pose for photographers. If you know Italian, please read this recent interview with Beppe Severgnini, a Corriere della Sera journalist. I don’t agree with some of her statements, but I’ve appreciated her matter-of-factness when speaking about the condition of women in our country and her considerations about the exhibition. “It’s a honour, but then one thinks: ‘What? Is my career over?'”, she explained. For the occasion, she wore a self-designed yellow brocade pajamas-style outfit, which included a short-sleeved blouse and trousers. Her accessories included gold drop earrings and embroidered platform sandals. I love this outfit, because it shows confidence and originality.

January Jones walked the red carpet wearing a beautiful yellow corseted dress with gold accents, which is actually the dress version of a bustier from Atelier Versace spring 2012 collection. I’ve never been a fan of blondes who wear yellow or white, but she looked stunning, also thanks to the impressive Cartier diamond and turquoise necklace she wore. I like her sleek side-parted hairstyle, but her make-up looks a bit bland here.

Ladies in Royal Blue

Bee Shaffer, Anna Wintour’s daughter, is often included in best-dressed lists because she’s so graceful. She had attended the Costume Institute Gala wearing Rochas or Olivier Theyskens dresses for many years, but this time she opted for a royal blue satin dress from Erdem fall 2012 collection, embellished by royal blue, black and white lace inserts. Her accessories included only a stunning pair of diamond pendant earrings.

Here we are, the first WTH moment of my list. I decided to include Kristen Stewart because she was one of the few who wore an above-the-knee dress and one of the very few whose choice was totally unexpected and fashion-forward. In addition to that, I simply love her attitude: she’s never played the sex kitten card on the red carpet and one must give her credit for not showing off like most celebrities do. She wore a leather dress from Balenciaga fall 2012 collection, featuring an interesting colour/pattern combination – patterned strapless bodice and red/white/royal blue skirt. Balenciaga lace-up shoes and loose wavy hair completed the look.

Ladies in Powdery & Antique Colours

Lily Collins was adorable in a romantic chiffon, tulle and lace dress from Valentino Couture spring 2012 collection. This collection is just amazing – the perfect combination of style vibes coming from The Virgin Suicides by Sofia Coppola and Picnic at Hanging Rock by Peter Weir – so I was positively impressed when I saw she picked a dress from it. She complemented the look with a Valentino Shine Vison clutch and H. Stern jewellery.

Amber Heard wore an antique rose satin ballgown by Zac Posen from the fall 2012 collection. It reminds me of the bustier dress Glenn Close wore at the 84th Academy Awards, but the shape of the dress is so typical of Posen’s collections. The antique colour beautifully enhanced Amber’s blonde hair and looked stunning on the red carpet. The actress also wore Tiffany & Co. jewellery, including a massive pair of diamond drop earrings.

The Outsider in Prints

Last but not least, here is the second WTH moment. I bet you anything that M.I.A. won’t be found in many best-dressed lists, but who cares? I think she looked elegant and beautiful in a Stella McCartney blazer and matching mini-skirt from the resort 2012 collection. The Hawaiian print can also be found on her clutch; other accessories included Stella McCartney platform pumps and off-white nails (wow). Her wavy hairstyle is quite a surprise (I can definitely spot hair extensions here), but she totally pulled it off. At first, her pink lipstick left me baffled, but I think it suits her. This is an example of what being a risk-taker means for me: she didn’t wear a ridiculous costume-y dress, but opted for a tailored look with a twist instead, which I love ♥

Now it’s your turn! I included a poll, so you can vote for your favourite celebrity among those in my list, but your lists are more than welcome, too!

According to your votes, Rooney Mara was the queen of the night (she got 25% of the votes), followed by Lily Collins (16.67% of the votes), Gisele Bundchen and M.I.A. (both of them got 11.11% of the votes).



  1. My favourite is Lily Collins, that Valentino gown is so lovely! The worse dressed of your selection, in my opinion, is January Jones.

      1. Too much yellow in my opinion (as you said, I don’t like blondes who wear yellow)

  2. My favourite is Gisele, the second favourite Rooney Mara.
    Worst of your choices and of all: Kristen Stewart. I like above-the-knee dresses, but not this one, not the shoes, and, definitely, not the hair.

  3. I agree that most of the outfits were terribly boring – almost depressing! – with some major WTF (Scarlett Johansson, Christina Ricci, Jessica Chastain…). I loved Carey Mulligan, Marion Cotillard (but not the bland makeup choice) and Rooney Mara.
    Thanks for the report!

    1. Scarlett Johansson is a major letdown: all the things she wears look so bland and lifeless on her, I don’t know why. The Thakoon dress worn by Christina Ricci is just crazy and no, not that “good” crazy 😦 Jessica Chastain is another letdown: she’s stunningly beautiful but that dress did nothing to her.

      Oh, I liked the Prada dress seen on Carey Mulligan, but a bit too from-outer-space style for my liking. I loved Marion’s hairstyle but not her dress.

  4. Essere adeguati ad una serata come questa non é facile,essere eleganti non basta,tenere in considerazione il tema della mostra é sicuramente preferibile.
    La mia premessa non vuole peró essere un alibi per molti terribili outfit visti al met gala 2012,ultimamente lo stupire a qualsiasi costo prevale,io lo definisco “effetto Anna dello Russo”…detto questo della tua giusta selezione voto AH in Zac Posen,nella mia personale classifica invece metto D Kruger,entrambe a mio avviso adeguate alla serata e probabilmente gradite anche alla Sig Elsa.

    1. Concordo quando dici che lo stupire ad ogni costo prevale su tutto, anche sul semplice buongusto, come dimostra il tristissimo fianco ossuto di Anja Rubik ( o l’inopportuna mise di Giovanna Battaglia, in questa occasione degna alunna di Anna Dello Russo (

      L’abito indossato da Diane mi ha lasciata perplessa, così informe al punto-vita, un dettaglio che ha fatto perdere alla mise un bel po’ di glamour, a mio parere.

  5. Per me il podio va a Lily Collins (l’ho votata), secondo posto Bee Shaffer e poi il terzo posto a Marion Cotillard.

  6. Per quanto riguarda orrori inguardabili concordo,e vorrei aggiungere MJacobs…,per favore qualcuno gli faccia sapere che siamo stufi di vederlo nudo.

  7. gisele is always so beautiful.
    Loved M.i.a.’s choice and her shoes are amazing.
    About Kirsten Stewart..i think the dress didn’t fit her so good, plus i don’t like the top part.
    Loved also miuccia’s outfit.
    Thanks. Veronica

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