“I think movie parties are more fun,” said Chloë Sevigny, in a sweeping, strapless Kelly green gown by Balenciaga, at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute gala on Monday, May 7. “I don’t know—I think here it’s very like a popularity contest. In the movies, everyone’s just kind of like—we’re all just glad to be working.”
The stars were hiking up the red-carpeted steps of the Met. There was Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, everyone. And hardly anyone was stopping to talk to The Transom. But wait—here was Christina Ricci, who said that getting ready for the evening had taken roughly two and a half hours, plus a lot of Red Bull. “I loved my dress” (a white velvet Calvin Klein), she said, “and I was so excited to wear it and show it to people, but at the same time it’s very nerve-wracking, because you’re like, ‘Ahhhhh! What if I say the wrong thing?’”
At least Ms. Ricci pronounced Poiret, the evening’s celebrated designer, correctly—unlike some plebes we could mention. “That’s somebody who really changed the world,” she said. “He really altered the way women dress, because he took away the corset—he gave us the bra! I mean, that’s one of the biggest inventions of the 20th century!” (The ample-bosomed starlet then confessed: “As soon as I found out about this, I went online and did a little research.”)
French designer Gilles Mendel, best known for his furs, made the inevitable comparison to the Oscars—where, he said, “I feel very much that I’m sort of like a foreigner. I’m like a guest. And when I come to this party tonight, it’s really like I am a member and the celebrities are our guests. It’s like a camaraderie. I feel very comfortable, even though it’s the most prestigious one.”
Indeed, many of the celebrities on the red carpet didn’t appear completely at ease.
“I have no idea,” said Parker Posey, asked to explain the importance of the Costume Gala. “I’ve never been here before.”
Whether it was that the actors felt it impertinent to suck up too much attention at a fashion-world event (unlikely), or that they just couldn’t wait to get inside and enjoy the so-called “Party of the Year,” most rushed past the hundreds of waiting reporters with nary a nod.
Kirsten Dunst, fresh off Spider-Man 3’s boffo box-office weekend, ran up the steps so fast that the train of her purple Yves Saint Laurent gown was positively bouncing.
“Kirsten! Kirsten!” they all screamed in vain. “I’ve never done anything so humiliating as this,” said one.
At around 8:15, The Transom decided to attempt a stroll through the museum doors, which were heavily guarded by Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s watchdogs. About 10 paces in, there came a tap on the shoulder, then a stern hand pressing against the back. It stayed there on the long, long walk down those blood-red steps to the street.
Spies inside later reported being greeted by a cage containing three peacocks. Breathe easy, PETA people: The cage was enormous.