Dominant fashion trends in evidence to this point included braids on the head—like those stacked on the noggin of Tyra Banks, resembling nothing so much as a shiny bird’s nest—and jumpsuits, like the ones encasing Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon (Halston), model and Andy Roddick better-half Brooklyn Decker (Derek Lam) and Stella McCartney (her own).
British Rag & Bone designer Marcus Wainwright was squiring actress Lake Bell, wearing a tight black Rag & Bone pantsuit and side-leaning top hat, up the carpet. “It was her idea to wear a suit,” he said. “This is traditionally a very dress-oriented thing, and she was like, ‘Yeah, I want to wear a suit!’
“It’s quite an overwhelming evening; there’s a lot of people you read about a lot,” he continued. “I met Karl Lagerfeld last year, which was pretty fun. I said, ‘That’s a nice jacket,’ and he just goes”—Mr. Wainwright lowered his voice to a throaty whisper—“‘Chanel Homme.’ And that’s it. That was the end of our conversation.”
Tonight he would sit with countryman and Topshop chief Sir Philip Green, whom he’d never met, but who had presumably purchased a table at this very New York party to honor his new New York store. “It should be fun!” Mr. Wainwright said, almost giddy.
Suddenly, newlywed Gisele Bundchen appeared, toting Tom Brady and wearing Versace again. And even less of it than last year! A few blue sequins covered her torso, stopping short of her legs.
Donatella Versace appeared soon after to take responsibility for this. “Once you dress Gisele, what is left?” she said in her thick Italian accent.
An Olsen twin had taken the alternative route, appearing in what looked to be a white sheet, the kind children wear on Halloween (it was from the twins’ label, the Row).
Actress Emmy Rossum tried to put in perspective what the famous people might be feeling at this chaotic moment: “A, why does it always rain, and B, don’t trip! If you trip, you just roll down, and down, and down …” She gestured at the long distance from whence she’d come from her Town Car.
Then it was actress Diane Kruger (arriving with boyfriend Pacey, er, Joshua Jackson), in a white, wedding-cake-looking Chanel—“It was a one-time wonder, it fit perfectly without having to do anything to it! But I did my own makeup, so it took me a little longer to get ready than usual, maybe an hour and a half,” she said.
Socialite Fabiola Beracasa was also in Chanel Couture, but longer and more ornate; she’d flown to Paris to pick it out. “It’s ridiculous,” she’d told The Observer before the event. “I’m so happy with my dress, and I think it’s beautiful, and it’s so fun just to go. I could be sitting in the bathroom and it’s cool. Actually, the bathroom is where it all happens, to be honest! The bathroom is where everybody goes to smoke, and you run into, like—I have run into everybody from J. Lo to Jessica Simpson in that bathroom. I remember really distinctly Jessica Simpson in that Roberto Cavalli dress that was beaded and down to there, and up close it was a lot to take in. …”
Late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon, meanwhile, was gamely working the carpet nearby with wife Nancy Juvonen. “This is like a normal night out for us, this is not a big deal!” he shrieked. “This is like, I mean, to us this is not a big deal. We always have a red carpet, we always wear tuxedos and designer dresses …”
“It’s actually really fun,” piped in Nancy, more seriously.
“It’s a really good party inside,” agreed Mr. Fallon. “There’s always a surprise musical thing, a Broadway show or something fun. … Anytime I can legally drink in a museum, I always agree to the invitation!”
Almost two hours after Mr. Jacobs and Ms. Moss had arrived, a shout rose from the paparazzi. It grew to hysteria. Vamping on the almost-deserted steps below were Madonna and Jesus (Luz, her boyfriend). The Material Girl wore Louis Vuitton, short and puffy, with leather boots encasing her thighs and two antennalike blue feathers sprouting from her head. Jesus appeared to be the shy type: She yanked him toward the photographers and wrapped her arms around him seductively, while he offered a tentative wave.
The duo encountered the Seinfelds, still making their way up the carpet. Madge dragged Jessica over to the photographers; Jerry stood in the middle of the carpet in glasses, hands folded awkwardly, looking bewildered, not appearing to exchange words with Jesus.
And then the famous carpet went quiet.
Inside, guests were treated to a surprise performance by Kanye West and Rihanna, who wore a Dolce & Gabbana pantsuit.
(The bathrooms, as predicted, were stuffed throughout dinner by nicotine-addled partygoers: One guest reported seeing Josh Hartnett and John Galliano in the ladies’ room puffing away with a clutch of models—“because nobody eats!”)
Most attendees then retired to Mr. Jacobs’ aforementioned party at the Monkey Bar, and then to late-night fetes hosted by Ms. Missoni (1Oak) or the Rodarte designers (SubMercer), or to Bungalow 8.
One spy reported that earlier, leaving the Met, she’d witnessed an “icy” encounter between two of the evening’s more recognizable models: Ms. Bundchen and Bar Refaeli, the Sports Illustrated cover girl and current flame of Ms. Bundchen’s ex, Leonardo DiCaprio. “They both looked away when they walked right next to each other. Then, “literally, I swear, Bar checked her out a thousand times up and down.”