Wednesday, 18 May 2011


On Monday 2nd May fashion’s finest came out to celebrate the annual Costume Institute Gala. This year celebrated the late Lee McQueen’s extraordinary contribution to fashion with the opening of the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. The retrospective celebrates the designer’s career from the controversial days of his Highland Rape collection to his final incomplete show and ensured the attendance of a number of McQueen’s great supporters.

The Costume Institute Gala is possibly the fashion equivalent of the Oscars, whereby celebrities and models wear beautiful couture gowns. As a fitting tribute to the late designer a number of show stopping dresses were worn on the night. Despite a significant lack of attendees clad in McQueen (disappointing considering the designer’s incredible archive), there were still a number of stunning looks on red carpet. Here are a few of the highlights:

Sarah Jessica Parker in archive Alexander McQueen

As one of McQueen’s most ardent supporters it was no surprise to see the actress dressed in a figure hugging, grey, embellished dress from the Fall 2005 collection. By teaming the stunning dress with a simple up-do and refined make up, SJP created one of the most elegant looks of the night.

Michelle Williams in Miu Miu

The flawless Michelle Williams was wearing one of the more unusual choices of the night; a black, open back dress from Miu Miu embossed with gold swallows that nipped in at the waist. Paired with her adorable pixie crop, bronzed glow and smoky eyes, this was a sexier alternative to her signature ladylike look.

Karen Elson in archive Alexander McQueen

Wearing the dress she wore for the finale of the ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’ presentation for Spring/Summer 2004 (the model was overheard telling a journalist that the dress is ‘falling apart’ from overwear), the red haired beauty paid the perfect tribute to the late Lee McQueen in this metallic design.

Diane Kruger in Jason Wu

The combination of a nude embellished top and black skirt with an elegant slit made this two part dress one of the highlights of Jason Wu’s Fall 2011 collection. This stunning outfit together with Diane Kruger’s amazing legs, curled blonde hair and scarlet lips made this look absolutely flawless. (Having the beautiful Joshua Jackson as a date also never hurts).

Florence Welch in Yves Saint Laurent

Looking every inch the Pre Raphaelite beauty, Florence Welch was resplendent in a full-length, draped, white gown with muslin sleeves designed by Stefano Pilati. Looking like a seventies, rock goddess, the look was topped off with a feather coat in white organza and silver and gold wedges.

Honorable Mentions:

Raquel Zimmermann in Alexander McQueen

Lara Stone in Calvin Klein Collection

Jessica Stam in Tommy Hilfiger Collection

Hamish Bowles in Alexander McQueen

Gisele Bundchen in Alexander McQueen

Lily Donaldson in Erdem.

For those not lucky enough to visit New York before July 31st, the Matches boutiques’ and Harvey Nichols’ windows have been merchandised in tribute to the late designer. It’s a small contribution from London but an important one. All hail Mcqueen.

Harriet Tisdall

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