Punk’d

“I don’t think I fully understood the theme,” a DVF-clad Kate Upton said at last night’s
Met gala. “I’m really excited to see the people who went all-out, though.” The theme in question, of course, was punk, in honor of this year’s exhibition, Punk:
Chaos to Couture
. And if it wasn’t exactly anarchy on the red carpet, there were plenty of A-listers who approached the project with great enthusiasm.

Madonna—fashionably late, as always—went pants-less, wearing fishnet stockings, layers of chains and crucifixes, and a Givenchy jacket. “Punk is about not caring what anybody thinks,” she told the crowd before striking a pose. Beyoncé‘s custom-made
flame-print Givenchy dress, replete with a patent bodice and a positively epic train, had a noticeable punk tinge, and Sarah Jessica Parker, too, took the dress code seriously, topping her Giles Deacon gown with a Philip Treacy mohawk.

But as Met ball chair Riccardo Tisci put it, punk “is not so much about the look, it’s
about the personality.” This, he explained, is why he dressed co-chair Rooney Mara in a white lace gown (albeit a white lace gown embellished with a buckled leather strap and zippers). “I wanted to respect Rooney,” he said. “She’s a very romantic girl, and
the sexuality of the dress, and the romanticism of the lace, represents her.”

Earlier in the day, at the exhibition’s press preview, Costume Institute curator Andrew
Bolton offered his own pronouncement: “Punk means different things to different people.” Carey Mulligan, Giovanna Battaglia, and Karolina Kurkova embraced only safety pins. Others, like Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, and Donatella Versace (who, having crafted
a spiked gown for the affair, declared “my soul is punk!”), oozed rebellion from top to toe. So did Debbie Harry—although she argued otherwise. “I’m not really a punk, you know. I’m just a schmuck,” quipped the rock star, who donned a black skull headpiece
with her studded Tommy Hilfiger look. “You have to work really hard to be a punk in 2013,” she added.

It comes easy to Kristen McMenamy. Flustered that her date, Alexander Wang, was running
late, the Balenciaga-clad model proffered a red-carpet critique. “This is the antithesis of punk,” she laughed. “Punk is not putting it on. Punk is angry. Punk is not pretending. Punk is real. This is like a costume party for punk,” she said before spitting
on the steps. Greta Gerwig, cloaked in Saint Laurent, was dubious, too. “Punk is doing your own thing, sticking the finger to the man,” she said. “I feel that we’re not doing a good job of it tonight. But the night is young!”

One complaint overheard on the carpet was that the gala’s glitz and glamour weren’t in
line with punk’s original values. And then there was the fact that many of the evening’s glitterati, Allison Williams, Dakota and Elle Fanning, the Olsen twins, and Anne Hathaway included, were born long after punk, in its purest form, had fizzled—although
the Fanning sisters did look the part in Fall 2013 Rodarte. The rumored—and since confirmed—performance by Kanye West (who arrived with a rose-print Givenchy-clad Kim Kardashian by his side) raised an eyebrow or two, too. Was it OK to have a rapper
take the stage at a punk party? “Kanye knows what’s up. He’s the new punk. He knows what to do,” said Jimmy Fallon, who arrived with stitches on his nose. (He joked that his bandage was Saint Laurent.) The real vote of confidence, however, came from Ms. Harry
herself. (Blondie also performed.) “Kanye’s one of the biggest punks in the world. Didn’t he jump up onstage at some awards thing? That’s pretty punk. I hope he jumps up on me.”

—Katharine K. Zarrella

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High Art

Beverly Hills is synonymous with world-class shopping, movie stars, and palm trees galore. This we know. But with this fall’s opening of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the city is hoping to become a cultural destination, too. On Friday night, Annenberg teamed with Jamie Tisch and James Ferragamo to celebrate the center’s upcoming inaugural gala with a cocktail reception at the Gagosian Gallery. Salvatore Ferragamo will sponsor the October 17 festivities, with actors Brad Pitt and Robert Redford serving as celebrity cochairs. Fresh in from Florence, via New York City, Ferragamo’s grandson, and the company’s leather-product director, James spoke about the label’s commitment to the arts, before waxing nostalgic about the West Coast. “I love it here,” Ferragamo told Style.com. “One of my first working experiences was selling shoes in our Beverly Hills store during the holidays, when I was at NYU.”

Seemingly unfazed by the unseasonably warm weather were seven models clad in creative director Massimiliano Giornetti’s Fall line of wool, patent leather, and shearling coats. “If I were a woman and I were cold, I’d be wearing all of these clothes right now. But I’m schvitzing, so pray for snow,” joked Decades’ Cameron Silver, himself sporting a more airy gray-and-yellow suit from the Spring men’s collection. Nearby, other guests marveled at an architectural model of the 2.5-acre center, which will house the five-hundred-seat Goldsmith Theater and a café inside the former Beverly Hills post office. For Tisch, who has been involved in the years-long planning of the complex, its imminent opening merits much fanfare. “It’s going to be amazing,” she said. “With the Annenberg Center, you have the possibility of everything from ballet to theater to modern dance, and it will be especially thrilling to have all this just down the street.”

—Azadeh Ensha

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"The Flat Life Is Not for Us"

With the Met Gala approaching, it was a busier Saturday night than usual on the fashion circuit. Few outfits have more riding on the big evening than haute online retailer, and Met Gala sponsor, Moda Operandi—no big leap, then, for cofounder Lauren Santo Domingo and her team to put together a dinner at the St. Regis in celebration of Moda’s new range of punk-inspired offerings.

Among those goodies are capsule collections by Vivienne Westwood, Givenchy, and Balmain, and Santo Domingo had the likes of Karolina Kurkova and her own glam staffers (including Indre Rockefeller and Taylor Tomasi Hill on hand to model them. Kate Bosworth was sporting some of the Balmain, despite the fact that one arm of her leather jacket had split open—”Exploded,” as she put it—that afternoon during a test-run at her hotel. Luckily, the house was able to send over an emergency leather maestro just in time. “My plan B was to just take the arms off,” Bosworth said.

Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, seated across the table, had just been with Bosworth in L.A., getting the actress fitted for the Met. (Meanwhile, Prabal Gurung revealed his date for tonight will be Elettra Wiedemann.) True to the site’s quick-turnaround paradigm, Santo Domingo explained that Moda had been developing the punk collection since the theme of the Met show was announced in February. “At the end of the day, I think the fashion industry is quite fast,” she said. “Especially the creative process, and especially something like punk, that really resonates.”

Dolce & Gabbana was singing a different tune at its new Fifth Avenue store a block away, where performers from the Metropolitan Opera helped the Italian design duo raise the curtain on their new flagship. As a few purchases were rung up, the boutique’s 11,000 square feet swelled with the sound of Verdi and Bellini arias.

“We are this drama, the Italian people—we love or hate. The flat life is not for an Italian, and the gray is not D&G,” Dolce said, adding an urgent note in support of the traditional arts. “I would love the niece of the niece of my niece to go to the Scala. Without culture, you don’t grow. The iPhone, short messages, Internet—it’s not enough. You need technology and tradition.”

In her dual roles as the founder and executive chairman of Net-a-Porter and the chairman of the British Fashion Council, Natalie Massenet operates at the intersection of technology and tradition. No wonder that Omar’s La Ranita, the not-yet-opened restaurant and private club in the former home of Le Griffou on Ninth Street, was packed wall to wall with designers—Christopher Kane, Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, Erdem Moralioglu, and Giambattista Valli included. Asked if she’d be honoring Chaos to Couture‘s unofficial punk dress code tonight, Massenet replied no. “I’m just going as myself,” she said. “That’s pretty punk.”

—Darrell Hartman

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The Karl Crew

It’s no secret that where Karl Lagerfeld goes, fashion follows. At last night’s dinner celebrating the launch of his plastic shoe capsule for the Brazilian brand Melissa, the in-crowd was out in force. Carine Roitfeld, Olivier Zahm, André Leon Talley, Lady Amanda Harlech, and Arianna Huffington descended upon En Sushi in the West Village to toast the kaiser’s tooty-fruity-scented kicks, some of which feature glittery ice-cream cone heels. “It was a very basic choice,” said Lagerfeld of his accessories’ scrumptious details.

“I met Karl a decade ago when we were shooting for V Man. We’re like family,” said model Brad Koenig during a cocktail fête at Melissa’s Soho store earlier in the evening. (He’s not exaggerating—Lagerfeld is his catwalking son Hudson’s godfather). Indeed, the dinner had a “family” vibe— Michelle Harper and Jenny Shimizu demonstrated their workout routine at the table while munching on sashimi, guests like Karlie Kloss, Constance Jablonski, and Karolina Kurkova (who was pretty thrilled about winning The Face) giggled and struck silly poses for the camera, and Lagerfeld, who sat at the head table with the star of his Melissa campaign, Cara Delevingne, felt so at ease that he took off his famed sunglasses. (For those who are wondering, yes, there are eyes under there).

Speaking of the campaign, the bondage-tinged Karl-lensed photos lined the Melissa boutique, as well as the dimly lit sushi joint. “I loved it,” said Delevingne of her provocative shoot. “I walked in and they were like, ‘We got all the clothes from a sex shop,’ and I was like, ‘Perfect! Love it. Exactly what I want on a Monday afternoon!'” Karl’s explanation of the theme? “I think people are frustrated,” he said with a grin, suggesting that the increasingly popular “bondage look” was a vehicle to let loose. “And Cara took to it very well. I think she likes to play around.”

—Katharine K. Zarrella

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