I have posted the photos below taken at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute Gala in New York earlier this month. The article accompanying the photos stated that this is the East Coast equivalent of the Oscars, or the Cannes Film Festival but for this event, gowns are the reason for the event.
I always enjoy admiring the participants so elegantly dressed in lovely long gowns and decked out in spectacular jewelry. This event, however, was punctuated by the new trend of very short dresses. Each of the wearers pictured are very young, trim and beautifully shaped legs – a necessity for dresses showing so much leg. What bothers me about this style is the proportion. Most of them have compensated for so much leg by wearing boots or ankle strap shoes to visually cut the length of the leg. The first dress worn by Lily Donaldson, does not have good balance, in my opinion, and the wide straps on the shoes appear too heavy for the dress. Nor do I find that Lara Stone’s gold dress in the middle of the group has balance but even more obvious are the black boots. Her blonde hair is complimented by the gold dress but those heavy, black boots dominate her appearance. As you glance at the photo, your eye is immediately drawn to the boots. The goal is to have the eye rest on the face, follow down the body to the feet and circle back up to the head. Liya Kebede (bottom center) could have accomplished that by wearing delicate, strappy shoes in black. Liya’s dress with the light sandals, also cuts her image in half. The dress is the top half and her legs and feet are the bottom half. Vanessa Traina (to the left) achieves the exact same perception with her blue dress. The belted waist cuts the dress in half, giving equal proportions to the skirt and bodice. Whether art, interior design or clothing, a 1/3-2/3 proportion or a 2/5-3/5 proportion make for a much more interesting look.
Color me old fashioned but I will take the lovely, long gown of Natalia Vodianova any day. The very short skirted dresses are best left for casual, daytime occasions and then, only if are very young with a great body and legs.
Photos and referenced article are from the May 6, 2009 What They Wore: Fashion Insiders newsletter. You can access the site at www.whowhatweardaily.com.