May 2, 2016
Tonight's the night, readers!
It's the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit, which coincides with the opening of the Institute's latest show, "Manus X Machine: Fashion in an Age of Technology."
The red carpet portion of this gala event is being televised live on the E! network. And you can bet there will be countless critiques of who-was-wearing-what (or whom?) on fashion blogs and TV tabloid shows the following day.
I don't understand our current obsession with celebrity red-carpet fashion. I like to look at over-the-top ballgowns as much as the next person -- wait: strike that. I suspect I am much, much less interested than the next person, depending, naturally, on who the next person is. Laura Mae, for example, who really knows vintage glamour, writes detailed, pointed critiques of these kind of events that I find educational and fun.
But most of the time, this sort of who-wore-what fetish turns me off. These events feel like yet another opportunity for celebrities and the fashion houses who (often) pay to dress them to promote themselves. The toll it takes on the celebrities themselves can also be, apparently, a heavy one; that's a topic I never really thought about. (Botoxing armpits -- yuck.)
What is the casual observer supposed to take away from all the media attention these extravaganzas are given? Yes, some of the gowns are very beautiful. But is the point to showcase couture craft or just to grab some headlines?
There have been movie premieres and staged media events for decades. Celebrity culture isn't really new (People magazine has been around since 1974, and before that there were magazines like Photoplay and Modern Screen.) I ask myself why these red-carpet events are so prominent at this particular time in history. (Need for click-bait?)
In closing, readers, three questions:
1) How interested are you in red carpet fashions, whether broadcast live on TV or critiqued in a post-event blog post?
2) What do you take away -- if anything -- from these sort of staged events?
3) Do glamour girls in gowns inspire your sewing or personal style in any way or simply set an unrealistic standard of beauty (and bodies) -- much like the beauty pageants of yore?
You can read an interesting history of the red carpet here.
UPDATE: Read Laura Mae's take on the 2016 Met gala here.