Variations on a Theme: Met Gala 2017

Another year at the Met Gala has come and gone, and while Anna Wintour sleeps it off I have time for a wrap-up of the 2017 festivities, as viewed from afar.

The Met Gala has become a parade of excess for the in-the-money crowd in the last decade — tickets are upward of $35,000 these days and even then, you might not make the guest list. But it might interest some to know that it’s actually a fundraiser for the Met’s Costume Institute – the only department of the museum that must fund itself. So while it can be hard to see the nonprofit through the glitz, this is in fact a great example of fashion-for-good.

There’s always a theme, and this year’s was Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, with a focus on the specific fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, who has a label by the same name.

I always go into the Met Gala’s post-party coverage with my own ideas about what the annual theme does or should mean. It’s rarely the same interpretation of many in attendance… I was excited about last year’s technology theme, for instance, then disappointed to see a lot of Terminator Arms and stupid silver contacts.

So this year, about to scroll through dozens of red carpet photos, I was thinking men’s wear. Androgynous looks. Maybe skirts paired with tuxedo jackets, or cummerbunds as bandeau tops.

Instead, let’s talk about Solange in a sleeping bag by Thom Browne. Katy Perry channeling The Handmaid’s Tale in Maison Margiela by John Galliano, and the fact that JLo is clearly going through a late-seventies-soul-singer phase.

Truly, JLo’s biggest offense here — and that of many — is the look is so boring. The Met Gala isn’t a prom; it’s a showcase of fashion-as-art. Trying to fit the theme and failing is one thing, but avoiding it completely as someone more dedicated — let’s call her Rihanna — sashays by wearing what essentially amounts to rings of confetti is a great way to disappear into the crowd.

Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady were all sorts of yawn this year in matching metallic gray. Hailey Baldwin (daughter of Stephen) looked like she was about to walk down the aisle, and speaking of proms, where are the garter belts, ladies:

SQUAD💥👑🎊 #doutzenkroes #candiceswanepoel #behatiprinsloo #adrianalima #metgala #metgala2017

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And yet, even with SJP’s notable absence this year, there were a few intrepid guests who hit the mark. I already called out RiRi, wearing the designer-of-honor. Tracee Ellis Ross also wore Rei Kawakubo — and quite possibly wore it best.

Completely covered. Absolutely beautiful. 😍😍 #MetGala #FavoriteLook

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Riley Keough (Elvis’ grand-kid) also hit the theme well in Louis Vuitton, Priyanka Chopra rocked a tricked-out trench by Ralph Lauren, and Emmy Rossum wore the best men’s wear look of the evening in Carolina Herrera.

#elegant In #whiteandblack #emmyrossum at the #metgala #2017

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Wintour, who has chaired the Met Gala since the mid-nineties, hasn’t shown any signs of stepping aside any time soon, so she better start mulling the theme for 2018. In the meantime, the hoi polloi can check out the Comme des Garçons exhibit May 4 to September 4 this year. She may have hiked the gala ticket prices, but Met Fifth Avenue is still about $25 to visit.

Writing on the Flip

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Writers have come a long way in terms of where their words can be seen. Once relegated to the printed page, now we’re writing for virtual places all the time.

That’s what made a recent — and very tactile — writing assignment so unusual and fun. I was charged with writing a few highlights regarding the Berkshire town of Lenox, which were then placed on the literal flip side of some photo placards.

The placards are just one part of the newly redesigned Lenox Visitors Center, meant to offer information and inspiration to residents, tourists, and business people alike.

A handful of writers contributed to the project; below are a few of the snippets I was able to sneak through.

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Placard Photos by Ed Acker.

A New VoxBox – Suave Live Beautifully

Influenster keeps gifting me with the coolest stuff!

This month, I’m one of the testers/reviewers in the Suave Live Beautifully campaign, which is a little different from previous VoxBoxes for me, in that I already use Suave products quite a bit.

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Dig my shower curtain …

My VoxBox contained two items I’d never used before, though, so there’s still the thrill of the new: Cucumber Agave Smash body lotion (fun name) and the Luxe Style Infusion Volumizing Weightless Blow Dry Spray (much longer name).

I did my product testing last night (i.e. I took a shower). The blow-dry spray is an Allure Best of Beauty winner, so I was excited to see how it worked, but not super-impressed with the results. Overall, I’d say this is a great detangler; it did make my (very long) hair easier to comb post-shower, but other than that I didn’t notice any real benefits in the areas of volume, shine, or styling-ease. I’m also not a big fan of the scent, although I did notice in reviews that many other people are.

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That shower-curtain-backdrop again, prettied up with Influenster’s fun photo frames.

The Cucumber Agave Smash body lotion was more of a win for me. I usually stick to the decidedly unscented Aveeno line, but this has a light enough fragrance that it’s not overpowering, and feels like a nice addition to the routine for the spring and summer months. I actually didn’t notice until after trying it that it’s also positioned as a dupe for Bath & Body Works’ Cucumber Melon body lotion, for those who already know and love that line but want to save a few dollars.

Both the Luxe Blow-dry spray and the Cucumber Agave Smash retail for about $5 each. Let me know some of your new product crushes in the comments!

 

I received these products complimentary for testing purposes.

 

 

We’ve Got Movie Sign: MST3K and the Stress of the Reboot

I discovered Mystery Science Theater 3000 in my teens, searching for music videos and finding instead what looked like a bootlegged movie with three guys in the front row blocking the shot.

Except, wait… it’s one guy, a gumball machine, and… a lacrosse stick?

Mtv did a lot of weird promotional shit back in the day, so I stuck around to see what the schtick was. I learned it was an existing show insiders called MST3K — more specifically, the Alien From L.A. episode (516) starring non-actress Kathy Ireland — making a special appearance as part of MTV Comedy Weekend. (I didn’t remember all of these details on my own, mind you. I had a few fragments and Google pieced them together.)

Soon, I was fully indoctrinated into MST3K Nation, sending postcards to the Info Club and finding episodes wherever I could in the pre-Internet world. Fawning over the Satellite of Love wasn’t a solitary experience in its 11-year run either. I had a group of friends who watched it together regularly in my twenties, including repeat-viewings of the 1996 feature film version and the sad-but-hilarious television finale, MST3K 1013: Danger: Diabolik in ’99.

Now, as the reboot approaches, I have all the joy and trepidation I assume comes with a loved one’s life being saved by a head transplant.

Netflix recently released a collection of 20 classic episodes in front of the new version’s premiere and that only heightened those feelings. I so want this new version to be great, and I don’t have any reason to think it won’t be, but what can I say — I’m a worrier.

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Photo via Steve @ flickr

As I plow through the list on Netflix reveling in how obscure, esoteric, and ridiculous this show is, I love that the originals are still so damn funny while worrying the tone won’t fly today.

It’s not that it’s crass; in fact, part of MST3K’s allure is that it’s hilarious without being blue. But a big piece of what made it work was that it said out loud what we were thinking. Humor doesn’t have to include insult, but will the silhouetted banter be so watered-down by a fear of offending literally anyone that the jokes won’t land?

I guess on some level, I just don’t want to see my nerdiest memories threatened by newer and potentially lesser versions, and that’s something that’s been happening a lot lately. According to DenofGeeks.com there are currently 120 movie remakes alone in various stages of release right now, including The Crow, Ace Ventura, The Craft, Men in Black, and Memento.

So basically we’re rebooting the nineties? ‘MKay.

That said, anxiety be damned. Bring it on, I’m robot-ready for a new generation of MST3-snark, and I’m open-minded enough to consider a format change or two.

Plus, it’s a lot easier to find the media we love these days, even if it first aired in 1994. Kathy Ireland may not be happy about it, but I am.