What happens when Rei Kawakubo, one of the least conventionally glamorous designers (her protuberant creations are rarely seen on the red carpet), meets the starriest fashion event of the year? We'll see May 1 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, aka the Oscars of fashion. The Vogue-sponsored event, co-chaired by Anna Wintour, Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams, will fete the subversive Comme des Garcons designer, whose signature since 1981 has been distorting and contorting the female form.
The suggested dress code for the gala is "avant-garde," according to a Met spokesperson, which should be easy for fashion-forward guests Sarah Jessica Parker, Rose Byrne and Kim Kardashian but perhaps not so much for co-chairing couple Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady and newly Insta-official pair Selena Gomez and The Weeknd. (Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are reportedly "too busy" to attend this year.)
Although CDG is dressing some attendees, others are turning to vintage. "We sold one of the 1997 'Lumps and Bumps' collection ensembles last week," says Katy Rodriguez of New York's Resurrection Vintage, noting that Lady Gaga's stylist, Brandon Maxwell, and Rihanna's stylist, Mel Ottenberg, have been in to see their 150 pieces, on offer to coincide with Met exhibit "Art of the In-Between" (May 4 to Sept. 4). "We've had to dig deep to find pieces that work for people used to showing a lot of skin."
Not everyone will wear CDG, of course. Luxury brands, including Valentino, Gucci and Dior, that purchase $250,000 tables can dress invited guests in their own designs. Stylist Law Roach says Zendaya will wear Dolce & Gabbana and Celine Dion will don Versace, while Mandy Moore plans to wear Michael Kors' "nod to" Kawakubo, says stylist Erica Cloud. Adds Stephanie Horton of event sponsor Farfetch.com, "The best we can hope for is that people make it their own."
This story first appeared in the April 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.