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AP Photos: Met Gala red carpet

Renee Zellweger arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)Renee Zellweger arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

NEW YORK (AP) — The red carpet is the main show at the annual gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, and it's not something seasoned style veteran Sarah Jessica Parker takes lightly.

Sarah Jessica Parker arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)Sarah Jessica Parker arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

"Well I think there's something unique about these particular steps. Nothing more terrifying than these particular steps," she said Monday night, escorted by Valentino. "But I think there's a focus that's different than a movie premiere. It's about celebrating discipline and skill and celebrating this important museum."

Jessica Alba arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)Jessica Alba arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

Her gown was, of course, Valentino: a long-sleeve, high-neck metallic floral gown worn with a belt.

Sofia Vergara arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)Sofia Vergara arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

Sofia Vergara said she was "very happy" to be invited back to the gala, which is largely organized by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

Karolina Kurkova arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)Karolina Kurkova arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

"I have a dress from Marchesa and jewels from Harry Winston," Vergara said. "I'm enjoying it... I have seen everyone, Jessica Alba, look at her, how divine. Look at the models. I don't even know if they are models or palm trees."

Designer Zac Posen, left, and actress Amber Heard arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)Designer Zac Posen, left, and actress Amber Heard arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

(Alba wore a gold-lame, one-shoulder goddess gown by Michael Kors.)

Model Karolina Kurkova collaborated with Rachel Zoe to create her rose-gold sequin gown with an open back and matching dramatic headpiece. "So this is really special to me that it's my own creation and that she let me co-design it with her and I get to wear it tonight to the Met Ball and no one else has it. No one's seen it. This is really one of a kind."

Tommy Hilfiger, in a classic tuxedo with white pocket square, soaked it all in. "It's the Super Bowl of fashion."

Appropriately even a few star quarterbacks put in an appearance: Tom Brady went with Gisele Bundchen and Tim Tebow rubbed elbows with stars like Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Heidi Klum and Florence Welch. The gala celebrates the new fashion exhibit that compares the designs of Miuccia Prada, who wore a pantsuit to the event, and the late Elsa Schiaparelli.

Mixed in among the serious fahionistas was late-night funnyman Jimmy Fallon.

"Oh my gosh! All the makeup, all the hair!" he joked of his primping process. "This looks like real hair right? Piece by piece, it's yak hair."