Stella McCartney, Justin Timberlake, Rachel Feinstein, and Other Stars Arrived in Style at the Met's Magical Gala

Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake
(Billy Farrell Agency/

NEW YORK — The grand stairway leading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala is heralded as the most fashionable red carpet of all, and last night an A-list set of dressed-up designers, dapper actors, models, leading ladies, well-heeled socialites, and sultry songstresses made their way up the steps to show off their cascading gowns and black-tie best.

More than 44 personalities paid homage to Miuccia Prada, the living half featured in this year’s Costume Institute exhibition, “Prada and Schiaparelli: Impossible Conversations,” donning Prada or her secondary label, Miu Miu. Prada, who arrived early on, rushed past the press with a matching gold brocade top and slacks. Anna Wintour arrived next, wearing a Prada gown of natural linen embellished with gold trimming and a lobster motif – a nod to Schiaparelli’s 1937 crustacean dress. Event co-chair actress Carey Mulligan looked flawless in a halter dress covered in giant gold and silver degradé paillettes. Chloe Sevigny kept her cool girl thing going in a whimsical Miu Miu dress comprised of a patchwork of miniature mirrors.

The art-world set provided for amusing Costume Institute fodder. Performance artist Marina Abramovic climbed the stairs hand-in-hand with Renaissance man James Franco — and the two were practically dressed like twins, the only difference being Franco’s tie on his Gucci suit. Marc Jacobs, who wore a sheer lace Comme des Garçons dress, escorted his muse and friend, artist Rachel Feinstein, whose head donned one of the outrageous Dr. Seuss-like raver hats made by Stephen Jones that were featured in Jacobs’s spring/summer 2012 runway show.

“It’s like a big sculpture on your head,” said Feinstein, who told ARTINFO that she immediately agreed to wear it when Jacobs asked. “This kind of thing is not really the art world because it’s so insanely celebrity. It’s kind of like a way of hiding slightly, which is really nice for me, and it’s so glamorous.”

Alexander Wang spoke about some of the talks he had been having over the last week with his date, singer and rapper Azealia Banks, who was admittedly nervous about attending the event. “We’ve had some amazing conversations, some actual conversations, about boyfriends, going out, having fun, coming to the Met Ball,” said Wang.

Overall, we thought Florence Welch’s tiered gauzy Alexander McQueen dress, Sevigny’s Miu Miu, and Greta Gerwig’s stunning long-sleeved Prabal Gurung floor-length gown stood out, while Anja Rubik’s revealing Anthony Vaccarello dress — which took the Angelina Jolie Oscar slit to another level, showing off a bare protruding hip bone — and Coco Rocha’s vintage Givenchy yellow and pink ensemble (formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor) certainly raised our eyebrows, and not in a good way.

And talk about fashionably late — Beyoncé kept the slew of press on the red carpet waiting for 30 minutes after everybody else showed up, stepping out at the very last minute in a sweeping sheer Givenchy couture gown.

Click on the slide show for highlights from the 2012 Costume Institute Gala.