Photos: Fairchild Archive
You've gotta hand it to Gwyneth Paltrow—she doesn't shy from a fashion risk. It was a gamble, certainly, at the 2002 Oscars to wear a sheer Alexander McQueen top (nipples, anyone?) with a full silk skirt. And risky again to bare her belly at the 2011 Emmy Awards in a black, beaded two-piece Pucci ensemble. But no look to date has risen to the same hemline height as Paltrow's silvered-lilac Prada number at this years's Met Ball, which honored the Italian surrealist Elsa Schiaparelli along with the star's designer of choice.
Schiaparelli's playful influence was obvious not only throughout the exhibit (and on Anna Wintour's lobster-claw dress) but on Paltrow's high-low frock as well, particularly in the whimsical paillettes embellished on pockets along the sides—much to the same effect as another Italian designer's high-low bridal look this season. Ines Di Santo adorned her sleeveless, high-neck Spring 2013 design in glittering detail, embellished as a symmetrical pattern of paillettes down both the front and back. If you're a daring bride searching for an alternative to the traditional white dress, what more could you want than a wedding-day look that's clearly Paltrow-approved?
Bijoux, $6,200, Ines Di Santo
—Phillip B. Crook