This year, the Metropolitan Museum’s big fashion exhibition will take a look at the work of Rei Kawakubo, the cerebral, mercurial designer behind the cult label Comme des Garçons. So, naturally, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen will co-chair the party given in her honor.
Wait, what? The quarterback who hawks Ugg boots and once hid a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker and his Brazilian bombshell wife who has never met a dress-slit-up-to-there that she hasn’t loved? Fêting an avant-garde genius who once staged a runway show in which the models wore bulbous tube dresses stuffed with pillows so they would look like misshapen hunchbacks? (By the way, that collection was 1997’s seminal “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body,” and it was, as fashion people say, everything.)
Alas, it’s true. Brady and Bündchen have been announced as co-chairs of this year’s Met Ball, the lavish Anna Wintour-helmed “party of the year” that raises money for the Met’s Costume Institute. And the couple’s milquetoast style couldn’t be more at odds with Kawakubo’s special brand of surreal perversity. Style blogger BryanBoy succinctly summed up most fashionistas’ thoughts on the news: “lol.”
The Met Ball always relies on celebrity hosts and chairs to amp up the glitz and glamour, not to mention the publicity. Yet usually there’s some effort to pick a star whose persona somewhat aligns with the exhibition’s theme. For example, Sarah Jessica Parker hosted 2014’s retrospective of American couturier Charles James, and her cosmopolitan bearing and penchant for dramatic fashions befit the late designer’s fancy ballgowns. Rooney Mara, fresh off her star-making turn in the edgy “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” was a natural fit for 2013’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture” extravaganza. And 2016’s tech-themed “Manus x Machina” tapped blond pop cyborg Taylor Swift as host — brilliant.
To be sure, finding a celebrity who could pull off Kawakubo’s provocative designs is a challenge. Lady Gaga is perhaps the only superstar with the imagination and attitude to try, stepping out once in a pink-and-purple Comme coat, done in flattened felt and blown up to cartoonish proportions so that it looked like a paper doll’s clothes. Even the exhibition’s other hosts, Katy Perry and Pharrell, at least aren’t afraid to step out in something kooky. You could see the pop star rocking one of Comme’s distressed-Victoriana bridal gowns, a straitjacket-like top or tangled dress made of what looks like bedding, or a Red Riding Hood cape made of lurid, glossy PVC.
But it’s hard to see Gisele forgoing her usual sizzling Versace for something so unglamorous and unsexy. Yet, perhaps Wintour will whip the couple into shape for the show. As Quartz fashion reporter Marc Bain tweeted Wednesday night, “I’m totally on board with this if Giselle wears something from Lumps n Bumps and Brady wears the curled-toe boots from spring 15.”
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