Met Ball 2011: The Must-See Beauty Looks

It's a retro revival! Celebs are channeling Old Hollywood with red lips, long lashes, deep side parts and soft waves.

Last night a Very Important Event took place. No, I'm not talking about the Canadian federal election—I'm talking about the annual Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Let's call it the "Met Ball" for short.

Forget the Oscars, because THIS is the most exciting red carpet occasion on any Very Important Person's social calendar. And on beauty editors' calendars as well, because while most of the awards nights through January and February tend to... how do I put it?... encourage a certain conservatism with hair and makeup choices, the Met Ball is where you can REALLY go all out. There is high fashion! There are celebrities! And you know what that means? A whole bunch of fun new beauty looks for us to pass judgement on. Whee!

Just quickly: the trend appears to be very much a retro, Old Hollywood sort of look, which we haven't seen for a little while... and I'm loving it. Now, go grab yourself a tea and a blankie and settle in, because I have a whole whack of photos to show you. Let's begin!


Diane Kruger:

Biggest surprise of the night for me. When did Diane grow her hair this long? And wear red lipstick? It's so nice to see her with such a radically different look for a change. If I wanted to be nit-picky, I'd say that the curls are a tad too separated and needs to be brushed together a bit more, as per Kevin Murphy's wise words in this vid. But that would REALLY be nit-picking.

Gisele Bundchen:

And here is Gisele, who is not only better-looking than you but also a better mother. Of course, she looks amazing—maybe the best of the night, although it's not really fair for actresses to have to compete with models. I'm much happier with her colour here versus the last time we saw it. And this is a great way to do the retro look—the hair has the structure but not the stiffness, and then the face is quite bare.

Emma Roberts:

Roberts, like Stone, always looks gorgeous. Especially loving this hairstyle because like Gisele's, it's not too stiff or old-fashioned. Not sure what's going on with the colour though... let's hope it's just the lighting, because she doesn't suit the blonde.

Penelope Cruz:

Even Pene got into the wavy hair action, although I see she couldn't give up her signature eye makeup for a bold lip. See how there are lots of ways to interpret this look in a modern way? I just would've liked to see more hair across her forehead.

Blake Lively:

Well, well, well. We get to have another peek at Blake's new hair colour... and I'm afraid it's not improving. I can't even properly evaluate the makeup, it's so distracting. Like Penelope, I wish her hair fell more over the forehead.

Lea Michele:

I hate to say this, but Lea Michele is looking better and better. I was a big fan of the bangs as I thought they really softened her features—but who knew how great she could look with this deep side part? She didn't go for the waves, and rightly so, I think—the sleekness of this style suits her best.


Okay, the cosmetic work scares me a bit, and I think an event like the Met Ball is more than worthy of touching up your roots—but otherwise, this look is classic Madge. Great hairstyle, great brows, great lips.


Amy Adams:

I don't know how I feel about this one. I adore Amy Adams, beauty-wise, and applaud her for taking the risk, but does that braid really belong there? Or is it the makeup that's impairing my judgement? I do like the sultry eyes with the berry lips—just not sure all the elements are harmonizing together.

Taylor Swift:

Taylor's go-to look is suddenly all the rage, do you see? She's no longer the only one doing the lashes, lips and waves, so I guess I'll have to zip my lips re: having seen this a billion times before. One positive change: she pulled her hair OFF the forehead, where she usually wears it. Baby steps.

Lucy Liu:

This thin hairband is probably the best hair accessory of the night. Makeup's fantastic too. Lucy does not age.

Eva Mendes:

Okay, so this is a different kind of retro, but it's retro nonetheless. Gosh, Eva is posing hard here isn't she?


Kate Hudson:

This could've been cute if her hair didn't resemble Nicole Richie's circa season one of The Simple Life. Because I DO like the idea of using sparkly clips in your hair... just not hair that is ratty, multi-coloured extensions. Even just brushing it out would've been an improvement.

Jessica Alba:

MUCH better. Maybe a bit princess-y still, but it gets a pass from me. (Aside: that pregnancy glow is no myth. Her skin is ridiculously flawless.)


Emma Stone:

And here's my current favourite beauty crush surprising and delighting us again with this fluoro lip—VERY Diane von Furstenberg spring/summer '11, don't you know? With the flicky eyeliner, zillion-dollar earrings and texturey updo, it is perfection. As usual.

Jennifer Lopez:

This is a really different look for Jenny from the Block—her skin is much less tanned than we've seen it, and then there is the big red lip, of course. I can't help but wonder if there is shadow of too-dark lip liner happening at the outer circumference, but perhaps that's a lighting thing. Overall, I think she looks pretty fabulous, and shows that you really CAN wear 17 different shades of red on your person.

Gwyneth Paltrow:

Does Gwyneth have rosacea? I'm serious—not snarking. Her skin is looking so red lately and maybe it's nothing to do with laser resurfacing. I do like her makeup here, otherwise. We rarely get to see a bright lip on her, and if you look closely, it's been paired with some really cool shimmery silver eyeshadow. Oh, and she has extensions now. I love long-haired Gwyn.


Kristen Stewart:

Say what you will about K-Stew's surliness on the red carpet, but she really does employ a magnificent makeup artist to do her eyes.

Ginnifer Goodwin:

Yay! This is the most exciting eye makeup of the night. And how wonderfully creative is the focus on the INNER, not the outer corners of the eyes? That's something we took note of at Giorgio Armani last year. I definitely prefer it in the turquoise though... and with the necklace, it is matchy-matchy in just the right amount.

Zoe Saldana:

A really low-key look for Zo Zo, but it works.

Leighton Meester:

Awww... my girl Leighton went for liquid liner in a BIG way. Too bad I feel like of meh about it. Don't get me wrong, she made the right choice by keeping the rest of her face bare, and hair up—but since the latter is hands-down her best feature, I feel like she should always play it up, you know?

Jennifer Hudson:

Typical J-Huds gorgeouness. We've seen this hairstyle before, and probably the eye makeup as well, but I wholeheartedly approve.

Isla Fisher:

Best hair in the biz. (Okay, Leighton too.) Blake Lively, are you seeing this? Anyway... Isla really lets her hair BE the story here. The contrast against that blue dress is out of this world, and so she doesn't need much other than the subtly-emphasized eyes.


How is it possible to look this good with an inch or so of roots and your hair in a low bun? Not fair, Beyoncé. The makeup is a triumph of golds and browns.

Chloë Sevigny:

This doe-eyed look kinda sorta reminds me of another Chloé—the fashion brand, whose fall eye makeup I fell head over heels in love with. I think it needs the long hair to go with... or something. I'm not feeling this helmet-like 'do.

Sarah Jessica Parker:

Clearly, SJP didn't take my hint the other day about the eyeshadow. I've written about it before, too—when your eyelids are starting to go crepey, you absolutely do not want to draw attention to the area with shimmer. Matte shadow would've been a far superior choice. And maybe an eyelash comb, unless she's channeling the new chunky mascara trend.


Dakota Fanning:

I love me some Dakota Fanning. She's 17 and looks like it. (Same school of thought as Hailee Steinfeld, obvs.) I kind of feel like a traitor to my trade by saying this—because I DO love all of that colourful makeup that everyone else is wearing—but I'm really feeling this fresh face all of a sudden. Like we saw above, Gisele did a grown-up version of it. And the entire concept of doing a dressy dress with a bare-ish face is a Kate Moss signature move.

So maybe I'm going to spend more time on my hair now, and less with my bright lipstick collection.

What about you?

Which Met Ball look is your fave?

Who disappoints you the most?

How do you feel about this whole Old Hollywood beauty revival?

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