One event I look forward to every year is the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Absolutely everyone you can imagine is there, all dressed up like they're attending a high society event straight out of a Jane Austen novel. I suppose you could think of it as the one big New York event that kicks off the summer social calendar. This year Anna Wintour and Oprah Winfrey hosted the annual event, opening the special exhibit called "American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity" and I was privileged to attend.
I'm sure countless hours of preparation go into this event but for me the prep work started two weeks earlier at Zac Posens atelier. Before I got there Zac had brought a few dresses out of his archive for me to look at. Every one of them was a masterpiece in its own right but by the time I tried on his "cloud dress" my choice was obvious. The cloud dress, you might remember, is from his spring 2008 collection (vintage!) and is a spectacular gown with an incredible 8 foot train. Apparently it had never been worn on a red carpet before either. It looked perfect but the question on everyone's mind was: how on earth was I going to walk through a room of 600 people with this massive train behind me and not rip the dress or worse!? James had this crazy yet fabulous idea to take my train, flip it up and use it as a cape. It was very 1920's avant garde and when we tried it, we all loved the idea. Zac's team went right to work attaching a button and loop hole and in no time my cape was ready to go.
Once inside the Met you get your table number and then ascend another very long staircase up into the cocktail room. This staircase isnt lined with photographers though, its lined with male and female attendants in tuxedo's and ball gowns every step of the way. Every single attendant has their eyes on you, all silent. Its a very eerie experience, climbing all those steps and then finding at the very top Anna Wintour and Oprah Winfrey are stood waiting to shake your hand.
Once I was inside the cocktail hall I decided it most practical to keep myself and my dress in one spot. I bet Caroline and Hilary both thought me a snob at first, since I wasn't running over to talk to them, but once they realized my predicament they kindly came and chatted with James and I for the better part of the cocktail hour. At diner I had to ask for the gentleman's forgiveness before sitting and tried very hard to push as much material under the table as I could.
There were a number of other beautiful dresses at the Met ball but I'll never forget wearing my cloud dress. I'm so thankful to Zac and his team for making me feel like a true Cinderella story.