Hits & Misses: The Best And Worst Of Beauty At The 2012 Met Ball

The Met Ball is, in many ways, bigger and brighter than all of the awards shows combined. While the Academy honors excellence in film, the gala honors glamour in its purest form. Each year there’s a “topic” of celebration — last night extolled the parallels of Miuccia Prada to the late great Elsa Schiaparelli; last year’s subject was the inimitable Lee Alexander McQueen — and each year it’s up to the young and the beautiful to bring it. Good sense and humility takes a night off, and the most illustrious names in both the silver screen and the backstage dust off their boldest, most eye-catching, sometimes straight up cray looks. It is the Met Gala, after all, and if you’re not planning on blowing the roof off of the fashion stratosphere, then why bother going at all?

When fashion is the focus in such a big way, beauty takes a backseat. For every flourish of a gown or graze of a cape, there’s a face to go along with it that shouldn’t be ignored. As dresses play on current-season fashion trends, makeup follows suit: nary a starlet was seen without the telltale stroke of spring/summer runways. The styles of the season are somewhat counterintuitive in that the feature that was given most play channeled an infectious case of mid-’90s nostalgia: the dark bordeaux lips that stars like Kate Bosworth, Jessica Alba, Leighton Meester, and Camilla Belle sported last night were certainly statement-making, if not exactly compelling, but the novelty was negated by the fact that literally everyone was wearing it… even Lana Del Rey.

Hollywood has long been the host to a world of fake tans, but never quite like this. Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Upton, and Leighton Meester (who I think was, unfortunately, the trend victim of the evening), all of whom I had previously recognized as being fashionably fair, bore the telltale burnt-orange patina of a very faux glow. Even Liv Tyler was ten shades darker than her usual self. Unsurprisingly, the most dire specimen is Rachel Zoe — she has never looked more like an actual raisin in the sun. Check out the most prevalent beauty moments and the prettiest picks from the gala, not to mention the best of fake tan faux pas, in the gallery above.