Charles James dresses

Two dresses by Charles James


Get ready to see some old-school Hollywood glamour on the red carpet at the Met Ball on May 5 this year, as organisers have announced that the dress code – White Tie and Decorations – will celebrate American couturier, Charles James.

Here's what we're hoping to see the stars wear at this year's big fash bash...

1. Couture
Known as America's first couturier, Charles James was renowned for creating standout ball gowns and for favouring a structured aesthetic. If the female guests want to adhere to the theme and pay tribute to the designer, then expect to see couture dresses – vintage and contemporary (we're expecting to see a lot of Dior) –with nipped in waists and full skirts. No doubt there'll be an abundance of celebs tottering around in mermaid dresses, too.

2. Top hats and tails.
While this is a dream dress code for the ladies (it's pretty much grab a ball gown and go), for the gentlemen it may prove a little trickier. White tie means you can't get away with a smart designer suit – this is a real top hat and tails affair. The gents will be required to wear full evening dress, which comprises a black tailcoat, waistcoat, a wing collar shirt and a bow tie. We've got a feeling that for once, all eyes will be trained on the mens' outfits, rather than the women's.

3. Androgynous dressing
Given the penchant for Le Smoking tailoring of late – see Emma Watson, Angelina Jolie and Cara Delevingne – we wouldn't be surprised if some of the ladies decide to eschew the dress in favour of a suit. While we're big fans of androgynous tailoring, if we see one female celebrity donning a tiny top hat, worn at a jaunty angle, we will not be best pleased.

4. Interpretation on the word 'decorations'
WWD asserts that decorations could 'come in the shape of lapel pins, from bronze stars to awards and more creative flights of fancy,' but that doesn't really leave us any the wiser. Awards? We don't imagine anyone in their right mind will come with an Oscar strapped to their breast pocket (and yes, we know that isn't what they mean). However, guests at the Met Ball love to make the dress code their own, and we can't wait to see what 'creative flights of fancy' they come up with.

By Olivia Marks

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