Steven A. Cohen, head of SAC Capital Advisors, arrived with his wife, Alexandra, who wore red open-toed shoes that matched the carpet leading in to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Penelope Cruz entered with Oscar de la Renta, Beyonce with Jay-Z.
Also attending the museum’s Costume Institute Ball last night were Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp., David Koch, of Koch Industries Inc., and the event’s honorary chairmen: Francois-Henri Pinault and his wife, Salma Hayek.
“It’s really fun to arrive with a CEO,” said Patricia Clarkson, accompanied by Michael Kors CEO John Idol. “I think that’s how I should always arrive.”
Fashion and wealth blended on this evening for one of the biggest museum fundraisers on the planet. Tables, which were sold out months ago, went for $100,000 to $250,000.
“An event like this can raise really significant funds to give us great exhibits and buy great pieces for the Costume Institute,” said Hamish Bowles, European editor at large at American Vogue, which takes on the lion’s share of party planning.
Stepping into the museum, guests found themselves with reminders of the English countryside. A 30-foot-tall faux oak tree rose from the information desk; heather, lavender, ivy and roses decorated the grand staircase. Dinner was highland beef and truffled potato tart, served with 2008 Chateau de Sales Pomerol. Florence + the Machine performed.
The party offered a preview of the exhibition “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” a tribute to the British designer who died last year. Following the success of her wedding gown for Kate Middleton, McQueen designer Sarah Burton wore all white.
“It is really scholarship and exquisiteness at the very highest level,” the president of the museum, Emily Rafferty, said of the exhibition. She was standing at the top of the Met’s outdoor stairs, in a red de la Renta gown and costume earrings. Some of her first greetings went to the event’s chairmen, Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, Colin Firth and designer Stella McCartney.
Tom Ford, with a white flower on his lapel, stepped in after Yoko Ono. Josh Duhamel and his wife, Fergie, of the Black Eyed Peas, walked in with Tom Brady, of the New England Patriots, and Gisele Bundchen.
Mick Jagger strode up to the Fifth Avenue museum in black Adidas sneakers and a suit by London tailor Timothy Everest, to which he added “an old pin from 1810,” he said. Glee’s Matthew Morrison wore a white Dolce & Gabbana dinner jacket, and Larry Gagosian sported an American flag bowtie.
The director of “The King’s Speech,” Tom Hooper, wore a tuxedo by English bespoke tailor Ozwald Boateng that was “the exact same I wore to the Oscars,” he said. “The great thing about being a man is that I can wear it twice and nobody gives a damn.”
Designer Tory Burch said the key to a man’s success in formal attire is in the details. Kanye West, whose tuxedo Burch designed, Hugh Dancy, Jason Bateman, and Koch all wore black patent-leather shoes; Koch’s had bows.
As for the fit of a tuxedo, “This is one instance where size matters,” said menswear designer Simon Spurr, who wore a tie with a scorpion printed on it. “Buy one size smaller than you think.”
However sexy a uniform a tuxedo can be, McCartney suggested a man’s sex appeal comes from within, citing McQueen as a role model. “Have a personality, be true to yourself, and don’t conform in any way,” she said.
The gala raised $10.4 million for the Costume Institute.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)