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Celebrities, designers arrive at Met ball

May 2, 2011 |  5:22 pm

Wintour

It's the fashion equivalent of the Oscars. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute Gala is underway in New York, where the line of black cars on 5th Avenue stretches as far as the eye can see. Guests have turned up to celebrate the exhibition, "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," which opens Wednesday.

Inside the museum lobby, an enormous tree has been installed, reaching toward the sky. Ushers dressed in Scottish kilts (a nod to McQueen's heritage) line the great staircase, where the swish of gowns is audible.

At the top of the stairs is an old-fashioned receiving line, with the evening's hosts -- Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, actor Colin Firth and designer Stella McCartney -- shaking every well-manicured hand.

PHOTOS: Red carpet arrivals at the Met gala

Inside the exhibition, Daphne Guinness looks right at home in the "Cabinet of Curiosities" gallery. She resembles a delicate bird in a white feathered McQueen gown with panniers exaggerating her hips. Tory Burch has Kanye West in tow (he's wearing a custom Tory Burch tuxedo based on one that Burch's father, Buddy, had made-to-order). And Nicole Richie could be a 1930s starlet in her vintage bias-cut gown and wavy hairstyle.

Everywhere you look there's eye candy -- Diane Von Furstenberg in her own "Queen of Spades" sequin gown with Barry Diller on her arm; Calvin Klein escorting Donna Karan, who is dressed in power red; and It Brit designer Erdem Moraliglu snapping his own photos. Kenneth Cole, Olivier Theyskens, Christopher Bailey, Gisele Bündchen, Matthew Morrison, Alicia Keys, Emma Roberts, Leighton Meester, Chloë Sevigny, Madonna, Demi Moore and on and on. There must not be another red carpet in the world tonight.

Cocktails are served in the Sculpture Garden, but everyone seems to want to stay in the galleries, perhaps to bask just a little longer in McQueen's extraordinary talent.

-- Booth Moore, reporting from New York

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Alexander McQueen opens at the Met

View ensembles from the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Met

Photo: Bee Shaffer (left) and editor-in-chief of Vogue Anna Wintour attend the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2011 in New York City. Credit: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

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