Met Gala and formal attire
Authored by: Monica  

Almost every industry or sector has its standard of achievement or showcase. It could be the Oscars for the movie industry and the Grammy award for the music industry. When it comes to fashion, there are plenty of events and shows which bring together oodles of glamor and cutting edge ideas and trends. But one event that everybody looks forward to it the Met Gala. This is held every year in the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It is, at heart, a fundraising event but also allows celebrities from all walks of life to showcase their creations and their outfits. It is also interesting to note that every year, since its inception in 1971, has brought a new theme.


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The Met Gala has seen themes like Russian costumes, Royal India, Ching Dynasty, Cubism and Punk. It has also celebrated personalities such as Prada, YSL, Jacqueline Kennedy and Diana Vreeland. This year, 2014, saw the Met Gala themed ‘Beyond Fashion’ and saw clothes inspired by Charles James. Some of the things that he was most famous for include suits and ball gowns. An innovative thinker, James was all about having a mathematical and scientific approach to fashion! His creations were really all about exquisite attention to structure and sophisticated or complex cuts and drapes.


One thing for sure, complex cuts and drapes very rarely go into the making of every kind of attire. Take formal wear, for instance. The concept of formal wear in most Western countries is a suit. Trousers, fitted tops, skirts and coats and jackets are all part of formal wear. Muted colors and plain fits are all par for the course. But isn’t it interesting to note that in a country such as India, one of the options for formal wear is a saree? This is a swatch of fabric that is around 5.30 meters in length and around 4 feet in breadth. It is draped in many different ways but can come in such a broad range of colors that it is a far cry from the typical western concept of formal clothes!


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Suits have become one of the most popular choices for women’s formal wear too. Of course, they also have the choice of going in for a pant suit or skirt suit. If you were to travel to North Korea, skirts as feminine formal wear takes on a new dimension altogether. Here the skirts are full and voluminous and the entire ensemble has layers of clothing and raiment. Called chima jeogori, it is an elegant and structured approach to formal wear. Whether it the bunad of Norway or the batik prints of countries such as Indonesia and Sumatra or even the cheongsam of women in China, formal wear can come in a dazzling array of cuts, colors and cultural sensibilities. 


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Events such as the Met Gala do give us all a glimpse into attire across the world. Whether it the latest Met Gala which celebrated Charles James or themes as global as  Cristóbal Balenciaga and La Belle Époque, looking at how countries around the world perceive fashion is a pretty mind-blowing exercise and study. Whether it is office wear or for a mega event, formal wear can be a great way to adopt a unique look and yet look completely in sync with your surroundings.

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