Smart ladies love fashion, Met Gala 2004, “Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century”


Because 2016 is terrible and the 2016 Met Gala is super soon we have decided to go back and take a look at the galas from 2003 – 2012 because nothing is more fun than looking at OLD fashion. For more fashion fun, we have previously covered the galas from 200320132014, and 2015.

In 2004, the theme was Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century. From the Met site:

This exhibition focuses on dress and its aesthetic interplay with art, furniture, and the broader decorative arts between 1750 and 1789. Presented in the dramatic setting of The Wrightsman Galleries, the Museum’s French period rooms, the exhibition explores the dressed body’s spatial negotiation of the eighteenth-century interior as a choreography of seduction and erotic play. The coquettish Polonaise dress with its hem raised to reveal the ankle is juxtaposed with a side table that transforms into a dressing table through mechanisms similar to the gown’s hidden ties. The arch of the foot introduced by shoes with a Louis-style heel is seen with the scrolling legs of tables and chairs from the period shod in ormolu sabots. Lavish banyans, the “undress” of eighteenth-century rakes, and fans, an accessory that could be wielded with both decorous and flirtatious intent, are presented as the favored modes of beguilement of the eighteenth-century man about town and his femme du monde counterpart.

(This was also an interesting read about French “fast fashion” in the 1700s–fashion magazines came out every ten days!)

I was initially confused about how the furniture part would fit into the clothes–not with ugly upholstery fabric, I hoped–but it ended up fine because most people didn’t follow the theme. Or maybe they did and I failed to see how they translated this:

Found here.

Found here.

Maybe two attendees were that fanciful. Now the Met Gala gets so much more press coverage and I think the fashion is more interesting and risky. The early oughts were dark times for fun fashion.


From the first entry you can see how people interpreted the theme: shiny fabric. She also could have easily have worn bejeweled slippers. This is boring, I didn’t even like these dresses in 2004. -M

I am so glad people stopped wearing these flimsy satin gowns. I too wish everyone wore bejeweled slippers –how hard would that have been? -K

Amanda Cutter Brooks

Horrendous all around. Is there a pattern on the tulle? I promise the dresses get better. -M

At least it’s basically the undergarments of the theme? Maybe? This is terrible, but I’m having fun looking at the awful. -K

Zoe Cassavetes, Mark Jacobs, Sofia Coppola

I don’t know about Mark but the ladies look outstanding. I especially like the little fur jacket. -M

I love these looks and they would fit in today! -K

Elise Crombez

The neckline is good and this is generally a nice dress but it does not connect to the theme. -M

I wish she had put her hair up. -K

Sheryl Crow

More shiny fabric! At least this is fitted properly. Her body is amazing. -M

So this is not on theme at all but I have to say everything else is a win. It’s a shiny satin dress I don’t hate, the color is great, I love the turquoise embellishment at the neck, her shoes are fun, and her face looks good. -K

Claire Danes

Claire has really grown into her status as a fashion icon. I don’t love these strappy torture dresses but it fits her well and she always has proper lipstick. -M

I feel like the best thing about this retrospective is how stylish Claire will become. I love her handbag. -K

Kristin Davis

I almost didn’t include this because it is so fugly and I didn’t want to subject you to it. -M

Oh man is this fug BUT her wrap is kind of regal-esque which may be on theme. I really want people to be creative that I’m looking for it in the smallest nooks. ALSO I would not have believed this was Charlotte York. -K

Jamie Lynn DiScala

I guess this is on theme and I love the bottom but the ruched bodice and arm flaps bring this straight to 1980s prom territory. -M

This is Belle from Beauty and the Beast which I guess is on theme OR she got lost on her way from the Disney store (she even looks kind of confused like, “this is not the Beauty and the Beast sing-a-long party I was promised”). -K

Anh Duong

Way to bring the whimsy! People still wear stuff like this today. -M

Man I fucking love this. -K

Jennifer Esposito

This is more suited to a Pride and Prejudice adaptation. 19th century England and 18th century France are very different. -M

This is hilariously off theme based on M’s comment above. -K

Linda Evangelista

This is the most furniture-y of all the dresses and I am ok with that because she looks badass. -M

This is also fucking amazing. -K

Tom Ford and Stella McCartney

He is handsome as always, but not on theme. Her handkerchief hem dress makes me sad. I DO NOT miss 2004. -M

Tom Ford usually wears a better fitted suit AND again Stella can fucking fit her own clothes. -K

Lady Amanda Harlich and Karl Lagerfeld

Lady Amanda works in fashion, dated Ralph Fiennes at some point, and is fucking fabulous. -M

This is a great modernization of the theme. She is a winner. -K

Anne Heche and Corey Laffoon

I miss kooky Anne Heche on the red carpet. Think of how much cuter this would have been with some colored slippers! -M

Anne’s hair brings me such joy and is totally on theme. I will again state that Melissa is completely on point about the slippers. -K

Carolina Herrara Jr

This is so bizarre. And her shoes are very office-y. -M

I feel like she forgot her dress. -K

Jade Jagger

And then people start stretching the theme by wearing what they imagine to be French undergarments. -M


Famke Janssen

Casual trash bag. -M

It’s a gala not a dinner party at the Hilton Express in Paramus. -K

Scarlett Johanssen and Tara Subkoff

Scarlett’s dress has this weird unnecessary extra fabric cascading from her boobs. At least Tara (what happened to her???) picked an appropriate color. -M

Tara looks so drunk –I dig it. Also what happened to her and what was she in. I remember her but no actual projects. I like the color of both these gowns but they are so early aughts. I feel like they were out of style in 2004. -K [She designed for Imitation of Christ and was in our favorite Last Days of Disco. I learned on Wiki that due to a brain tumor she is now deaf in one ear. – ed. note]

Calvin Klein and Hilary Swank

Calvin Klein gowns are the polar opposite of 18th century France. -M

I want to die with all this satin. -K

Diane Kruger and Nicolas Ghesquiere

This is from Nicolas’ Balenciaga days and The Krug’s model days, when she didn’t know what to wear on the red carpet. Scarf AND necklace??-M

Oh man this picture of the Krug makes me super appreciate current Krug. -K

Lucy Liu

I don’t think the dress–or her hair–photographed well, but she really tried to follow the theme. -M

I wish I could have seen this live. -K

Jennifer Lopez, Stefano Gabbana, Domenico Dolce

J Lo is in mourning, obvs. For her singlehood maybe because this was around the time she married Marc Anthony. -M

This is more undergarment. -K

Eva Mendes

This has boob issues but it’s fun and her hair is wonderful. -M

Her hair is so big and amazing. -K

Margherita Missoni

France in the 1700s, Margherita, not the rivera in 2004. -M

Is she wearing a tiara? -K

Julianne Moore

Remember when she actually wore color? -M

Those shoes are the worst and the fit might be loose and sung all at once BUT I do love the color. -K

Mandy Moore

I like the top but the color is so sad. -M

Sad and drab. -K

Carolyn Murphy

Maybe she was sick for 2003’s event and wanted to wear the dress she had selected. -M

That fabric looks inexpensive and dingy. -K

Natalie Portman

The color is lovely. I can’t say the same for those shoes. -M

Those shoes also look too big. -K

Carine Roitfeld

Carine doesn’t give a shit about the theme, she will look better than everyone else anyway. -M

Is that fringe on her hip? -K

Helen Lee Schifter

This dress is a total hoot! It’s ugly and the colors hurt my eyes, but oh so much fun! -M

This woman cares about theme and I dig it. -K

Bee Shaffer

Murdered on her wedding night. -M


Molly Sims

Pretty and shiny! -M

People were better at steaming their shiny gowns in the aughts. -K

Stella Tennant

Someone got the shoes right! Hallelujah! -M

Stella’s coat is also on theme but more like 18th century dudes, which I love. -K

Charlize Theron

Training for Snow White & the Huntsman. -M

Her hair is so gross. -K

Donald Trump and Melania

That dress is so incredibly ugly and I’m glad her hair is no longer that dark. -M

She looks like fancy dress Elvira. -K

Ivanka Trump

Ill-fitting nightie. -M

This is the worst. -K

Amber Valetta

I am so thrilled that Amber always goes all the way with the themes. This is PERFECTION. -M

This is so amazing. It really is everything I want in the Met Gala. CREATIVITY PEOPLE IS FUN EMBRACE IT! -K

Dita von Teese

Another ill-fitting nightie! WOOOO! -M

I’m very happy it is no longer 2004. -K

Vera Wang

I like this, and I know it’s not her thing, but Vera Wang would look so awesome with a red lip. -M

Indeed! More red lip for all! -K

Naomi Watts

The side:

Great colors and fits her well. Those shoes!!!!!!!!!!!! -M

She looks like Cinderella going up those steps and that friends is a compliment. -K

Daria Werbowy

Bathing suit cover up. -M

This photo makes me uncomfortable cause that slit is so close to showing us her fanny –as the Brits call it– but what I’m really seeing is thigh and light colored ruffle. She is still naked and not in a fun way. -K

Renee Zellweger

Girl, this is not your dress. -M

Renee needed to do something with her hair. -K

Anna Wintour

A jacket-dress over pants… hmmm… At least she’s not wearing the shades. -M

I like that jacket –well everything but the bubble hem. -K