NEW YORK —
The Met Gala red carpet gleamed on Monday with sparkly metallics and shiny, futuristic-looking fabrics as stars paid homage to this year's technology-centered theme.
The annual gala, a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, celebrated the new exhibit opening Thursday, "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,'' which considers the relationship between the human hand and the machine in creating fashion.
As always, guests included stars of film, music, television, sports, politics and of course fashion. And one of the biggest was Beyonce, who provided the finale to the red carpet show, just like last year. The pop superstar - with husband Jay Z nowhere in sight - wore a peach-hued, puffed-sleeved latex gown by Givenchy.
Asked how difficult it was to get into the gown, the singer replied that it was "a lot easier than last year,'' referring to her barely there look from last season, also by Givenchy.
Another showstopper: Lady Gaga, in towering purple platform shoes, fishnet stockings and a silvery Versace bodysuit paired with an equally silvery short jacket.
Katy Perry, like Gaga not shy about her red-carpet looks, wore black Prada with clunky gold embellishments and a long train, an old-school Tamagotchi digital pet on her belt as what she called her "tech contribution,'' and her hair done in a high black beehive.
Madonna was none too shy either, flaunting her exposed buttocks in lacy Givenchy, with her breasts only covered by lace and tape.
Nicki Minaj walked the carpet with Jeremy Scott, wearing the designer's creation of a sheer black gown highlighted by rhinestone buckles, straps, and a daring amount of cleavage. Scott, too, wore all-black with a liberal dose of sparkle.
Taking the exhibit's theme to the next level, Karolina Kurkova wore a "cognitive dress'' in partnership between Marchesa and IBM. The dusty blue tulle gown with a high-low hemline included 150 hand-placed LED lights. The dress changed hues based on an IBM analysis of various emotions expressed by users on social media.
And "Homeland'' actress Claire Danes also wore a tech-driven garment - a "fiber optic'' organza Cinderella gown in dove gray by Zac Posen. Her husband, actor Hugh Dancy, happily explained to onlookers the science behind Danes' illuminated dress, which Posen said was made "from fiber-optic woven organza which was sourced from France.''
Fashion's doyenne Anna Wintour, the powerful Vogue editor who was running the Met gala for the 18th year, kicked off the red-carpet proceedings in a fringed, white body-hugging gown by Chanel.
The strong show of silver, copper and other metallic looks - emphasizing the machine part of the evening's equation, as well as referencing technology - included Poppy Delevingne in low-cut silver tiered spangles and jewels on a Marchesa gown.
And Bette Midler was resplendent in a black-and-silver metallic gown by Marc Jacobs, who accompanied her on the carpet, and a whimsical wiry headdress and collar by Suzanne Bartsch.
Also in sparkly silver and black was a guest from the world of politics: Huma Abedin, in an Altuzarra gown, accompanied by her husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner.
Taylor Swift, one of the evening's co-hosts, wore a short silver sequined Louis Vuitton gown with high black gladiator sandals. Cindy Crawford wore a classic long metallic silver Balmain number.
Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander took the idea of "machine'' to a new level in a bold, multicolored Louis Vuitton mini. It, too, had a gladiator feel with a bright red bustier effect over armor-like copper and a loose skirt, paired with short Louis Vuitton combat boots.
On the eve of the Tony Award nominations, Sarah Jessica Parker honored the anticipated big winner, "Hamilton,'' with her own Founding Father coat and knee-length pants with gold buttons, all based on the look of Hamilton himself in the first act of Lin-Manuel Miranda's megahit musical.
The look was created by designers Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim of the Monse label.
Parker said she had already known she wanted to wear trousers. Then, attending a recent performance of "Hamilton'' with her two daughters, it came to her. She found herself examining the proportions of the men's costumes, designed by Paul Tazwell. "And I said, that's what I'm doing,'' she recounted. Parker paired the look with blue heels, adorned with brooches she found in her own closet.
There were some attention-getters among the men, too. Idris Elba, one of the evening's co-hosts, wore a white tie and black tails from Tom Ford. So how does he get ready for the Met Gala, he was asked?
"Take your time. Make sure your shirt's down and the whites of the cuffs are out,'' he said.
Uma Thurman paired her creamy Tommy Hilfiger gown with a huge vintage brooch from Cartier pinned to one shoulder strap.
Kylie Jenner wore Balmain for an Old Hollywood gown in silver, while her sister Kendall boasted a slinky Versace gown with a blue and white geometric design and sexy side cutouts.
Lupita Nyong'o donned a custom Calvin Klein Collection jade sequin dress with velvet straps, her hair standing high in a conical hairdo.
Ivanka Trump, meanwhile, chose a red Ralph Lauren jumpsuit-dress combination.
Kim Kardashian spoke volumes about the evening's theme as she walked in a silver Balmain gown. She told E! that she wanted to conjure a "blingy, sexy robot.''
Her husband, Kanye West, wore a silvery Balmain jewel-embellished denim jacket to match, along with ripped jeans. E! asked him to explain his look.
"Vibes,'' was all he said. And that was enough.