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The Fug Awards: The Best and Worst of the Costume Institute Gala

Jennifer toes the line of indecency, Joy blinds us with Pucci, and Amber — yeah, we dunno what she’s doing there.Photo: Getty Images

The Met ball is arguably even better than Oscar night: more fanciful fashion, more dramatic entrances, and a more perplexingly varied guest list that allows for the rare chance to see the likes of Hilary Duff in the same room as Julia Roberts. The only things missing are some actual awards. Until now. Herewith, our very special awards for the most memorable — even if we’d rather forget them — looks of that magical evening.

Best Argument for Panties: Jennifer Connelly’s black and white dress could’ve been an interesting, girlie homage to the tuxedo — hey, Bruce Wayne was technically a superhero — but instead we were stressing that Jennifer was seconds away from flashing her bajingo on hostess Anna Wintour’s dime. Which would be bad. Anna Wintour is not in the bajingo business.

Most Cornea-Searing: We love a little Pucci, but as Joy Bryant reminds us, a little goes a long way. Her blinding mosaic of shapes and South Beach colors feels like the artistic embodiment of our worst hangover — not to mention how the long sleeves, high neck, and full-length hem inch this into housedress territory. Pass the Tylenol. And some sunglasses.

Most Literal: Between the clingy metallic fabric and the puffy faux-cape, Amber Valletta’s gown is either the world’s least subtle interpretation of superhero fashion, or a rejected Queen Amidala costume from the Star Wars prequels. And is it just us, or is Amber an uncanny stand-in for Uma Thurman? Maybe we should be grateful she didn’t go for a My Super Ex-Girlfriend reference.

Bee stuns, Claire depresses, and Maggie mystifies.Photo: Getty Images

Highest Drama: We’re not sure how Bee Shaffer’s megaglamorous gown fits the theme, but who cares? A-Dubs Jr. looked gorgeous. Major bonus: At one point she managed to employ André Leon Talley as a train wrangler. If that’s not both super and heroic, we’re not sure what is.

Highest Trauma: Unless Claire Danes’s dress referenced a very obscure superhero — Depresso, say, or Mistress Bummed — it was merely a dour, constrictive downer. Not to mention that Claire herself seemed glum and nutrient-deprived. If that’s what it takes to fit a size 0, then we’ll take the twelve-ounce prime rib with extra horseradish, please.

Best Befuddlement: If life were The Hills, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s dress would be the Justin Bobby to our Audrina: Even though it felt wrong, we kept going back for more. From square on, the front hem stumpified Maggie, but from the side the lines fell more gracefully. Plus, for once, her hair didn’t look like she’d just come from spinning class. Does this mean we have to give Justin Bobby another chance too?

Beyoncé tests our patience, Mary-Kate dresses five times her age, and Elettra goes Ikea.Photo: Getty Images

Least Alluring Rut: This, above all others, was an event where Beyoncé could succumb to her nuttiest impulses, and instead she picked out a staid, baby-pink strapless gown cut like 90 percent of the other dresses she’s worn lately — and which crinkled like an accordion in the car. Rediscover your inner diva, B. Then have her return the hairdo to Jane Eyre.

Best Application for AARP Membership: When did Mary-Kate Olsen turn 70? Is there a top-secret Golden Girls prequel in the works?

Best Shot at an Ikea Sponsorship: Sorry, Elettra Wiedemann, but your color-blocked caftan reminded us of nothing so much as a high-fashion take on those omnipresent duvet covers that dress the bedroom sets on every cheap reality show ever made (so, pretty much all of them). Let’s hope you at least get some free Swedish meatballs out of this.

Eva, Scarlett, Katie, ow.Photo: Film Magic

Worst Face Forward: Nearly everyone. Was it bad lighting or bad luck that had so many famous faces photographing weirdly? Eva Longoria Parker, Scarlett Johansson, and Piper Perabo looked bizarrely washed-out (Perabo’s tar-colored lipstick didn’t help), while the tanorexic Misters Armani and Valentino conversely looked more like well-burnished leather than ever. Even Claudia Schiffer’s coloring seemed off, as did Katie Holmes’s — who, alongside Michelle Monaghan, also suffered from oppressive eye makeup. Whither the middle ground? —The Fug Girls

View a Party Lines slideshow from the Met gala.
Watch a video from the red carpet.
Related: Suberfabulous Friends: The Costume Institute Gala Field Guide
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The Fug Awards: The Best and Worst of the Costume Institute Gala