Met Costume Institute Gala: Anna Wintour honored during white-tie event

Vogue's Anna Wintour wore Chanel couture to walk Vogue's Anna Wintour wore Chanel couture to walk the red carpet at the "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan on Monday, May 5, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Evan Agostini

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The woman of the night was Anna Wintour, but it was the men who took center stage -- for the first time requested to wear white tie and tails -- for the annual Met Gala and the opening of the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Monday night.

The star-studded event -- Beyonce and Jay Z, Lupita Nyong'o, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West -- was high-pressure for the guys.

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"You need help," admitted Bradley Cooper (wearing Tom Ford).

The guys interpreted the dress code their own way. Neil Patrick Harris -- who wasn't speaking, preserving his voice for his "Hedwig" gig on Broadway -- wore a massive white cummerbund with a Thom Browne coat. Frank Ocean and Jake Gyllenhaal did up white dinner jackets, Amar'e Stoudemire rocked a navy Lanvin tux with black walking stick.

For the women, black-and-white ruled. Sarah Jessica Parker in a stunner Oscar de la Renta gown with his signature stitched in red on the train, Hailee Steinfeld in a sporty Prabal Gurung tank dress with delicate pink buttons down the back, Zoe Saldana in Michael Kors and Anna Kendrick in sexy, cutout J. Mendel.

Nyong'o went eclectic in a green Prada beaded net dress. And Janelle Monae swirled round in a knit Tadashi Shoji black and red cape. "For me, it's about redefining sexy," said Monae, "showing people what they didn't know could work."

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The celebrities celebrated the costume institute's new exhibit, "Charles James: Beyond Fashion," which opens Thursday, tracing the career of the London-born designer, one of the greatest to have worked in America in the tradition of haute couture.

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