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. (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 -- Beyoncé and Jay Z, Lupita Nyong'o, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West -- was high-pressure for the guys.

"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 Monáe swirled round in a knit Tadashi Shoji black and red cape. "For me, it's about redefining sexy," said Monáe, "showing people what they didn't know could work."

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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