How not to look like a Chinese restaurant waitress at the Met Ball

How not to look like a Chinese restaurant waitress at the Met Ball
Emily Blunt (left) was praised while Actress Chloe Sevigny (right) was described by the Chinese media as “possessed by female ghost”

Beijing - "How is one to dress in the Chinese style and not be like a waitress?" asked a headline on the Chinese website Sohu.

Another, on the NetEase website, declared: "Chinese style that gives you the shivers! Foreign actresses collectively dressed abnormally."

That was the Chinese media shaking their heads at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gala on Monday in New York, where Hollywood stars dressed according to the museum's theme of China to mind-boggling - or eyeball-rolling - effect.

Not only did Sarah Jessica Parker's Philip Treacy flame headdress go viral on the Chinese Internet, inspiring references to Huanhuan, a Beijing Olympics mascot, other stars also came under fire for their awful China references.

Actress Chloe Sevigny, in a J.W. Anderson mishmash of silks, and model Georgia May Jagger, in a Gucci embroidered robe, were mocked for their vintage choices on Sohu.

Sevigny was one of the stars captioned "possessed by female ghost". Jagger's dress was tagged "Qing palace time travel". In addition to headdresses and silks, capes, gold gowns and red dresses were the top trends at the gala.

However, although singer Lady Gaga (in a Balenciaga cape) and actress Anne Hathaway (in a gold Ralph Lauren) were praised in the American media for their picks, the Chinese media wondered if they had the right country. Lady Gaga's dress was more Japanese than Chinese, and Hathaway's Middle Eastern, said Sohu.

The Chinese stars were not spared either. To the disappointment of Chinese website CRI Online, for instance, actresses including Gao Yuanyuan, Vicki Zhao and Ni Ni did not seize the chance to do China proud, but wore anonymous gowns by foreign brands.

Instead, the faces of Chinese cinema who were left to keep the flag flying were Gong Li (in a Roberto Cavalli qipao), Zhang Ziyi (a Carolina Herrara frog-buttoned dress) and Fan Bingbing (a gold- sequinned gown and cape by Chinese designer Christopher Bu).

CRI Online had praise for foreign stars. Emily Blunt and Rita Ora were cited for choosing modern-looking, Chinese-style dresses by Prada and Tom Ford.

Although Rihanna's grand robe by Chinese designer Guo Pei was ridiculed on the Internet for its resemblance to an omelette, CRI said it was a "serious, pure interpretation of the so-called Chinese style".

Defending the singer, it added: "When you see a Chinese model in it, you will suddenly find that the draggy fur robe, whoever wears it, becomes an egg pancake."

This article was first published on May 7, 2015.
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