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Met Gala 2014 fashion hits, misses

Monday night’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala launched the museum’s Charles James exhibition, but ask most anyone watching a live feed of the arrivals at the gala or flipping through red carpet looks on Style.com, and they would likely be hard pressed to tell you anything about the work of the British-born James, who revolutionized mid-century fashion.

What they could tell you after digesting all of those red carpet photos is that the night belonged to those celebrities who chose to replace the traditional bodice of their evening gowns with crop tops. Or those who opted to show their skin with a thigh-high slit. If all else failed, they both cropped and slitted.

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Before we look at the trends, the best, and the wonderfully abysmal, you’re no doubt wondering about Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen. Brady’s hair was presentable, Gisele showed a bit of décolletage in a clinging Balenciaga gown, and her friend, photographer Mario Testino, posted the couple acting all fuzzy and gooey on Instagram.

On with the show.

JUSTIN LANE/EPA

The worst

Lupita Nyong’o

Oh dear. Perhaps Nyong’o thought she was attending a Met retrospective of Cher’s costumes? After a flawless string of award season successes, it was a bit disheartening to see Nyong’o looking like a flapper dressed for a “Buck Rogers” theme party.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Katie Holmes

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Her mustard-hued, off-the-shoulder Marchesa gown left us hungry for hot dogs and desperate to tell her that this fabric was far too heavy and cumbersome for a night that is meant for fun fashion experiments.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Zoe Saldana

Holy Jennifer Lawrence! We saw Lawrence in a bizarrely gathered white Dior gown during the Golden Globes that bunched in all the wrong places. Saldana sported a similar (albeit less offensive) gown from Michal Kors.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Lena Dunham

I was really hoping that the “Girls” star would take this opportunity to show how savvy she’s become with her style acumen. She comes close in this Giambattista Valli cocktail dress, but a formal event calls for a gown, not a garden party dress.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris

What in the name of the “Addams Family” is going on here? Give these gents credit for going out on a limb in their Thom Browne tuxes. Then let’s go ahead and remove that credit (and then some) for the shameless attention grabbing looks.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Mrs. Roper from “Three’s Company” called. She’d like her kaftan back.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Lea Michele

This is lovely and shimmering — especially the fanny pack around her waist.

Justin Lane/EPA

Kirsten Dunst

Where are the fashion storm troopers when you need them? Dunst may have set sci-fi hearts aflutter, but back on planet Earth, her Death Star Rodarte column gown was more gimmick than glamour.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Kristen Stewart

The actress looked cranky on the carpet, and with good reason. Despite the fact that she was wearing a much-coveted Chanel haute couture dress with Louboutin shoes, the fussy black and gold sequin tulle and feather embroidered frock was too complicated to comprehend.

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Kate Upton

And the award for most unflattering gown of the evening goes to Kate Upton and her French-maid-goes-to-the-Moulin-Rouge ensemble.

Timothy A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Sandra Lee

Indulge me a minute and let me carefully break this one down. Sandra Lee opted to channel Cinderella. She pulled together tulle on satin with a couple of throw pillows on her hips for good measure. I’m guessing it’s semi-homemade couture.

Justin Lane/EPA

Best

Emma Stone

The “Spiderman” actress carefully read the crop top and the high slit trend memo carefully, and then upped the sartorial volume with bubble gum and cotton candy hues. She also had the luxury of one of the evening’s best accessories: boyfriend Andrew Garfield.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Jessica Pare

The “Mad Men” actress found the ideal mix of classic and cutting-edge in this graphic black and white Michael Kors gown with a sweetheart neckline that recalled the grace of Audrey Hepburn.

Justin Lane/EPA

Kristen Wiig

Sporting freshly chopped locks and designer Alexander Wang at her side, funny lady Kristen Wiig continued her fashion evolution from her days as a misplaced comedian on the red carpet to glamorous vamp.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

More in style:

George Clooney’s proposal: Was it love, or his AARP card?; The rise of party planner AJ Williams; Overalls are everywhere, looking more wearable than ever; Mitchell Gold, Bob Williams celebrate 25 years of furniture; West Elm enlists Mass. artists

Christopher Muther can be reached at muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther
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