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Picture Post: Red-carpet superheroes... and villains

Susannah Frankel
Wednesday 07 May 2008 00:00 BST

It's the Oscars of the fashion industry, but if the looks on parade at Monday's Costume Institute gala in New York were anything to go by, that industry is in a sorry state of disarray.

Hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour (in a Starlight Express moment, perhaps taking the superhero theme somewhat literally) and Giorgio Armani (looking as buff, relaxed and fashionably weathered as ever) the normally ultra-glamorous event fell flat as the proverbial pancake, where the frocks were concerned at least.

Outfits that stood out were notable only for their drag/gratuitous nudity/plain old-fashioned faux pas value.

Stand up and be counted, then, Gisele Bündchen, for appearing more like a runner-up in Strictly Come Dancing than the world's most highly paid model.

Or how about Katie Holmes, who's clearly sharing a sunbed with her new best friend, Victoria Beckham? Someone really ought to have warned her that tomato red and orange is a challenging colour combination and that her razor-sharp bob is more Playmobil nurse than intergalactic heroine.

And what of the aforementioned Mrs Beckham? Even by this particular fashion car crash's standards, her dress was disastrous. Nancy Reagan circa 1985, anyone? That cool-as-a-cucumber chignon, meanwhile, isn't kidding anyone. A Hitchcock heroine the artist formerly known as Posh most certainly is not.

Ending on a more positive note, Scarlett Johansson looks just as gorgeous as might be expected, all peaches and cream, in a sweet and saucy interpretation of a 1950s prom dress. So, too, does Bee Shaffer (Anna Wintour junior) playing the fairy-tale princess – which a young woman can get away with, when her mother's throwing the party.

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