The ostensible theme of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was China, but as ever, the gala celebrating it Monday night was really and truly about the extraordinary pull of celebrity and its current symbiotic relationship with the fashion world.
At Hollywood awards shows, actresses wear monotone gowns that Karl Lagerfeld refers to with derision as the fishtail dresses.
Here at the newly christened Anna Wintour Costume Center - named in honor of the Vogue editor who co-hosts the event and has raised tens of millions of dollars for the museum in the process - they don the sorts of outfits that would make Joan Rivers roll over in her grave.
Sarah Jessica Parker was at the top of the stairs in a flaming headdress designed by Philip Treacy and a dress with multiple unmatching fabrics.
Parker designed the dress in collaboration with H&M and she said, with a glint in her eye, "We started in October."
Certainly, she was not the only A-list star whose outfit this year was plotted with the precision of a military campaign.
As the gala has grown over the years to become a celebrity draw that rivals the Oscars - "Anna's taken it far beyond what anybody expected," Calvin Klein said - the planning has grown ever more complex.
Some of Parker's fellow thespians showed up wearing designers who pay them to appear in ad campaigns. For example, Jennifer Lawrence arrived in Dior, whose campaigns she has appeared in for the past couple of years. And Jennifer Lopez arrived wearing Donatella Versace and trailed by Donatella Versace.