NEW YORK, NY (AP) .-
A who's who of Hollywood and fashion elite hit the red carpet to celebrate the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art
's Costume Institute Gala Benefit.
The theme for Monday night's event was "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" to coincide with an elaborate new museum exhibition that highlights the work of the late designer, who committed suicide in February 2010 at age 40.
"I miss him terribly, not only as a person but as a designer," said a visibly emotional Madonna, who was wearing an icy blue gown by Stella McCartney.
"I think the fashion business is a little bit dull without him and I loved his provocative punk rock attitude. I think his designs were brilliant. I think he was brilliant. And I hope he's having fun wherever he is right now," she said.
Designer Rachel Roy chose her own gown for the event with McQueen in mind. She said she picked a more refined design to showcase that part of his personality.
"I wanted to show his more ethereal side," she said.
Many celebrities who attend the Met gala are escorted by the designer who dressed them. Blake Lively, in a goddess gown, was on the arm of Karl Lagerfeld, Diana Agron in a flame-red halter was with Michael Kors, and Gilles Mendel arrived with Taylor Swift, wearing a champagne-colored gown with black lace trim.
Sarah Jessica Parker, who once attended the annual Met event with McQueen as her date, chose a McQueen-label, beaded, high-neck gown in a champagne color.
Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive of luxury conglomerate PPR, and his wife, Salma Hayek, served as the event's honorary chairs. McCartney, Colin Firth and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour were vice chairs.
Sarah Burton, now the top designer at McQueen (who famously wardrobed Kate Middleton on her wedding day), wore a flowy white gown with a jeweled waist.
Others who walked the red carpet included Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony, both in Gucci; Burberry-clad couple Ryan Seacrest and Julianne Hough; Gwyneth Paltrow in a statuesque crystal-covered Stella McCartney gown; Penelope Cruz in a black tiered Oscar de la Renta; Jessica Alba in a shimmery, strapless gold Ralph Lauren; and Fergie in an embroidered platinum number with a flared mermaid hemline by Marchesa.
Jennifer Hudson's smoke-gray, tissue-weight ballgown was by Vera Wang, and Christina Hendricks' off-the-shoulder, ombre rust gown was by Carolina Herrera.
Donna Karan made Ashley Greene a one-of-a-kind blush tulle strapless gown with fishbone-pattern beads; and Kristen Stewart wore a crimson-colored column gown by Proenza Schouler with black embroidery.
Rumer Willis, wearing a black feather-and-bead gown by Badgley Mischka, said she was most looking forward to chatting with her mother, Demi Moore, once they got inside. But they didn't coordinate their outfits.
A reporter asked who designed Moore's dress: "You know I don't actually know," Willis said with a laugh.
Turns out, Moore had picked Prabal Gurung's ostrich feather-covered gown. Her McQueen-spirited feather headpiece was by his longtime collaborator Philip Treacy.
The "Savage Beauty" exhibit will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art starting Wednesday through July 31.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.