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Costume Institute Gala a Relaxed Affair with Oprah at Helm
Sarah Jessica Parker Oprah Winfrey & Oscar de la Renta Sienna Miller & Jude Law
Sarah Jessica Parker
Oscar de la Renta & Oprah Winfrey
Sienna Miller & Jude Law
L'Wren Scott & Mick Jagger Taylor Swift Donatella Versace
L'Wren Scott & Mick Jagger
Taylor Swift
Donatella Versace
Marion Cotillard Liv Tyler, Stella McCartney, Kate Hudson Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake
Marion Cotillard
Liv Tyler, Stella McCartney & Kate Hudson
Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake

New York, May 3, 2010 – “Oprah does represent to me the complete American woman, an incredible work ethic, energy, she loves philanthropy; I mean, she’s just everywoman,” Anna Wintour told reporters as she entered the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute gala on Monday.  This year’s exhibition is American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, so Oprah Winfrey was the perfect gala co-chair.

Oprah arrived on the arm of Oscar de la Renta, who designed her dress for the ball.  “Being able to celebrate the American woman with the quintessential American designer is the most fun,” a beaming Winfrey said.  “I feel like Pretty Woman.”

And Oprah’s trademark warmth seemed to permeate this very chic evening.  The famous attendees seemed to be more relaxed than in previous years, laughing and air-kissing as they made their way up the museum’s steps.  Eva Longoria Parker joked about her tight-fitting dress.  Maggie Grace laughed about the sticky East Coast weather.  “It’s very English weather.  It can’t make up its mind if it’s really going to rain or not," she said.

Emma Watson told Burberry designer Christopher Bailey that she wanted her dress for the gala to be white and off-the-shoulder.  “Christopher did the rest and brought it to life and made it cool and young,” the Harry Potter star said. 

Michael Kors recalled the first time he’d met Oprah.  “The first time I did Oprah’s show, I almost had a heart attack,” Kors said, laughing.  “The audience made me crazy, but she’s one of a kind.”

Oprah really does seem to put everyone at ease, and perhaps most telling, even celebrities who normally avoid the media completely joked and schmoozed with the reporters lining the museum stairs.  Kirsten Dunst chattered about her Rodarte for Gap dress, which was to be auctioned off along with others to benefit the Costume Institute.  Mariska Hargitay was unusually easygoing; she’d just met Oprah a couple of weeks previously at an awards luncheon.  “That was a thrill,” Hargitay gushed.

And Katie Couric, who arrived a bit late, and who is normally unapproachable at red carpets events, was relaxed and gracious and laughing; and no, she told us that she didn’t wear her designer gown on the CBS Evening News broadcast; she changed into afterward.

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