New York (AFP) - Barbadian superstar Rihanna wowed on the red carpet at this year's Met Gala in New York, the society fundraiser dubbed "the party of the year" that gathers the world's most famous faces in film, fashion and music.
Officially organized each May to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, under the stewardship of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour the evening has transformed into one of New York's most-watched fashion events.
On Monday Rihanna owned the red carpet in a dress by Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons fame, now the subject of the Costume Institute's first monographic show on a living designer since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983.
Rihanna's floral, asymmetrical dress was slashed at the thigh and covered in bold colored discs layered like flower petals, paired with gladiator-style stilettos with red straps wrapped around her leg from ankle to thigh.
It was a return to Met stardom for Rihanna, who in 2015 stunned in a yellow velvet gown with an enormous fur-trimmed yellow and gold train created by Chinese designer Guo Pei.
Lady Gaga took to Twitter to hail Rihanna once again as the "best dressed," saying the 29-year-old singer "captured the spirit of the night" and the "emotion of Kawakubo."
But tributes to the notoriously difficult to wear designer were rare on the red carpet, with most celebrities opting for other A-list designers.
Singer Katy Perry wore a puffy red gown with a transparent face veil from John Galliano, who was sacked from Christian Dior in 2011 for an anti-Semitic rant in a Paris cafe.
Madonna opted for a camouflage dress from Moschino, while models of the moment Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner almost bared all -- the former in a black mesh body suit from Alexander Wang and Jenner in slashed-at-the-chest-and-leg La Perla.
The 2016 gala raised around $13.5 million and tickets for this year's edition were reportedly $30,000 a head.
But money alone does not buy access: all guests have to be invited to attend, before checkbooks can come out.
Over the years, Wintour has raised around $150 million for the Costume Institute, which now bears her name.