NEW YORK (AP) -- Rihanna shut down the Met Gala's red carpet in a regal yellow coat. And then came Bey.
Dressed lavishly by Chinese designer Guo Pei, Rihanna clutched her fur-trim frock closed and dragged a mammoth train up the grand staircase Monday during one of fashion's biggest nights of the year.
She was a latecomer, but Beyonce was even later, wearing a peekaboo custom Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci adorned with multicolored crystals and stones. Her high ponytail and barely there ensemble were playful counterpoints to Rihanna's swirls of royal gold and matching headpiece. (Note: No Bey-Jay-Solange elevator smackdowns like last year, as far as we know.)
The evening, aimed at raising millions for the museum's Anna Wintour Costume Center, was inspired by the Met's new exhibit, "China: Through the Looking Glass." While some in the parade of celebrity guests embraced the East-leaning theme, others looked more ready for the Waldorf than the highly anticipated Met Gala.
Some highs and not-so-much:
THE ROYAL PALETTE
Reds and golds ruled, but Uma Thurman (killer jade column earrings), Selena Gomez (in Vera Wang) and Sofia Vergara (with Joe Manganiello) represented in white. So did sexy Kim Kardashian, in the first design by Peter Dundas for Roberto Cavalli. Kardashian's sheer lace with feathers at the bottom had some people online making comparisons to a similar Givenchy gown in black that Beyonce wore to the Met Gala in 2012. Thurman had hotelier Andre Balazs back by her side.
Justin Bieber broke away from George Clooney's traditional tuxedo tails and the white ties of Neil Patrick Harris and his husband, David Burtka, with a loud black jacket screaming gold dragon motif. Jay Z went for a classic black tuxedo when he walked wife Beyonce up the stairs. That's about it for the men.
SARAH JESSICA PARKER'S HEAD
Her black dress was an H&M creation made of repurposed fabrics. On her head was a creation all its own, a fiery red headpiece from one of her regular collaborators, hat designer Philip Treacy. It had long tassels and touches of silver as it towered high. Of the dress, Parker said it was embellished with vintage fabrics and old beads sent from Sweden.
ANNE HATHAWAY'S HOOD
Star Wars, declared the peanut gallery. She wore a hooded, cap-sleeve Ralph Lauren Collection custom gold lame column evening dress -- HOOD being the operative word. The company noted the fabric was made from real metal fibers milled in Italy.
GAGA AT THE OPERA
Lady Gaga donned a velvet net evening coat hand-embroidered with black rhinestones and 14,000 feathers, according to the design house, Balenciaga. Underneath was a black crepe jumpsuit sparkling in Swarovski crystals. The whole deal was wrapped up with a huge silk sash ala traditional Chinese opera gowns. Nobody can say Gaga, like many others, didn't run with the idea of China, custom hair combs and all, thanks to Balenciaga designer Alexander Wang.