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Monday, May 5, 2014

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Gala takes place tonight, but the event wasn’t always a spring thing — it used to be held in December. I went three times in the 1990s, when regular people could buy reasonably priced tickets for dessert and dancing after the celebrity dinner.

I still have the feather-trimmed dress I wore in 1994.


My friend Phil took the photo, and I saved it in a scrapbook with clips about the event. Click to enlarge.

I wore it most recently in 2010.

I don’t have the dresses I wore to the gala in 1993 and 1995. The 1993 dress was borrowed from my gorgeous sister.


Vintage selfie from Dec. 6, 1993.

I kept the invitation from ’95 ….

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… possibly because it had my favorite supermodel, Linda Evangelista, on it.

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I adored the red velvet dress I wore that year.

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Vintage selfie from Dec. 4, 1995.

I wore that dress many times, including two years earlier, at a New Year’s Eve celebration in 1993. In a photo from that night, I posed with my sister, who is wearing the same black dress that I’d borrowed from her for the Costume Institute earlier that month!

93 with terri

Terri Berry on the left, WendyB on the right. My birthday is in December, hence the balloon.

I still have the (costume jewelry) earrings I was wearing in the ’93 photo.


A few of the fake pearls are missing.

The last photo I have of the red dress is from a party in Shanghai in late 1998 or early 1999.

red dress

Partying in China.

By then I had ditched the costume-jewelry earrings in favor of a spectacular necklace that MrB had given me.  MrB gave me some truly gorgeous jewelry in the years before I started my own jewelry company. I still have all of it, even though I rarely wear it because, as I’ve mentioned before, it doesn’t make much sense for me to be promoting other designers’ work instead of my own. The red velvet dress is gone completely. I don’t recall when I got rid of it, but it had a good five or six year run.

Looking at these photos, I’m tempted to try that 1995 blonde streak again, even though MrB didn’t like it at the time. That was three years before we started dating, but we knew each other from the Wall Street Journal. I had left the Journal and taken a job in business news at CNN. MrB (then going by his maiden name, MrS) came through the CNN newsroom because he was having lunch with one of the news anchors. When I left the WSJ, I had dark hair and a perm, so he was taken aback by the change. Years later, he told me the streak made it look like my head had been “struck by lightning.” Well, duh! How did he think I got my superpowers? From a radioactive spider bite? That shit only happens in comic books!

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4 Responses to “Flashback: The Costume Institute Galas of the 1990s”

  1. stacy says:

    You look amazing in all photos (as usual). It’s a shame the tix aren’t reasonable anymore… would make the event more interesting/exciting if it were more than the same, boring old celebs attending year after year. Snore. I forgot this was today… that’s how unimportant it’s become.

  2. Love Mr.B’s “struck by lightning” comment, dear Wendy!! But I think he remembers it wrong…I think HE was the one who was struck by lightning; and now here you both are, living out your “happily ever after” together!! 😉