Walking Up Stairs in Dresses Proves Treacherous for Met Gala Guests

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From left: Maggie Grace, Eva Longoria Parker, Katie Couric, and Gayle King. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images, Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images, Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

The rain mercifully held off yesterday evening during the Met's Costume Institute Gala, so that was one less battle for attendees in their gigantic, tight-fitting gowns. Navigating the Metropolitan Museum steps and getting into cars with those dresses, however, was unavoidable.

“Someone did warn me this event was all stairs. This was my first time, and it’s basically terrifying,” Maggie Grace told us about trying to navigate the museums steps on the way to the ball. “But I only have four more stairs to go, I haven’t done a face-plant so far, so it’s a good night.” Camilla Bell explained how she got her voluminous custom-made Jason Wu gown into the car. “I had help, kind of folding it on top of my lap.” Eva Longoria thought her snug Marchesa dress was flattering. “If you can’t breathe, the fit is pretty good,” she said. She paused on the stairs, grasping a railing for support. How hard is it to walk in that dress, we asked? “Pretty hard,” Longoria said, and tottered up a few more steps. While Melania Trump was telling that us her bustled Christian Siriano dress was not hard to sit in, the Donald was behind her shaking his head. “It’s not easy,” he piped up. Katie Couric had no choice but to climb the Met stairs, but took the easy route when she left the office in her Carmen Marc Valvo dress: “I took the elevator because I thought I’d fall down the stairs, so I didn’t go through the newsroom,” she told us.

Gayle King announced that her date was Shelby Bryan. “That’s Anna Wintour’s beau,” Gayle told us, beaming. But Gayle was sitting at Oprah’s table. “He’s sitting with Anna,” she assured us. “It’s just that I needed help walking up the steps.”

Even dressed to the nines, guests were sanguine about the high humidity. “It’s not such a crisis on the guys' side. And the good thing is, we’re always in black so you can’t really see the fact that I’m sweating like a pig in here,” a tuxedo-clad Josh Jackson told us. Oprah let the weather dictate her hairstyle for the gala. “I wore it curly because I was here today with straight hair, and by the time I got back home, it was, like, all wilted, so I thought, it has to be curly tonight,” she said. Anna’s hair, of course, wouldn’t dare be unruly. “Fortunately my hair is very straight, so I’m okay,” she told us.

Zoe Saldana loved the humidity. “I’m from Queens, trust me, this is, to me, it’s like coming home. I can’t deal with the whole dry weather in L.A. I cannot. It’s insane — hair breaks, the skin cracks, it’s insane. This is amazing, we’re nice and dewy,” the Avatar star said.

And apparently, all the relationship drama has made the cast of Gossip Girl skittish around reporters, because Penn Badgley, Jessica Szohr, and Blake Lively each didn’t so much as turn their heads as they hustled up the stairs, surrounded by flacks, and went inside.

Emma Watson is finishing her first year of college, and is contending with finals. “I have just had one of my exams. It went pretty well, which is good, two left,” she said. Former White House social secretary Desirée Rogers hasn’t decided what her next step will be, but she did move out of Washington. “I just moved today,” she told us. “I’m headed to Chicago.” And Oprah Winfrey expected to have a great time at the gala. “I like tequila, and will have a few shots this evening,” she said.

The arrivals were drawn out for quite a while as we waited and waited breathlessly for Lady Gaga to get there. After everybody was pretty much inside, there was a collective gasp as each late-arriving SUV drew up to the curb, only to have someone less, uh, colorful step out. Mayor Bloomberg, Charlie Rose, and Katie Couric were among those late arrivals. The wait only heightened expectations, and finally, around 9 p.m., a Met representative quietly came around and informed the reporters that Lady Gaga would not be walking the red carpet. At least now we know why.