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My Quest for Met Gala Red Carpet Shoes Ended at Lord & Taylor

Photo: Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images

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Welcome back to Shopping Journal, a new weekly feature where Racked editors share what they're buying and where.

I went to the Met Gala this week (Read all about it!). I found out the Tuesday prior that I would be covering the red carpet, but it took me until Thursday to realize I would need something to wear. Racked's new shopping editor Cory Baldwin connected me with the good people over at Armarium, a luxury fashion rental app with an insanely talented staff of stylists. They invited me over on Friday to take a look at their showroom dresses (disclosure: gratis) and founder Trisha Gregory picked out a few outfits for me, one of which was a Mugler dress that fit perfectly and had hardware that reminded me of head jacks from The Matrix — the best nod to the Manus x Machina theme I could find on such short notice.

But I still needed shoes. Luckily, my mom was in town this weekend and felt like shopping a whole bunch. We spent 15 minutes in Barney's new downtown location laughing our way through the shoe floor. Sometimes I spend Way Too Much Money on shoes, but I wasn't going to do it in front of mom. (The rumors are true, though. It's a really, really gorgeous space).

Mom brought me back to earth and suggested we go to Lord & Taylor. She loves Lord & Taylor because decades ago, she visited New York and it rained, so she went to the department store and found a red trenchcoat and boots. She still wears the trenchcoat, and she gave the boots to me when I went to college. I ground them into pulp over one semester thanks to my "aggressive gait."

When we arrived on the shoe floor, it was actual mayhem. They had an awful, awful DJ that made me feel weirdly old and confused. Boxes were strewn across the floor and a sales lady at the end of her wits was storming through yelling "DISGUSTING" at them, but not picking them up. At one point, I swear, a child was screaming along to the beat of whatever EDM remix was ruining my day.

A photo posted by Kenzie Bryant (@kenzbry) on

But then I found some shoes after about 30 minutes of casing the place: Cheap-o Steve Madden (my first pair!) black heels with a single strap across the bottom and the top that would let my dress make the statement. And when we got to the register, they were 30% off. When I wore them on red carpet, they only hurt a little.Kenzie Bryant, entertainment writer

Unlike Kenzie, I didn't attend the Met Gala, but I did go to the Costume Institute exhibit preview, which is one of my favorite things to do every year. I reviewed Manus x Machina (TLDR: it's GREAT), and also made my sole purchase of the week, the catalog for the exhibit. It's a nice coffee table book that would be even nicer if it were hardback, but at $50 the price is pretty right. (There's also a $295 limited-edition version.)

When I was in the gift shop at the end of the show, the catalog was the only thing there — we're talking walls and walls of books, which was weird! A Met employee informed me that "she" (Anna Wintour, of course) wanted the shop to look elegant for the Gala, and so only the catalogs were to be displayed that day. But now that Manus x Machina is open to the public, you can buy all sorts of stuff in the physical shop and online.—Julia Rubin, features editor

On Wednesday morning, I stopped by the opening of Balmain's new boutique at 100 Wooster Street —€” the brand's first flagship in the US —€” to tour the space and chat with creative director and baby-faced angel Olivier Rousteing, who looked no worse for the wear despite having dressed 13 celebs for Monday night's Met Gala and hosted the biggest after-party of that night.

After getting some selfie-snapping tips from the designer (at more than three million Instagram followers, he knows what he's doing) and hearing all about his dream of dressing President Obama, I wandered around the boutique picking out a few things I'd buy if I were a billionaire (and/or a member of the Kardashian/Jenner extended family, who at this point dress almost exclusively in Balmain).

I fell hard for a black romper — sorry, playsuit —€” with a so-hot-right-now lace-up bodice and small pockets at both hips ("For cell phones!" a sales assistant helpfully offered). Had I $4,390 to drop, I'd live in it all summer long. I also eyed a black-and-white swirl-print miniskirt with Balmain's signature gold buttons running down the front, which seemed like a comparative bargain at $1,575.

And on my way out, I stumbled across the dress version of the gold chainmail-adorned matching set Taylor Swift wore to a Grammys after-party back in February. Seeing as it was $16,000, I was almost afraid to breathe on it, though that didn't stop me from admiring the dress from all angles. If only I had Taylor's bank account.—Elana Fishman, entertainment editor

Now that the weather is getting a little warmer, I'm retraining myself to love walking around different neighborhoods by myself before I head out to any weekend plans with friends. Last Saturday morning, I ended up in the West Village and popped into Personnel of New York — Racked has been a huge fan of this store ever since it opened back in 2013, and I still really love it.

Their selection right now is great: lots of loose-fitting dresses and pants in lightweight materials for summer. I picked up the very uncharacteristically-me baby blue linen Rafaeli jumper from the label Persons. Despite its very specific shape and look, I feel like it'll be a super-easy wardrobe staple for the next few months.—Tiffany Yannetta, managing editor