The stars dressed in their very best at the Costume Institute gala (search) — dubbed the "party of the year" — at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (search).

An eclectic mix of celebrities arrived Monday night to celebrate the opening of the "Chanel" exhibit (search), one of the most eagerly anticipated fashion retrospectives. The exhibit opens Thursday.

"There is no other example in the world of fashion for a label surviving a hundred years and being still in the top of fashion and the top of trendiness," Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel's designer since 1983, told AP Television News.

Nicole Kidman, who is the face of Chanel No. 5 perfume, was co-chair of the gala, along with Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine.

Guests included Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson, Sheryl Crow, Jessica Simpson, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Marcia Cross, Elijah Wood and, yes, Marilyn Manson, who wore a black military coat with black eye makeup and dark lipstick.

"I'm just looking forward to trying to create and bring back the excitement of when art and fashion crossed together with Salvador Dali and (Elsa) Schiaparelli and tried to make people excited about being dressed up again," Manson told AP Television News.

Melania Trump, bride of Donald Trump, was among those dressed in Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's traditional colors of black and white. Her strapless black gown had a white trim at the hem. Wintour and Naomi Watts wore white. Among those dressed in black were Mariska Hargitay and Lauren Bush.

Going against the black and white trend: Elle Macpherson, who wore a sea-foam strapless corset gown; Lil' Kim, who was dressed in red; and Christian Slater, who wore a bright red shirt with his dark suit.

"Young, really young girls, love Chanel, and also, obviously, the socialites love it," said Carmen Electra, who wore a sleek, sweetheart neckline gown. "The fact that it crossed over is so amazing, so yeah, I'm a huge fan."