When Christine Baranski’s character on “The Gilded Age” looks out her window at the mansion across the street, she sees the equivalent of a Trump casino.
“She’s absolutely appalled by what money is going to do to her world,” Ms. Baranski said. “It was just wretched excess. But it was a glorious time that celebrated the new American aristocracy.”
Attending the Met Gala for the first time in her 50-year career, Ms. Baranski expected to see some parallels between that “age of rampant capitalism” and now — but from a slight distance.
“I’m wearing big Thom Browne sunglasses so I can ogle people without them knowing I’m looking at them,” the actress said, laughing. (She has a notably excellent laugh.)
Ms. Baranski also wore a full Thom Browne look: a floor-length tailored cape with a floor-length skirt, both covered in matte black sequins, which were made in Switzerland especially for Ms. Baranski. Beneath the cape, she wore a white bow tie and corset tied over a white shirt with a wingtip collar.
When she heard the gala’s theme was “gilded glamour,” Ms. Baranski’s initial fear was, “Am I going to have to drag some gigantic train up the stairs?” she said. “Most of the ladies who will show up might not ever have worn a corset, or heavy velvet, or brocade, or beading. I’ve spent 15-hour days in costumes like that,” including the week before the gala when shooting began on the second season of “The Gilded Age.”
“But when I saw Thom’s sketch, I said, ‘Oh, that’s so elegant and stately and sleek, but it’s modern, and I don’t have to drag anything around,’” she said.
Ms. Baranski also enjoyed feeling “more like a gentleman in the Gilded Age than a lady,” she said. “I always preferred men’s tailoring in fashion to women’s.” She likes to shop in London at Turnbull & Asser — “oh God, those shirts!” — and said the happiest she has ever been in black tie was at the Emmy Awards in 2010 when, instead of a gown, she wore a vintage Yves Saint Laurent jacket and Ralph Lauren satin trousers.
Yet there is still a “Cinderella feeling” about the whole affair — “a magic about it,” she said — in part because Monday is also her 70th birthday.
“You know, most people freak out about entering a decade, and I’m like, ‘OK, bring it on,’” she said. “I’ve never been busier.” (The day after the Met gala, she will shoot “The Good Fight” for two days, then travel to Newport, R.I., to shoot “The Gilded Age.”)
“I think I’ll celebrate it over the course of many days or many weeks or maybe just for a whole decade, who knows.”