May 19, 2008 12:00 PM

JENNIFER LOPEZ
Alberta Ferretti

Only two months after giving birth to twins Max and Emme, Lopez (in Lorraine Schwartz diamonds) and husband Marc Anthony turned out for what he called a “fantastic” night.

FERGIE
Calvin Klein Collection

“It’s my first Met ball, and everything’s gone smoothly,” said the singer, who accessorized her dress with a Cartier diamond cuff and pavé drop earrings.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON
Dolce & Gabbana

She wore a custom-made tulle dress and Fred Leighton jewels, but her most prized accessory? An estimated 3-carat diamond ring from fiancé Ryan Reynolds (see page 23).

EVA MENDES

Calvin Klein Collection

“Getting ready was easy—though hair and makeup had a nice job to do!” said Mendes, who spent most of the evening hanging with pal Liv Tyler.

EVA LONGORIA PARKER

Marchesa

“This reminds me of my wedding dress!” exclaimed Longoria Parker, who admitted that her stylist Robert Verdi “had to pour me into it.” But where was her husband, San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker? “He’s playing right now, so he couldn’t be here,” the actress said.

EXCLUSIVE! GIORGIO ARMANI MADE MY 7 DRESS

BEHIND THE SCENES IN MILAN AS THE DESIGNER PREPARES GOWNS FOR JULIA ROBERTS, Beyoncé Knowles KATIE HOLMES, VICTORIA BECKHAM AND SARAH LARSON

JULIA’S CHOICES

THE WINNER!

It’s less than two weeks before the May 5 Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala, and Giorgio Armani’s team is working frantically in his Milan atelier. Their mission: to finish gowns for Beyoncé, Katie Holmes, Victoria Beckham and Sarah Larson—plus multiple couture choices for Julia Roberts, Armani’s cohost of the superhero-themed event (along with George Clooney and Vogue’s Anna Wintour). “Julia wasn’t convinced of what she really wanted,” says Armani. “One minute she says she wants glamour. The next she wants something more simple. The choice was difficult for her.” In the end, the actress chose a’40s-inspired crystal-studded gown—his favorite!— for her red carpet jaunt. Fast forward to the big night: Despite the stress of whipping up nine dresses, “we had a really good time,” said Armani as he left the gala with his entourage. “The women all looked beautiful. It was an unforgettable evening.”

Beyoncé Knowles

Beyoncé’s rose silk organza confection “was originally short in my couture collection, so we elongated the dress to make it a gown,” Armani says of the one-of-a-kind creation. The newlywed, who married Jay-Z in April, “really loves looking remarkable. She loves to be a bit extravagant, but she’s elegantly sexy. And this color is so soft, the look is formidable.”

KATIE HOLMES

“Katie has delicate features, so she wanted to wear something bold for this party,” says Armani, noting that the brilliant red “really goes with the theme of fantasy.” In the vintage 1993 paillette-encrusted ball gown (with cobalt Christian Louboutins and a Boucheron necklace) “she looks really charming,” he adds. Husband Tom Cruise‘s reaction? “She looks beautiful!”

VICTORIA BECKHAM

When choosing an outfit, “David’s choice is very important for his wife,” says Armani, who sent the “very simple, very heavy” vintage 1989 beaded evening coat-dress to Victoria (above, with husband David Beckham) after she spotted it in his archives. “This dress is very elegant and more of a subtle look for her,” says Armani. “And Victoria of course loves to be on the cutting edge of fashion.”

SARAH LARSON

Larson (above, with boyfriend George Clooney) chose a black one-shoulder, crystal-studded column gown for her first Met Gala. Not only was the slinky dress “very beautiful on her,” the designer says of the vintage 1997 design, it needed very few alterations—model Larson fit into the runway sample perfectly.

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