The first time you go,” says Taylor Swift of the Met gala, “you have this wide-eyed look on your face the whole time, and you come away with stories you'll tell your grandchildren.” This year's experience was Swift's sixth gala—she wasn't just one of the many stunning guests but rather a glittering, shimmering cohost. And on the heels of her recent VOGUE cover, Swift's signature crimson-lipped, doe-eyed look has taken a hairpin turn—one that began with a snipped, white blonde-banged bob and thousands of cascading silver sequins.

“We wanted her to look like a video-game heroine,” says Louis Vuitton's creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, “so we made her a dress like strong, shiny armor.” Trimmed in leather and finished with Swiftian ruffles, the piece had a distinctive 3-D effect when viewed up close and, paired with sandals verging on the hard-core, emanated a blindingly cool-chick vibe that ruled the night.

Flanked by a new #squad for the evening (Idris Elba and Apple's Jony Ive were her honorary inductees) and backed by a solid wall of red roses, Swift stood tall in the receiving line, shaking hands with models and designers, actors and tech wunderkinds. As the steady flow of revelers slowed to a trickle, the ultimate fashionably late queen—Beyoncé, that is—arrived. While photographers hastened to get the picture of the night, Bey and Tay exchanged mutually glowing praise, posed gamely, and worked their angles. After a brief and deafening burst of shutters, Beyoncé said one word—“OK”—whereupon the clicks stopped and the women parted ways. This, surely, was one for the grandchildren.