Kevin Mazur / WireImage 1 / 7
Kevin Mazur / WireImage 1 / 7

To us, it's the best Madonna has looked in years. Her appearance Monday night at the Costume Institute's annual fashion extravaganza at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art was a return to old-school Madonna, before the biceps that could crush coal into diamonds, before the strangely puffy cheeks, and before the punishing gym regimen and restricted diet that have long seemed to define her life.

Styling a silhouette-hugging satin gown in an ultra-flattering steel blue designed by her pal, Stella McCartney, the Big M, 52, looked stunning and surprisingly age appropriate as she showed off a figure that women of any generation would trample their grandmas to achieve (click through to see her silver star-bedecked ensemble from several angles).

But Madonna apparently wasn't seeing what we were seeing, and her red-carpet stroll betrayed a crack in her once impenetrable self-esteem.

"I feel fat in my dress," she confessed to reporters (via Us Weekly).

On the one hand, it's nice to know Madonna experiences human emotion; on the other, she has two daughters, 14-year-old Lourdes and 5-year-old Mercy, looking to her for guidance through the always-fraught-with-self-doubt formative years.

For their sake, shouldn't she embrace her body image, whether muscle-bound, average or "Material Girl" curvy?

What say you of Madonna's use of the (other) f-word? A refreshing moment of honesty for a superstar not often given to weakness, or a possible sign that she's spent too many years obsessing over obtaining a perfectly sculpted body?

Tell us in the comments …


Madonna's plan for a Malawi school for girls implodes

Did Madonna embarrass Lourdes on the red carpet?

Read more Hot Gossip