When I tell you that I could talk to you about the Met Ball for hours, I really do mean hours. There’s always so much to see and then so much to say about it all, even (or maybe especially) if all the outfits the girls trot out onto that long red carpet aren’t always so great.
And you know me: if nothing else, I love a theme. I love the freedom to play around, to transform, to reinvent. I love the idea of escaping your life, even for a night, through fashion! Put the right thing on and you can become someone else, at least until you take it off. But as long as you’re living it, the fantasy can be as real as you make it.
This year’s Met Gala was part two of “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” In case you need a refresher, I figured I could remind you of some of the ways I interpreted it last year…
This time around, the dress code was “Gilded Glamor and White Tie.” Basically, the Gilded Age is a period of American history: 1870 to 1890, when there was lots of money in New York and the girls were all dressed in satin and silk, corsets and opera gloves, bows and frills, hats with feathers. It was an era of excess, when more was more was more. Everything was grand, and minimalism wasn’t really a thing. Come to think of it, minimalism probably would have been a faux-pas…
Anyways, because the theme this year was so American, I’ve been thinking a lot about the first time I ever styled a client for the Met. It was 2014 and I was still early on in my career, living on this awful fashion diet of rejections from all the luxury brands I was trying to pull from for my roster of clients. It turned out to be my breakout year. That was when I put Z in that yellow Miuniku coat the internet will never forget about. I remember she stepped out of the car at New York Fashion Week and walked up the steps of the Lincoln Center and, all of a sudden, there were twelve photographers snapping her picture! I knew right then that something was happening and that nothing would be the same after. The next day she was on the cover of WWD. And our lives changed.
That May, I styled Lala Anthony for the Met. The theme was Charles James, who a lot of people consider to be America’s most well-known couturier. He was the one who did that crazy Swan dress back in the 50s that had 30 layers of tulle on it, and then that other one with all the spiral zippers so a woman wearing it could undress and put on another dress if she was in a taxi.
I remember being terrified! I was so, so nervous. Styling your first Met client is a dream for any stylist, because you know everyone is going to see the look. And that’s a lot of pressure! I didn’t want to fuck it up. The dress we ended up pulling was this really bold purple cut-out gown we had made custom from Cushnie et Ochs, an American brand that was still pretty young at the time. I think it was Anna who recommended them, but it's been so long that I can't remember anymore... And keep in mind this was way before the cut-out came back as a trend at all the SS22 shows, so we were ahead of the curve!
I think Lala looked so elegant, and I'm grateful to her for trusting me enough to style her for fashion's biggest night. And it's crazy looking back on that moment because so much has changed since then. I went from just dressing girls for the Met to being invited myself—twice. And I’ve styled so many clients for the carpet that I’ve lost track of them. I did ten for the Met last year. And even before that, Z and I were making magic...
This year, it was three clients, and I dressed all of them in black…you know I love a surprise. I’m going to talk you through all those looks and all my choices over the next couple of days. I did Venus Williams, Kerry Washington and Cardi B (for the afterparty). And I can’t wait to hear what you think.