10 A-List Stylists On Their “Camp” Met Gala Creations

What goes into the making of a Met Gala look

by Tu M. Tran

8 May 2019

Fashion and entertainment’s biggest stars ascended in New York on Monday night for the Met Gala, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute annual fundraiser. Feathers, sequins and bows were out in full force on the pink carpet as guests came in their “campest” ensembles for this year’s theme “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” We speak to Hollywood’s top stylists on what it took to produce the looks. 

Lupita Nyong’o

Wearing: Versace
Stylist: Micaela Erlanger @micaela

Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for THR

Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for THR

I found [the theme] rather fun – over-the-top and a bit theatrical. The look we created for it was completely custom head to toe. We looked at a lot of sketches but this one was so bold and colourful and unlike anything else we have done. We started work on it months ago – long before the Oscars – but it took a so long to create that we only had time to fit it a few days before the Met. One of my favourite things about the look is the jacket, that feels like a pair of butterfly wings.

Emily Blunt

Wearing: Michael Kors
Stylist: Jessica Paster @highheelprncess

Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for THR

Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for THR

When the theme was first announced, we scratched our heads because it’s such a broad definition. What we took from it was over-the-top, like Diana Ross and Cher, back when people could have fun on the red carpet.

We decided to work with Michael Kors because Emily and I have a great relationship with the brand. We started a few months ago around award season. Michael Kors sent us a few sketches and we picked two. We did our first fitting one and a half weeks ago which was when we decided on the one. Our motto for this is that she’s the ultimate ‘Golden Girl.’ My favourite thing about this look are all the gorgeous embroidered flowers. There’s a three dimensional feeling to it that I love.

Tessa Thompson

Wearing: Chanel
Stylist: Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald @waymanandmicah

Micah: As it had been explained to us, camp is the exaggeration of reality. With Tessa’s look, we took the dress that is the upstanding conservative individual and built the look off of ones inner kinks that for one night only they get to show on the public stage. We knew that the look has a strong Chanel presence from the detailing, colour, and soft silhouette. It felt very heritage to the brand and we also loved that the specific dress lent itself to interpretation for us to bring in our camp element. One word to describe this look would be “CHAmatrix.”

Wayman: We started reviewing Chanel’s archive haute couture collections. Simultaneously, Tessa was pulling her inspiration for how she wanted to present herself for the Met Gala. She was very clear on creating a vision and a voice that marries the theme of the Gala, as well as the aesthetic and heritage of Chanel. Tessa, the Chanel PR team, and ourselves brainstormed, seeking collections that we loved nuance wise and that we could introduce elements into, making sure we brought that edge that Tessa conveys. We also looked at the beauty and accessory aesthetic of the Chanel brand for the look too.

Kristen Stewart

Wearing: Chanel
Stylist: Tara Swennen @taraswennen

Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage

Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage

This look came together as an ode to the Chanel family. The look itself embodies Coco’s essence and style, the outfit came from Karl’s last collection, and the shoes embody Virginie’s new modern take.

I love the simplicity of this look- while we knew most would go over the top for this theme, we decided to interpret “Camp” as more casual. We loved the idea of Kristen attending the ball in pants and sneakers. We fit a few times Los Angeles and the final touches were added the morning of in New York. The collaboration with the Chanel team is always a dream.

The glam was what brought the look over the top. Jillian Dempsey and Adir Abergel took inspiration from David Bowie to create the night’s [beauty] look.

Elle Fanning

Wearing: Miu Miu
Stylist: Samantha McMillen @samanthamcmillen_stylist

Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage

Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage

The Met Gala is a lot of fun, but it can be tough depending on the theme. In the past, it didn’t seem to matter as much if you went with the theme or not, but it seems like that’s completely changed in the last six or seven years. Now, people are really trying to embrace it. There are so many things you can do with “Camp: Notes on Fashion”. I think the last time people had this much fun was probably with the Punk: Chaos to Couture theme in 2013. Last year’s was really amazing, too. Zendaya in her Versace interpretation of Joan of Arc was one of my favourite looks of all time. The best part is that it’s about the fashion designers. It’s their night, so it’s fun when they can really express themselves through their art and even better when they take guests who really bring those creations to life.

It was really fun creating this look with Miu Miu. We started with the concept of the charm necklaces. As it was coming together we definitely saw it going in a Miu Miu Barbie direction – Mali-Miu Barbie! It’s always fun collaborating with Miu Miu. 

Ashley Graham

Wearing: Custom Gucci in collaboration with Dapper Dan
Stylist: Jordan Foster @jordiefos

Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images

I actually found this theme to be the least difficult compared to all my other Met Gala years (my first Met was in 2014).  We have felt freedom to have as much fun as we want and haven’t felt restrained by anything. It’s been a very fun year. My goal was to encourage Ashley to just do what she always does which is be her beautiful, amazing, fun, confident self….with crystals and feathers on top!

This look was completely custom. In our first meeting, which was only two and a half weeks ago, myself, Ashley and the design team all had ideas and inspiration images of what we were thinking. We very quickly decided which direction we all wanted to go and a few days later we had our first fitting (of four in total). It was a completely collaborative effort, with everyone encouraging and trusting each other with their creativity. Our inspiration came from Elton John, Rihanna, Alaia Fall 1991 collection, Bob Mackie, Bette Midler, and Dapper Dan.

When designing for the Met you just have to follow your gut and we all felt like we had come up with something that would suit both Ashley and [Dapper Dan] and it all just came together kind of perfectly. Hopefully we were right!

I would describe the look as “Campy Harlem.”

Lana Condor

Wearing: Giambattista Valli Couture
Stylist: Jessica Paster @highheelprncess

Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Mark Hotel

Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Mark Hotel

When Lana was invited, I started going through all the collections. She’s 21 years old and nothing beats the youth and joy of going to your first Met Ball so I wanted to keep true to that. I knew I wanted couture for her and the Giambattista Vali Couture Spring 2019 dress with the 50 feet train.

Lana is shooting the sequel to ‘To All The Boys I Loved Before’ in Vancouver so I flew up there and brought a few dresses for her to try on. When we tried everything, we just loved this tulle one. It’s just fun and I loved how she brightened up when she tried it on.

Laura Harrier

Wearing: Louis Vuitton
Stylist: Danielle Nachmani @daniellenachmani

Photo by Kevin Tachman/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Photo by Kevin Tachman/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Camp is such an amazing opportunity to celebrate what makes fashion fun and allow it to be worn as an art form on a bolder scale. It was so exciting to embrace the theme and really run with it.

For this look, we were fortunate enough to be working with Nicolas Ghesquiere/Louis Vuitton. Nicolas created a custom look for Laura that took inspiration from his most recent collection. We only just fit the dress for the first time on Thursday and had a second fitting the night before the Met.

One of my favourite things about this look is the silhouette and structure of the dress. It’s so powerful.

Emma Roberts

Wearing: Giambattista Valli Couture
Stylist: Brit and Kara Elkin @elkin

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

It’s an incredible theme because it’s based in excess and extravagance yet it’s so broad, spanning time from Versailles to modern-day Ryan Murphy. There is just so much that you can do with this theme, which makes it so versatile and creatively inspiring.

Being that [Emma] was going with Ryan Murphy at his table versus going with a brand – we had free creative range with the look. Our first thought was Giambattista Vali Couture because he exists in such extravagance and really embodies the theme. The latest GBV couture show was one of our favourites. Although we looked through the archives, we landed on this incredible coral ruffle dress from the latest collection that felt so “campy” and also so Emma. It was the perfect mix of “Valley of the Dolls” and a Ryan Murphy show.  It was almost a caricature of Emma. The colour was beyond with her skin and hair and we knew vintage accessories would take it to the next level. It read: FUN and over the top, just what we love about Emma. We call this look “Tulle Romance.”

Zoe Saldana

Wearing: Michael Kors
Stylist: Petra Flannery @petraflannery

Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage

Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage

My interpretation of camp is individuality. It’s a side of fashion that can make sense or not. It just works because it’s creative. Dressing for camp was fun – no boundaries. Each designer has their own interpretations so we were able to really play up the theme and create some fun moments.

Michael Kors, Zoe and I started collaborating with Michael at the end of February. We liked the idea of playing a bit of a character. The inspiration was straight from the Michael Kors Fall 19 collection with an homage to Studio 54 fashion and Guy Bourdain hair.

The rich colour of the dress complimented Zoe perfectly. I loved the accents of the purple orchids in her hair. I would describe the look as “Mahogany.”