Outfit: Atelier Versace
Makeup Artist: Kristofer Buckle using L’Oréal Paris
Hairstylist: Rod Ortega
using T3 Micro, FRENCHIES better hairpins,
René Furterer and Ibiza Hair Tools
Colorist: Rona O’Connor
Manicurist: Elle Gerstein using Kiss Products
Shoes: custom Christian Louboutin
Bag: custom Judith Leiber
Jewelry: custom Lorraine Schwartz | Ofira
After the news that Blake Lively is going to be one of the Co-Chairs of this year’s MET Gala I told myself that it was better for me to get to work and write about that time in 2018 when she undoubtedly was one of the queens of the famed fashion event.
For 2018’s Gala, whose theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” Lively looked absolutely divine (pun very much intended) in an Atelier Versace custom-made, deep red, silk velvet gown with a crystal encrusted bustier cascading into a dramatic full skirt with over-sized embroidered train. The design became then part of the Spring Summer 2018 Collection.
During a March 2018 event, in which the actress was a co-host for a Tod’s pop-up at Barneys New York, she revealed that the dress was in preparation, how much it was taking for it to be made and which kind of jewelry would accompany it: “This year’s may be my favorite dress ever. They’ve already worked on it for 600 hours, and it’s not done.”
“She’s looking [writer’s note: meaning her jeweler friend Lorraine Schwartz] at the beading of my dress and designing a piece based on that”.
If you didn’t know, Blake Lively is her own stylist, and in an interview for WWD she explained how it all comes together and the pros and cons of it: “It’s a lot of work–I mean, it’s not hard in that we all dress ourselves every morning. So once you have the clothes, you just pick out what to wear like any other human being does. But it’s easier because you have access to clothes and so it’s not that hard.
The hard part is going through all the fashion shows and screenshotting all the looks you like and calling them in. I have an assistant who helps in calling in the looks. But a lot of it is I have relationships with the designers.”
For the Gala: “I just sent Lorraine Schwartz and Christian Louboutin my dress, and said, ‘Ok let’s do something special’. They’re making something custom for it. So it’s kind of nice, because I have a bunch of artists around me who I have direct relationships with. It’s sort of a group effort with that. I rely on people who do that for a living rather than outsourcing it to someone else”.
Did you pay attention to her clutch? It was a custom Judith Leiber clutch, which paid tribute to her family. The front depicted the Sacred Heart iconography behind a veiled woman and the back showed a sort of family crest made up of a scroll reading “Reynolds” and a cross whose points featured the letters ‘J’ for James, ‘I’ for Ines, ‘R’ for Ryan (her husband) and ‘B’ for Blake.
Find a video of the sketching process down below.
Her halo was custom made by Lorraine Schwartz with over 100 carats of nude champagne diamonds, she also wore custom made Colombian emeralds and diamond dagger earrings, an armful of gold bracelets, three diamond and ruby rings by Ofira, and of course, her personal oval Lorraine Schwartz engagement ring.
During a cover shoot for Footwear News, shoemaker Christian Louboutin recalled the process he went through to give Blake the custom shoe that she wanted: “(It was) a peep-toe sandal with three layers of different, successive layers of small platforms, which I adorned in a different way every time. The gold and burgundy shoe was decorated with passmenterie, an elaborate style of trim work that is often seen in traditional religious garments.”
“I wanted to design a delicate armor for her feet. A feminine warrior with a gold tassel for the religious wink.”
Makeup artist Kristofer Buckle revealed to Teen Vogue that the look was inspired by Italian religious paintings: “We wanted to create a very structured look with strong bone contouring like the statues of saints I’ve seen.”
Here is the whole breakdown, using L’Oréal Paris products (edited and condensed for clarity):
– L’Oréal Paris – Hydra Genius Moisturizer;
– L’Oréal Paris – True Match Lumi Glotion – Natural Glow Enhancer;
– L’Oréal Paris – True Match Super-Blendable Makeup Foundation in W3 ‘Nude Beige‘;
– L’Oréal Paris – True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer – on the cheeks and nose as contour (no shade specified);
– L’Oréal Paris – Paradise Enchanted Blush – on the apples of her cheeks and on her eyes as well (no shade specified);
– L’Oréal Paris – True Match Lumi Glow Nude Palette – on her cheekbones (no name specified);
– L’Oréal Paris – Paradise Enchanted Eyeshadow Palette – mainly using the peach and rich red-brown shades to create a sculpted look, mimicking the sculptures in the museum;
– L’Oréal Paris – Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara in ‘Black Brown‘ – applied in multiple coats;
– L’Oréal Paris – Colour Riche Shine Lipstick in ‘Varnished Rosewood‘;
– L’Oréal Paris – Infallible Lip Paints in ‘Bewitching Bordeaux‘ to top the lipstick and give the lips a glossy, berry, stain.
For the hair, Rod Ortega had a whole conversation with Harper’s Bazaar in which he said that he chose a more streamlined hairstyle because of the detailed bodice and the grandness of the dress, interpreting the style of the theme as very soft and romantic. Here below you’ll find the whole tutorial:
“I started with freshly-washed hair using René Furterer volumizing shampoo and conditioner. I then prepped the hair with volumizing spray which I combed through the ends with an Ibiza [writer’s note: Hair Tools] styling comb. For this look, I wanted a lot of natural texture, so I dried the hair using the T3 Cura Luxe dryer and the T3 SoftCurl diffuser attachment. I used my fingers to rake the roots, giving it body and lift.”
“Using the 1” wand barrel attachment from the T3 Whirl Trio, he curled .5” to 1” sections of Lively‘s hair to create a mix of small and large curls. Then he used an Ibiza flat brush to brush some—but not all—of the curls out. ‘I then worked my fingertips through the untouched curls, splitting them up and creating even more texture. I sectioned the hair and left some out around the whole head—the back, sides, and front. I then took the rest of the hair that wasn’t left out and secured it into a ponytail’.”
“‘To achieve additional volume, I sprayed texturizing spray in the pony, put the pony through the halo and created one big twist, to make a twisted bun’. He then used blonde colored flocked hairpins to anchor the halo to the twisted bun. ‘This step is very important because of the heavy weight of the halo hair piece’. The hair that was left out was sprayed with volumizing texture spray and broken up with his fingers. ‘I then took the side sections and pulled them up to where the halo was pinned. To complete the look, I tweaked the hair with my fingers a bit, creating softness around the face and neck, finishing with a very light spray of the René Furterer hairspray’.”
Lively made sure to visit her long-time colorist, Rona O’Connor, for a touch-up before the big event–here is what she told People.com: “It’s another version of her go-to blonde with beautiful golden blush undertones. I created a warmer glow in her hair color, to complement her dress, and added a high shine that overall reminds me of a liquid color, and will reflect every detail of her hairstyle.”
Another great part of her outfit was her manicure: manicurist Elle Gerstein told Popsugar that she got her inspiration for the nails from a stained glass window: “A church’s stained glass window would have 360 views, so I worked with Kiss on a custom set of enhanced press-on nails to make sure every angle was covered, including underneath the nails! These have a navy colour underneath and a teardrop crystal.”
She also told E! News that it took three weeks for Kiss to custom create them, and everything wasn’t finalized until the night before. Each stone was hand placed.
Apparently Kiss had the design capabilities and the technology to bring Elle‘s idea to life, indeed the nails were made with Kiss ‘mirror lens technology’ and Blake‘s hue came from Swarovski’s vintage archives in Rhode Island. Gerstein used the Crystal Katana tool from Michaels to help her place every stone.
Enjoy Blake‘s dress in all its glory on the red carpet that night.