Photographers: Andrew Tess| Calla Kessler | Hunter Abrams | Lauren Davis
Stylist: Carlos Nazario assisted by Christine Nicholson and Raymond Gee
Outfit: custom Coach by Stuart Vevers
Makeup Artist: Fara Homidi using Fara Homidi Beauty
Hairstylist: Ursula Stephen using Living Proof assisted by Trennace Gallatin
Manicurist: Dawn Sterling
Jewelry: Dior Haute Couture | Kallati | Le Vian | Nikos Koulis
Today’s article will be the last before this year’s MET Gala and I cannot wait to see who’s attending and what they’ll be wearing.
The only thing I knew was that I wanted to write about Paloma Elsesser‘s ensemble from last year because it was so good that the whole world had to see it too. If you’ll be moved by it, I definitely accomplished what I wanted in the first place.
Elsesser donned a white custom Coach dress made out of a corset with transparent straps and a long lace skirt. The look was crafted from silk satin and antique lace and featured tulle accents and antique lace embroidery.
The model paired it with Coach cream platform sandals.
According to Vogue, the concept was of “undergarments as outerwear”, Paloma and her stylist Carlos Nazario brought it to the Coach team and its Creative Director Stuart Vevers “saw parallels with the vintage slip dresses Courtney Love wore in the ’90s”.
Vevers clarified: “It juxtaposes a silk satin corset with the softness of antique lingerie silk and hand-embroidered lace. I liked the idea of mixing separates that reference distinct eras in American fashion – from the Victorian age to the ’30s and ’90s – to show how the next generation is creatively imagining the future of fashion through a personal point of view. This is also the language that defines my collections for Coach.”
In an article for The Cut written by Brooke LaMantia, the model explained in better detail what inspired the look: “There were different iterations, but what ended up inspiring the look was a conversation between undergarments and the Gilded Age: how integral they were to the outfits — from the corsetry to the slips, to the bustles and the boning. That’s where we started, and we wanted to play into this sexiness but stay historical. We looked at predominantly Edwardian corsets for inspiration, and that’s how we got here.”
In the same breath, she also highlighted the references she looked at and the importance of wearing a corset to better embody that time in fashion: “I love wearing corsets. The female silhouette (or however you identify), the hourglass silhouette, I really like playing with because it honors and contours my body. I love the drama and how extreme it can make you look. It’s almost this weird mutation of your own body that you’ve never seen before. It’s not the most comfortable, but I have plenty of time to wear sweatpants. I think it’s important for this look specifically because it is tied together on top of all the elements, and executing the perfectly tailored silhouette is really important and also important to that time.”
Truly deserving of attention were Paloma‘s accessories: a Dior Maasai pearl choker from John Galliano’s 1997 Haute Couture collection for the French maison, a Kallati diamond ring, a Le Vian diamond bracelet and a Nikos Koulis Universe diamond cocktail ring designed in 18k white gold, set with a translucent enamel tablet, at the centre of which there was an emerald-cut white diamond and sparkles around its edge.
Of course she completed the look with a one-of-a-kind Coach Mini Kisslock Bandit shoulder bag.
I fell in love with Paloma‘s makeup, which apparently was inspired by ’90s supermodel makeup. It consisted in a light and very blended soft cut crease, courtesy of makeup artist and friend Fara Homidi. They stepped a bit out of their comfort zone, going for something they wouldn’t do in their normal work life and the result was exceptional. A remarkable collaboration between two creative and fearless minds.
Homidi mentioned using her own line of beauty products to do the Black beauty’s makeup, she specifically listed the Smudge & Contour Lip Pencil in the shade ‘Bruni‘ to line her lips.
For her hair, Paloma sported a sharp modern bob and relied on the services of a wig maestro: Ursula Stephen. Per the same article mentioned above, Paloma elaborated: “I knew I wanted to add a more contemporary referential flair to the dress. I felt if we went long or too on the nose with an updo, it wouldn’t feel as modern. So I carved through different references and found a bunch of photos of Linda Evangelista in her cropped-chop-hair era. […] It has a bit of nuance and texture, but it feels really amazing to collaborate on it to arrive at this very new kind of hair for me.”
If you are interested, you can read this interesting Vogue article regarding the first time Linda Evangelista chopped her hair in the ’90s.
The nails instead were courtesy of manicurist Dawn Sterling who created a custom nude nail color to paint the model’s long tapered round nails. It was the perfect chic touch to go with the dress. The color definitely matched her eyeshadow.
What more can I add? This article took me so much time to research and to prepare, but I would do it any other day because I admire Paloma and the narrative she has created with her stylist Carlos Nazario. What she embodies and what she stands for are what’s missing in today’s model climate and seen that not many models look like her, her message is strong and powerful.
Can we also talk about her voice? It is so soothing and charismatic, it lulls you to sleep.
A cure for my high-functioning anxiety, I’d say.